Expedia introduces its first Traveler Value Index obtained thanks to a survey counting more than 8000 respondents from all over the world. The survey investigated the needs and priorities of the travellers for the return of tourism after the pandemic of Covid-19.
Gwen Marletta, laureata in lingue e presto in gestione dei sistemi turistici, è un’nstancabile viaggiatrice e nomade per natura, esplora il mondo da quando, a soli due anni, i suoi genitori le hanno fatto scoprire le prime destinazioni. Oggi collabora per Agenda Viaggi scrivendo in inglese.
New York, USA.
The webinar, hosted by Hari Nair, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Lodging & Activities Account Management for Expedia Group, covered the topics of travelling after the pandemic and the meaning that it acquired in these months. “People are eager to embark on journeys to find new meaning in life, connecting with each other and the world”, claims Nair as he begins explaining the modality of the survey. Research was conducted in May, and it tried to represent all regions with the US and Mexico for the Americas, Europe with UK, France and Germany and Asia with Japan and Mexico. Overall, an increase in the willingness to travel was recorded as 72% of the respondents declared to be ready to travel in the upcoming months, especially in the second half of 2021. The destinations vary, but remote regions such as mountains and less renowned locations become of interest for 81% of the sample. Urban escapes are less preponderant but still figure in the survey with a comeback in domestic travelling with special interest in Melbourne, San Francisco and Sydney. International travel will also restart as the restrictions ease with the rising numbers of vaccinated people; three quarters of the participants in the survey are, in fact, comfortable with the concept of a vaccine passport that will probably allow the reopening of international corridors and “ensure not only the surviving of the business, but its thriving”.
“Travelling opportunities will also depend on different demographics, of course”, states Nair, “but this year travel budgets will be higher as people will value it more than other yearly expenses like home renovations or car maintenance”. People will spend more to meet family and friends but will do it more consciously. Equity and inclusion are becoming key components in people’s trips as their value systems enter also the decision-making process for vacations. Many respondents claimed traveling is for them a way of deepening understanding of other communities and cultures, living new experiences, but also increasing physical and mental wellness (48%) and becoming a more well-rounded person (33%). A pronounced appetite to make travel more sustainable, both environmentally and socially, is emerging as millennials and Gen Zs say they would prefer travel providers that are all in all inclusive.
Paul Bragan, Senior Partner Wakefield Research, then intervenes for some more detailed data on the matter. “People are very eager to travel, and the traveler value index is an insightful tool to understand what needs come with this desire”, he starts off. Uncertainty caused by the pandemic shifted traveler priorities which consequently impacted travel decisions. Refund possibilities, contactless experiences and enhanced cleaning and disinfection rocketed to first places in priorities while low pricing fell to lower positions. Flexible policies on changes on booking and first-class benefits also became important for travelers that approach their first vacation after a year of travel restrictions. Safety and security are ranking high, together with opportunities for full refunds but there is variation depending on age, gender and nationality. For example, the US are more interested in sanitization, on the other hand Japan is greener with a demand for environmentally friendly policies in car rentals and transportation and Mexico looks for atypically low prices. Air travelers value more full reimbursements even though millennials and Gen Zs are in search of contactless experiences as well.
Flexibility is key
Greg Schulze, Senior Vice President and General Manager Strategic Travel Partners, wraps up the meeting with some considerations on the lasting effects of the pandemic on travelling. “Many started to look for destinations that they have never seen before, half of them is going to use a new type of transportation, others are ready for a once-in-a-lifetime trip”, he says. Now, shorter trips are more popular. They are frequent and domestic, mostly booked last minute, within three weeks from departure. However, employees seem to be more interested in more vacation time than a pay rise, the numbers even reach 55% in Japan. Schulze concludes: “Trust and financial security are important considerations, and our way of responding to them is to provide clear information on cancellation policies, cleanliness regulations, giving wider choice in listings and convenience with a range of prices for all offers and activities”.
Photo Carlo Ingegno