Travellers across the world are increasingly prioritising value over cost, demanding more autonomy over personalisation and using digital solutions to research and manage their trips. These are among the findings of Travelport’s ‘Global Digital Traveler Research 2019’, which surveyed 23,000 people from 20 countries:
Value is more important than cost but it can be hard to find
- When booking a flight, value is a top priority for over four out of five (86 per cent) travellers today with just one in five (18 per cent) now booking solely on cost. This trend is apparent across all age groups led by Baby Boomers (91 per cent) who prioritise value marginally more than younger generations.
- To find offers of value, travellers ‘nearly always’ use a combination of travel review sites like TripAdvisor (42 per cent), price comparison sites like Kayak.com (38 per cent), recommendation sites like Kiwi.com (36 per cent) and have conversations with travel consultants (31 per cent).
- But when shopping online, travellers have mounting frustrations when it comes to knowing which companies they can trust (50 per cent, up 6 per cent on 2018). They are also frustrated by not knowing whether online reviews are genuine (50 per cent) and the time required to find the right option (43 per cent).
Travelers want more control and transparency when it comes to personalisation
- Across all age categories, when booking a flight, travellers typically want to personalize their own experience (42 per cent) through add-ons like extra legroom, additional baggage allowance and meal upgrades. One quarter (24 per cent), however, prefer to receive branded offers, such as Flexi and Saver, which provide a basic level of personalisation.
- When attempting to personalize their experience, however, a growing number of travelers are getting frustrated by not being able to understand what is included as standard (52 per cent, up 12 per cent on 2018) and not knowing what add-ons are available to them (56 per cent).
- Travellers are also increasingly frustrated by companies they regularly use not remembering their preferences (35 per cent, up 4 per cent on 2018). Frustration with this is most prevalent among Gen Y (39 per cent).
A wide range of technologies are now influencing decision making
- Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of travellers today consider it important whether an airline offers a good digital experience when booking a flight, upto 3 per cent on 2018. Over half (58 per cent) also consider this when choosing accommodation, upto 7 per cent on 2018.
- When researching a trip, three quarters (77 per cent) of travellers have reviewed videos and photos posted by travel brands on social media, up 2 per cent on 2018. One third (36 per cent) of Gen Y travelers today ‘nearly always’ do this in the research phase. Facebook is considered the most influential social media platform by all age groups except for Gen Z, which puts Instagram marginally ahead.
- Nearly half of all travellers (48 per cent) now believe augmented or virtual reality experiences would help them better plan their trips. Demand is greatest among Gen Y (61 per cent) travellers, though still significant among all other age categories.
Demand continues to rise for technologies that make travel easier to manage
- Nearly half (45 per cent) of travellers today get frustrated when they are unable to access their booking information round-the-clock on mobile devices, such as smart phones and smart watches, up 9 per cent on 2018. When it comes to age groups, frustration is particularly high among Gen Y (50 per cent) and Gen Z (47 per cent) travelers but also maintained among others.
- Nearly half (44 per cent) of travellers have now used voice search to help manage travel, with use greatest among Gen Y travelers (61 per cent) and lowest among Baby Boomers (12 per cent). One quarter (25 per cent) of Gen Y travelers today ‘nearly always’ use the technology for this use. When the technology is used by travellers, some of the most popular requests made are for information relating to the weather at their destinations (60 per cent) and getting live traffic updates (54 per cent).
- Technology, however, is not always the answer. Two fifths (42 per cent) of travelers, for example, find not being able to speak to a human frustrating, up from 38 per cent in 2018. This view was shared consistently across all age groups, though highest among Baby Boomers (43 per cent).
Commenting on the findings of the research, Travelport’s Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, Fiona Shanley said, “Travellers are consumers too and they want an experience from travel providers and travel agents that is as simple and engaging as the best retailers. Travelport’s latest global research shows that technology is key to this– from serving relevant and personalised offers to providing attractive propositions from trusted sources. With increasing adoption of emerging technologies and use of new industry standards, this is precisely where the industry is heading. At Travelport, we will continue to accelerate developments in all these areas, and more, to help the industry keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the modern traveller”.