Trending in Travel

Lethabo-Thabo joined X Festival to discuss the ‘Trending in Travel’ report published in November 2021 by WTTC and Thetrip.com group.

The report presents a comprehensive image of tourism and travel on:

  1. Global region and recovery
  2. Booking trends
  3. Consumer considerations
  4. Consumer profiles.

Lethabo-Thabo joined X Festival to discuss the ‘Trending in Travel’ report published in November 2021 by WTTC and Thetrip.com group. The report presents a comprehensive image of tourism and travel on:

  1. Global region and recovery
  2. Booking trends
  3. Consumer considerations
  4. Consumer profiles.

The report provides insights on data gathered by Trip.com group, global T&T organisations and WTTC members.

Lebatho-Thabo explained as we enter the post-pandemic era, travel and tourism are projected to see a rise in the forthcoming two years. However, a shift in booking trends, including increased rate of domestic trips, extended stays, shorter booking windows and allure of secondary destinations, are affecting tourism and travel as the industry recovers.

Notion of travel is changing as now unlike pre-pandemic, business and leisure trips are combined to a certain extend. Newly introduced work from home education during the pandemic is also achievable during time away at domestic destinations. Consumers, having experienced travel restrictions and disruptions, now more than ever seek flexibility in travel bookings, easy cancellations and rebooking in shorter windows. Thus, whilst some travellers still prefer booking in advance, a flexible model such as Emirates flexible booking scheme needs to be introduced to satisfy consumers. In addition, the travel industry needs to consider ‘virus prevention’ by protecting travellers and staff with honesty and openness for health and safety guidelines.

With respect to consumer behaviour, the report also demonstrates that travellers respect ‘philantourism’ and support local communities they visit. Travellers show willingness in contributing to the places they visit. From the industry point of view, tourism and travel must feel responsible for informing travellers about sustainable journeys and encouraging responsible tourism behaviour. The report indicates that when travellers actively make sustainable decisions when the industry offers them a chance to do so.

As Lethabo-Thabo explained, the data also demonstrate that travellers’ willingness for a healthy lifestyle through a selection of primary and secondary wellness options. This is an opportunity for destinations to expand their offerings and allow travellers to add secondary wellness options to their itineraries. Combining primary and secondary travel options into a package also facilitates longer stays. By doing so, destinations can offer additional tourism opportunities to travellers and present a more authentic and rich feel of the destination. Lethabo-Thabo provided a number of authentic wellness experiences. For example, the Balinese massage offered by the locals is an experience that also elaborates on the history and tradition of massage. Hiking routes or Apple walk with soundtracks offers a trail of opportunities for meaningful conversation for local and visitors about wellness.

Concerning travellers’ profiles, a number of clusters identified in the report shed light on the variety of experiences that different sectors can respond to. The younger generation, Gen Z and digital natives are a core part of the tourism and travel market. Considering the digital proficiencies of the younger generation, the uptake of digital tools amongst this group is higher. Digitalisation is a value for the younger generation travel market. Luxury travel is still a trend. Travellers with interest in this category are also happy to spend even more to adopt luxury travel to their needs.

To conclude, Lethabo-Thabo explained that the travel industry needs to pay attention to domestic and international visitors and offer various experiences. Domestic travel has grown as a result of international travel restrictions. This is a chance for destinations to show resilience and create diversified travel experiences for the domestic market.

Key Takeaways

1. The latest data and research demonstrate that travel behaviour and demand is changing as the industry is heavily affected by the pandemic.

2. The industry needs to introduce flexible models to respond to consumers’ needs, maintain satisfaction and build a pathway for recovery.

3. A combination of travel and tourism experiences, such as primary and secondary wellness experiences facilitate longer stays which can be in favour of both the industry providers and the consumers.

4. The tourism and travel industry should acknowledge different markets and establish strategies that respond to consumers’ sought values.

Published on:
November 2021
About the contributor

Lethabo-Thabo Royds

Lethabo-Thabo is an avid traveller and skilled content strategist. She has worked in Travel & Tourism for almost 10 years, specialising in content for various mediums and uses.