Future of travel Post covid-19 holidays

New research uncovers the trends that will shape travel in the year ahead, and beyond

Booking.com has today released research findings from over 20,000 travellers across 28 countries*, including 995 from Australia, revealing five predictions for the future of travel.

With few facets of our lives unchanged by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel too will be forever re-shaped. Innovation within the travel industry will accelerate faster than ever. Travellers will look for a heightened level of travel safety and more sustainable travel offerings, as well as evolve their preferences.

1. BYE BYE 9 TO 5
Working remotely has irreversibly entered the mainstream during the pandemic with the knock-on effect that people will look to take longer trips in the future that more effectively combine work and pleasure. Over a third (34%) of Australian travellers have already considered booking somewhere to stay in order to work from a different destination, while two in five (43%) would be willing to quarantine if they could work remotely.

Accommodations will prioritise showcasing home office facilities in an attempt to attract this new wave of digital nomads. Likewise, the world of corporate travel will see increasing demand for privacy, cleanliness and longer stays among those traveling for business, requiring alternative accommodations to up their ‘work-friendly’ game. While companies will undoubtedly reassess approach to business travel in the future, workers will continue to maximise the trips they do take, with half of Australian travellers (50%) saying they would take the opportunity to extend business trips to enjoy leisure time at the destination.

With 41% of Australian travellers wanting to travel more sustainably in the future, we expect to see a more eco-conscious mindset, as Covid-19 has increased consumer’s awareness about responsible choices. Two-thirds (62%) expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options and travellers will consequently visit alternative destinations in a bid to avoid traveling during peak season (52%) and overcrowding (50%). Additionally, Covid-19 has inspired more than half (52%) of travellers to consider reducing waste and/or recycling their plastic when traveling again.

Travellers believe that the industry must adapt to this sustainable mindset by offering more attractive off-season travel packages (47%) and proposing alternative destinations to prevent overcrowding (32%). Over two-thirds (68%) of Australian travellers indicate that they want their travel choices to also support the destination’s recovery efforts, and more than half (54%) want to see how their money is going back into the local community.

Tech innovation will adapt to a new type of traveller and play a crucial role in rebuilding traveller confidence. Already, six in ten Australian travellers agree that technology will be important in controlling health risks when traveling and three in five (61%) say that accommodations will need to use the latest technologies to make travellers feel safe. Almost half (46%) will want tech options to make last-minute restaurant reservations and about the same amount (48%) will want more self-service machines instead of ticket desks. 47% are also excited about tech’s potential to further personalize their travel experiences in the future.

The innovations we’ll see next will bring even more change, with enhanced online experiences influencing future travel behaviour and planning. Almost three in ten (29%) would feel more comfortable about going to an unknown destination if they could scout it beforehand using virtual reality (VR).

The financial legacy of Covid-19 will inevitably see people demand more bang for their buck in the future. 63% of Australian travellers will be more price conscious when it comes to searching and planning a trip in the future and 53% are more likely to hunt down promotions and savings, behaviours that we predict will last years.
But the value consumers expect will go beyond price tags, three-quarters (74%) stated they want travel booking platforms to increase their transparency about cancellation policies, refund processes and trip insurance options. Furthermore, 51% consider refundable accommodation a must-have for their next trip, as do almost half (38%) when it comes to the flexibility to change dates without being charged. Travellers are keen to support the industry in its recovery (71%) and want their future bookings to help rebuild communities around Australia and the world (68%).

Almost three in four Australian travellers (74%) will take more precautions due to Covid-19 and will look to the travel industry to help them gear up for this new normal. 65% of travellers will avoid certain destinations (rising to 67% of Baby Boomers), and 72% expect tourist attractions to adapt to allow for social distancing. At the same time, 65% will only book a particular accommodation if it’s clear what health and hygiene policies it has in place.

Short-term there will also be a change in transport preference and provisions, with under half (41%) opting to avoid public transport. This will cause a longer-term shift in how people will travel to and around their holiday destinations, with more people choosing to rent or drive their own car. Just as we have become accustomed to traveling without liquids in our carry on luggage and removing shoes to go through airport security, 62% will accept traveling to destinations that have health spot checks on arrival and 42% will accept wearing a mask in public. Quarantine measures will remain less popular with far fewer (27%) travellers willing to accept these in order to travel to a particular destination.

Luke Wilson, Area Manager for Australia at Booking.com, said: “For Australia, like many countries in the pacific, the impact the pandemic has had on travel has been keenly felt. While the future of international travel remains uncertain, the ability to explore our own backyard continues to bring moments of joy and inspiration, whether through dreaming and planning, or cherishing the trips we have been able to take.
As we head into 2021, with our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience travel, we will be there for our customers offering the widest choice, great value and the easiest experience from anywhere and on any device so travellers can enjoy all of the unforgettable experiences Australia has to offer.”

For a deeper dive into Booking.com trends for the future of travel, including four additional predictions, visit https://www.booking.com/articles/category/future-of-travel.html

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