Worldwide: Expedia Group has completed a study unveiling the travel preferences of people around the globe post-pandemic, revealing an increase in the prioritisation of safety and financial security.
Through the study, Expedia Group produced the Traveller Value Index, which reveals the shifting priorities of travellers. The study took the preferences of 8,000 people from eight countries around the world.
In general, the report seems positive for the future of travel, revealing that people across the globe are ready to travel again with new measures such as vaccine passports in place. In fact, 71 per cent of respondents told Expedia that they would feel comfortable using a vaccine passport to travel in the future.
Through the pandemic, travel has become a higher priority for many. The index revealed that 34 per cent of travellers will have a higher budget for travel this year than in 2020, with about 18 per cent saying travel will be what they spend the most money on in 2021, as opposed to entertainment, cars, and more. Additionally, 36 per cent of respondents indicated that they would prefer more holiday days rather than a raise at their jobs.
Not only has travel risen as a priority for many, but many respondents have reconsidered the way that they will travel moving forward. Around 60 per cent of those surveyed said that they would prefer to travel domestically in the short term. However, international travel will also rise based on the results of the index, as 27 per cent of travellers would consider an international destination in the next year.
75 per cent of those surveyed indicated that their next vacation will be somewhere that they have never been before, with 22 per cent saying they are looking for a once-in-a lifetime experience on their next holiday.
Additionally, people seem to be willing to change the format of their typical travel experience. 52 per cent of respondents said that they would be willing to try a new method of travel, and 41 per cent of people told Expedia that they would prefer shorter but more frequent trips.
The index also revealed how passionate people are about travelling according to their values. Results showed that 59 per cent of respondents would pay more for a sustainable vacation and 65 per cent would be more likely to book with companies that have inclusive policies for all.
The report, straying from the belief that price is the most important factor for travel purchases, also highlighted the growing travel values of financial security and safety, which were ranked as some of the top travel considerations for those surveyed.
Expedia Group’s study ranked the top considerations for travel as: “the ability to get a full refund if their plans change; atypical, low pricing cause by low demand during the pandemic; contactless experiences like cardless hotel or vacation rental entry, online check-ins, or digital boarding passes; environmentally friendly policies such as a reduced use of plastics or locally sourced food and products; enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures; flexible policies to change bookings; and first-class benefits and upgrade.”
The study showed that 26 per cent of travellers value refundability for both airlines and vacation rentals, which could encourage those in the hospitality industry to emphasise cancellation policies.
While the report did show general trends for all people, it also revealed that different age groups have slightly different travel priorities, as young people tend to care less about pricing and refunds. As ages go up, travellers tend to value the ability to receive a full refund more.
The index showed that travellers under 40 in the United States and Japan tend to value cleanliness in hotel bookings over refundability. In terms of airline travel however, 26 per cent of respondents value the ability to receive a full refund, but Gen Z and millennial respondents see more value in contactless experiences, first-class benefits, and environmentally friendly policies.
North American millennials tend to value flexibility, according to the results. In terms of car rentals, North American millennials ranked the ability to change reservations as the second most important factor. The group also valued the ability to make changes in air travel.
Cruise passengers were the only group who consistently ranked low pricing as the most important factor. Gen Z cruise passengers also ranked sustainability highly in this area, reflecting a broader trend of a high focus on sustainability in younger generations.
Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia for Business at Expedia Group said: “As vaccination rates rise and borders open across the globe, people are ready and eager to travel. However, the months of uncertainty are weighing on their travel decisions and shifting the conventional belief that price is the top driver of bookings. These insights show people want to book with trusted travel providers that will deliver on their experiences, keep them safe, and protect their financial investments.”
Expedia Group’s Traveller Value Index report can be downloaded in full here.