Trust, reputation, and safety nets more important than ever in travel booking process
LATA has revealed key travel trends and consumer notions towards travel in a post COVID-19 era. The data was revealed in the second in a series of data insight sessions organised for LATA members, led by LATA chairman, Colin Stewart, and moderated by LATA CEO, Danny Callaghan. The webinar featured insight from Emma Barnes and Luke Hand from the Mail/ Metro Media Group and Lyn Hughes, founder and editor-in-chief at Wanderlust Travel Media.
Insight from Mail-Metro Media Group
The consumer data gathered between 7 and 14 July revealed that younger people are more likely to be planning a trip for the near future with 55% of under 34s claiming that they are currently planning a trip for the near future. Older audiences demonstrate more caution when booking holidays with 57% of the 55+ age group reluctant to book holidays at this time. All respondents showed more optimism for travel in 2021 with 32% hoping to take a long-haul trip in the coming year.
Compared to data gathered in May 2020, Luke Hand, head of insights at Mail-Metro Media Group claimed that one in ten respondents are more likely to book a trip to Latin America; however, this statistic was driven predominantly by the 18-34 age group who are attracted to ‘the diversity of the continent’. In terms of preferred holiday activities in Latin America, ‘visiting natural sites’ was the most popular option (71%), followed by ‘local cuisine ‘(60%).
The new planning process
One of the most notable changes in consumer behaviour is the new planning process for booking a holiday as short-term concerns need to be mitigated. Safety nets and trust are now more important than ever with the highest percentage of respondents (66%) choosing ‘travel insurance cover’ as the most important factor when booking a trip. This was followed by ‘the confidence of being able to get home in case of an emergency’ (63%), and the destination having ‘good infrastructure in terms of health care systems’ (61%).
In terms of preferred travel content, practical information and advice is top of the list with the largest percentage of respondents looking for information such as ‘what happens if FCO advice changes when I’m overseas’, ‘what happens if I get ill when I’m abroad’, and ‘updates regarding the latest government travel advice’. When asked what information is required from travel brands, the most popular option was ‘details on their cancellation policy’.
Insight from Wanderlust Travel Media
The Wanderlust’s reader survey completed by just over 2000 respondents in July 2020 with a large percentage (84%) falling into the 44+ age range.
Regarding views on booking travel, 43% of respondents claim that they are ‘more cautious’ than before (up from 33% in May 2020). 58% however claimed that they still expect to travel in 2020.
Whilst 37% of respondents said that they would be prepared to self-quarantine upon returning from a trip abroad, only 8% of travel respondents are prepared to travel against Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.
A large percentage of respondents were in planning mode in terms of booking a holiday (64%), whilst 36% are waiting to see how things evolve. In terms of top travel choices for 2020, the UK was unsurprisingly top of the list with 59% claiming they would holiday in the UK this year, whilst 47% think they will travel to Europe. Just 4% of respondents said they are likely to book trips to South America in 2020.
Long haul is certainly looking more optimistic for 2021 departures with 16% of respondents hoping to travel to South America. 45% will be looking to travel as part of an organised tour. When asked what type of trip they would be looking for, culture & heritage was top of the list (55%), followed by wildlife & nature (52%). The survey also showed an appetite for short city breaks (47%).
In line with the Metro-Mail Media Group data, safety and flexibility are key priorities at present with the main factors for booking travel being 1; the safety of the destination, 2, the ability to cancel and 3, flexibility on dates.
Finally, Wanderlust concluded the webinar showcasing the participants’ holiday ‘wish list’, which included Costa Rica and Chile in the top ten at numbers eight and ten respectively. Japan was top of the wish list.
Consolidating recovery plans
With this new data and an ongoing series of panel discussions with tourism board members, LATA has continued its pledge to support the industry and stimulate demand and growth within the region following the Covid-19 crisis.
LATA has created a Restart & Recovery hub for its members where they can access useful data and information relating to Covid-19 in the context of travel.
Danny Callaghan, CEO of LATA concludes: “our LATA members have told us how important it is to get updated data on UK booking trends as well as consumer sentiment towards travel. This data gives us and our members some valuable information on how to direct our tourism strategies moving forward. We will continue to work as a collaboratively as possible with the Latin American travel industry facilitating panel discussions and updating our Covid-19 Restart & Recovery hub to provide accurate and reliable information. We know it is a challenging time for the sector but we are encouraged to see the industry working together with innovative solutions and optimism.”
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