News Corp Consumer Travel Trend Forecast shows a bright future for travel

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• Data came from the News Travel Network, and a consumer survey of just under 1,000 people

News Corp Australia has released findings from its News Travel Network Consumer Trend Forecast for January to June 2022, an insight into the 10 million Australian travellers who engage with News Corp Australia’s brands every month.

Data comes from the behavioural data from the News Travel Network audience, combined with a recent consumer survey of just under 1,000 people to understand sentiment, intent and motivating factors in booking both domestic and international travel. The biannual Trend Forecast is overlaid with global and domestic research and the insights of the company’s senior travel editors to predict the key consumer travel trends that will shape the next six months.

The results were announced at an online event on October 28.

Merrick Watts opened the event by joking about the economic impacts that would result from Australians being allowed to go back to Bali – duty free rum, neck tattoos, and neck tattoo removal are all predicted to go up.

He then lead in to the panel of News Corp Australia travel industry experts including Fiona Nilsson, News Corp Australia’s managing director, food and travel; Kerrie McCallum, editorial director – premium food & travel; Kirsten Galliott, head of content – travel & luxury, Medium Rare Content Agency; Penny Hunter, editor, Travel+Luxury Weekend, The Australian; and Vanessa Brown, travel editor, presented the consumers trends.

First up was Fiona Nilsson talking about the seasonal snapshot, and giving an update on how much interest in travel has spiked. New Zealand is the top destination people are planning, followed by the USA and Englad.

It’s not just international travel that has people excited though: “Half of those planning travel are planning both international and domestic trips,” she said.

Speaking about Return to Planning was Kirsten Galliott. The prospect of international travel is re-energising Australians and confidence is starting to return with 49 per cent of Australians surveyed currently confident in booking overseas travel. Over the next 24 months, consumers intend to take an average of nine holidays, four within their home state, three interstate and two internationally. 

For the people who are hesitant about getting back out? “The FOMO is really going to hurt!”

Kerrie McCallum then stepped up to speak about Experience-Stacking, which is  cramming as many experiences as possible into one trip to make the most of their holiday. “Fun is my number one priority for the year ahead!” she said.

Pent up demand and delayed gratification has culminated in the ‘mega-trip’ for consumers as 48 per cent see travel as an opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that they’ve missed due to Covid, and for 54 per cent it is about having as many experiences as possible. “Anything that requires a booking or a ticket is the domain of experience stackers,” said McCallum.

Up next was Penny Hunter speaking about Meaningful Moments. Consumers have missed or delayed celebrating big life moments and have spent limited quality time with family and friends, and travel provides the opportunity to re-engage and truly appreciate loved ones. Almost one in three consumers intend to take more multi-generational family holidays, this is being driven by millennials – 46 per cent amongst 25-39 year-olds. 

“There’s a sense now of really wanting to make up for lost time. Travel suddenly has a heightened emotional currency,” said Hunter.

Finally, Vanessa Brown spoke about Outside the Comfort Zone. After a year where people have experienced emotional upheaval and a sense of ‘feeling stuck’, some travellers will be looking to expand their boundaries and step outside their comfort zone. 40 per cent place high importance on learning, challenging themselves and growing through their travels. This sentiment is highest amongst 18-39’s and also high income households. 

Brown said that word of mouth will be a significant part of this, with people able to “finally head to that festival their mate raved about in 2019, or head to that sporting event they watched from their couch last year.”

Merrick Watts then hosted a Q+A with the panel.

Video and Data

Fiona Nilsson also announced the launch of commercial products focused on video and data, evolving the News Travel Network’s video proposition to inspire, aid consumer planning and even book from within video content, and continue to enrich targeting options through the News Connect platform. 

Interactive Itinerary – A new interactive video format to assist consumers in the planning phase. Having selected the relevant tour or experience, the content is designed to promote all elements and inclusions plus drive further discovery and enquiry through branded elements. Creating unparalleled engagement with audiences who control their pathway through the content with relevant information and links to help them plan.

Bookable Video – Branded travel video content creates opportunity for a variety of interactive touchpoints and all within the video player experience. Allowing audiences to engage directly with contextually relevant products, brands have the ability to add information links to an inspirational list, provide more information on a destination, drive consumers to enquire or enter a competition and importantly, give consumers the opportunity to book the latest hot deal. 

Travel Targeting – Clients can find the right audience target for their strategy with a raft of new first party data segments via the News Connect platform from next week. There are 128 new segments including people with a high level of intent on destinations, accommodation, travel type and interests. 

Along with the destination information and consumer trends, four key insights were identified to assist the travel industry with their planning.

• Appetite to travel is bigger than ever but demand is still very short-term – 68 per cent of travel intenders are still yet to book anything for their next holiday.
• Half of Australians still lack confidence in international travel but under 40 represent a big opportunity – 70 per cent of 18-39 year olds have some level of confidence in booking international travel.
• Travel may be opening but complexity means expertise is a currency to be traded on – One in three travellers agree that due to the complexity in travel now, they are seeking expert help more than ever.
• Travel motivators and what Australians are seeking in a travel brand are still anchored in the impacts of Covid and lowest price is not a deciding factor – Top travel motivators are about safety, connection or getting away from stress. Top reasons for selecting a travel company – value, reliability, flexibility, customer service, with lowest price ranked 9th on a list of 13.

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