As travellers dream up their next adventure in this pandemic-era, travel sellers should capitalise on the potential to help these consumers circumnavigate the planning experience
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As 2021 fast approaches, there are many challenges and unknowns that still lie ahead with Covid-19. Even with the advent of a vaccine, there is no clear date of when international travel will resume, with the delay of bubbles between countries like Hong Kong and Singapore underlining a hurdle to travel recovery.
What we do know is that millions of travellers are out there dreaming of their next adventure. The majority of travellers in Asia-Pacific are steadfast in their commitment to resume their leisure travels by 4Q2021, with 70 per cent indicating a “strong desire” to travel domestically once restrictions ease.
From our recent Destination X: Where to Next survey, we have a very clear picture of what travellers are willing to consider at the moment. We can also see the potential for travel sellers to materialise the bigger role in helping consumers navigate through all the twists and turns of their trip planning experience.
Here are some insights for travel sellers looking at new opportunities this holiday season:
- Travel planning is alive and strong
Relationships are a significant driver fueling the desire to resume travel for travellers in the Asia-Pacific region. More than half of travellers want to reconnect with family or friends, whether in familiar or unfamiliar surroundings. Only 8 per cent of travellers surveyed expressed interest in group, or guided tour packages of more than 50 people.
Travel spontaneity is also a thing of the past, with majority of Asia-Pacific travellers seeking thoughtful guidance over a period of time before they book their next getaway. For travel sellers, this means incorporating multi-touch or multi-channel to help nurture or shape their customers’ future travel purchase decisions.
- Covid-19 is top of mind
The severity of the Covid-19 health crisis at the destination is now one of the most critical factors influencing purchasing decisions for travellers. More than two-thirds of travellers rank the health and safety measures of airports, airlines and hotels highly when it comes to planning trips.
As the pandemic poses a conundrum to commercial flights, travel sellers will need to work with airlines to demonstrate that it is safe to travel again. New technology such as mobile boarding passes; coupled with policies like mask compliance, and removing middle seats, could help to boost confidence.
- Timing and support is everything
As travellers contemplate exploring new destinations again, their trip planning complexity is becoming increasingly challenging. New regulations around quarantines, visas and more, plus everchanging flight availability requires a greater pool of knowledge, experience and time to ensure the best outcome.
Our survey shows that travellers in Asia-Pacific now place a higher premium on problem solving. Travel sellers that can provide support and look for opportunities to continuously engage customers with hyper-personalised recommendations can help mitigate unforeseen issues and build trust and loyalty over time.
This holiday season, travellers across Asia-Pacific will try and make the most of what they can do to fulfil their holiday needs. Travel sellers that can provide the right information on Covid-19 status and government restrictions and policies in a timely manner, will help the industry rebound in the New Year.