While intrastate travel has dominated the Australian tourism market this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are already signs pointing to how travel will look when things start to return to normal.
Expedia Group’s Drew Bowering recently hosted a webinar to detail the trends that he saw reshaping the industry and the decisions that will likely influence travel decision making in future.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the concept of ‘social distancing’ has gradually ingrained into people’s minds as an effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Mr Bowering explained.
The Expedia Group commissioned Wakefield Research to conduct two studies into global travel trends during the pandemic.
The research revealed that 75 per cent of Australian travellers favoured an efficient check-in experience with minimal interaction with hotel staff.
“Those same travellers noted that clear descriptions of room features, amenities and dining services that allow guests to socially distance are also critical factors in driving booking decisions,” Mr Bowering said.
The studies also found that 69 per cent of Australian travellers across all generations were willing to share their arrival time, along with their special needs (45 per cent) or mode of travel (37 per cent) in advance in order to improve their stay.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of how we work, live, shop and pay,” Mr Bowering said.
“Looking at travel payment patterns, Expedia Group’s research reveals that over two-thirds of global travellers intend to book their first post-pandemic trip via a third party.
“For these travellers, the belief that ‘transactions are more secure’ and the convenience of paying reservations at their fingertips (via digital wallets) are among the key factors driving their decisions.”
Older travellers more cautious
It is generally millennials and generation Z that will be the first to book travel as we start to emerge from the pandemic, according to Mr Bowering.
Travellers over 40 are more reluctant to travel, with more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed wanting to wait for at least six months post-pandemic to book their first trip.
“Many travellers are adopting a wait and see attitude when it comes to travel,” Mr Bowering said. “Others are looking to book far out and could be discouraged by a lack of opportunity.”
Are you going to be more cautious making travel bookings in a post-COVID world or are you hankering for your next holiday?
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