The Covid-19 pandemic and rising global prices have dramatically impacted how today’s travellers search, shop, book, and experience their holidays, according to a panel of travel industry experts. Leading figures from some major travel companies gathered for a roundtable discussion to talk about the major traveller behaviour trends in 2022 and beyond.
The lively discussion included Noam Shapira, President of Pattern Insurance, Nishank Gopalkrishnan, Chief Business Officer at TUI Musement, Pete Comeau, Managing Director at Phocuswright Inc. and Aurélie Krau, Head of Customer Success at Hubli. Each had their own take on how traveller behaviour has changed in recent years – and how the industry can adapt to meet these new consumer demands.
The top priority to come out of the conversation was the importance of flexibility, with each panellist noting that while uncertainty abounds, travellers are actively looking for companies that provide flexible cancellation and rebooking options. “Having an easy process to move or cancel a trip will help travel companies attract hesitant consumers and could generate an opportunity to upsell a protection,” noted Noam Shapira from Pattern. Aurélie Krau agreed, saying: “Mitigating risk remains front and centre of importance to travellers; the whole experience of preparing for a trip has changed, so flexibility remains critical.”
Another key trend to be aware of is the rise of the ‘workcation’. These hybrid trips that blur the boundaries between work and play by combining remote working with a trip away rose in popularity through the pandemic and show no sign of slowing down. Pete Comeau from PhocusWright Inc. highlighted this trend: “Today’s travellers crave the flexibility that allows them to work remotely and enjoy travel experiences simultaneously. The pandemic proved to many that work is what you do, not where you do it.” Travel companies will need to adapt their offering to accommodate travellers who wish to take advantage of this particular benefit of remote working.
Nishank Gopalkrishnan from TUI Musement highlighted the impact inflation will have on changing traveller behaviour: “A trend we expect to see after the summer holiday rush is that customers start feeling the full impact of inflation on their wallets. This will result in people taking shorter but more purposeful trips, such as ones to visit friends and relatives.” Alongside this, several panellists noted the importance of sustainability on changing the way people travel, with more consumers opting for domestic holidays that they can reach via car or train.
Commenting on the roundtable, Pattern President, Noam Shapira, said: “The discussions produced some key insights into traveller behaviour and how the travel industry needs to adapt to increase conversions and ensure consumer loyalty.
“The only certainty with travel today is uncertainty but embedding relevant, personalized insurance in the customer journey reassures today’s travellers, helps increase consumer confidence and secure bookings.”