Pandemic forces reassessment of trips, destination choices: Tripadvisor, Phocuswright study

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A new research paper into the shifting trends in global travel demand and traveller behaviours has unveiled a strong and persistent desire to travel although consumers are reassessing the type of trips they want to take and the destinations they have their eyes on.

The research paper, conducted by Tripadvisor and Phocuswright, is entitled 2020 – A Year in Travel: Charting the Travel Industry’s Path to Recovery. It analyses Tripadvisor’s first-party data on travel planning behaviours around the globe, as well as consumer sentiment across six major markets, to provide a unique insight into global travel trends.

Travellers still have wanderlust in their hearts, but the types of trips and destinations in favour are changing

The results intend to chart the industry’s road to recovery in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

Key findings from the report include:

  • After positive signs of recovery in domestic leisure travel over the summer, demand for accommodation is now falling back in a number of markets as infection rates rise.

    Signs of recovery in Asia-Pacific were less obvious across the region as a whole between June and October, although some markets – such as Singapore – saw a surge in demand for domestic stays

  • Travellers are reassessing the type of trips they want to take. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed (65 per cent) say the ability to avoid crowded places when traveling is now a more important factor in their choice of destination than it was pre-pandemic, and more than half (52 per cent) say they are more likely to take an outdoor/nature trip than they were before the pandemic.

    Between May and September, outdoor activities, nature and parks accounted for 34 per cent of all attraction page views on Tripadvisor, up from 25 per cent in 2019.

  • Destination choice is changing as a result. Looking at year-on-year data over the October period, ski and seaside resorts, as well as other rural destinations, dominated the list of fastest recovering destinations in Europe for domestic accommodation searches on Tripadvisor, with Zermatt in Switzerland and Adler in Russia topping the list based on year-on-year demand.
  • Despite continuing consumer uncertainty, the desire to travel remains very strong. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents are still thinking about where they want to travel next.
  • Last minute trips are in, but so is meticulous planning. The advanced planning window has shortened as travellers are eager for last-minute, local getaways. In October 2020, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of travellers looking for accommodation on Tripadvisor were planning to check-in less than 30 days out, compared to just over half (51 per cent) of travellers during the same period in 2019.

    However, people’s desire to plan travel more diligently is now higher than pre-pandemic times. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents agreed they were going to research their next trip more than they did in the past.

“While there was positive progress over the course of the summer, the re-introduction of tighter restrictions on travel in many countries is clearly having an impact on demand in the short-term,” said Steve Kaufer, chief executive officer, Tripadvisor.

“The good news is that consumers’ desire to travel remains incredibly resilient, and that pent-up demand bodes well for the travel industry in the long run, especially considering the advances announced last week in the development of a vaccine,” added Kaufer.

“The industry has shown incredible adaptability and resilience in what has been a long and difficult year for travel,” said Charuta Fadnis, senior vice-president of research and product strategy, Phocuswright, adding that results have shown that “travel remains a key part of consumers’ lifestyles”.

The full report can be accessed for free here.

 

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