Evolution of global travel market: how consumers travel and key future trends
Following the festive period, many consumers use the first months of the new year to plan their travel arrangements, thinking about where they wish to go and what they would like to see.
A rise in the popularity of international travel?
A number of factors could influence the amount of international travel in the near future. In particular the low oil prices which are helping to keep fuel costs down have allowed airlines to pass along savings to consumers in the form of cheaper airfares. This has resulted in increased demand for travel globally and, consequently, a boost in airline profitability. That, coupled with the growth of budget airlines in recent years as well as exchange rate fluctuations and the enhanced prosperity among many population groups in certain countries will all play their part.
TGI lifestyle statements around the world indicate that there is a strong desire to travel abroad. Looking at the BRIC countries specifically, of those who have travelled this past year 68% of Brazilian adults identified they ‘Like to Travel and learn about exotic places’ while 68% of Russian adults and 75% of Chinese adults stated they ‘tend to go somewhere different on holiday every time’. Meanwhile, 68% of American adults specified that they ‘love the idea of travelling abroad’ , but do they? In reality only 37% of American vacationers have actually travelled abroad in the past 12 months. So there is potentially a major opportunity for the US travel sector to expand.
The Power of Social Media
Over recent years social media has grown to be an integral communication tool across all sectors, with a significant impact in the travel sector. Showing and teasing users to want more for less from our holiday breaks, reminding us where we are not and where we would like to be and to take a picture and post it.
Escaping to somewhere new and more exotic is now never too far from our minds thanks to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds being flooded with friends and celebrity far-off travels posts. Is the new holiday craze; ‘#holiday’?
Around the world, holiday makers tend to post more on social media than the average adult. In India, they are 63% more likely than the general population to read comments/posts and tweets. They are also 23% more likely to share content with friends on social media – something they share with holiday makers in Turkey, Portugal, Greece and Croatia, who are all more likely than their fellow countrymen to do this. This shows the importance of social media to the tourist industry to influence those who are planning their next trip. Airbnb is the latest brand to exploit this opportunity by providing the rich and famous with free luxury accommodation in exchange for social media endorsements
How Holidays are Booked
The internet has definitively influenced the way we approach our travels, changing the landscape of the industry dramatically over the past 10 years.
Travel agencies are a rarer sight on the high street in the UK and the latest figures from the GB TGI study show that only 29% of holiday makers use agents/tour operator shops to book their flight/accommodation, a decrease of a third year on year. Instead, many use online companies or book their breaks directly online. TGI data in the US shows that an impressive 81% of vacationers have booked their holidays via the internet.
A similar story can be found in Asia, with Taiwan, Japan and China showing a solid percentage of travellers booking their holidays online. Even though China showed only 20% doing so, the CNRS China Survey indicated nearly a 50% increase in digital travel booking over the past two years amongst vacationers. Unsurprisingly, it is the young (20-34 yr. olds), and those in the top 10% of the population by socio-economic level that are driving this increase.
As we have seen, travel is very much an evolving sector, with technology continuing to drive change. We can be sure it will continue to develop and grow.