A new Travel Trend Forecast from News Corp Australia has revealed Australians are casting aside cost of living pressures to continue travelling – but are doing so with an eye on price, gaining the best deals and flexibility.
The Consumer Travel Trend Forecast is an insight into the 11.9 million Australian travellers who engage with News Corp Australia’s brands every month. The study delivers a consumer survey that illustrates changes in travel over time and clearly identifies what is improving and where effort is needed to create action.
Four key insights were identified to assist the travel industry with their planning:
• Almost one in three travellers claim the cost of living has impacted their travel plans and budgets, with 38 per cent of travel intenders feeling they have been significantly impacted by the cost of living pressures.
• Australians are increasingly price-driven, with 61 per cent of travellers agreeing lowest price is one of the most important factors when making bookings, and two in three agreeing that price is more important now than it was before.
• Flexibility is firmly back on the agenda, with 68 per cent agreeing flexible booking is more important when booking than it was previously and 34 per cent saying it is one of the most important factors when booking to avoid penalties and loss.
• Dynamics are changing, with many looking to book their next trip further ahead than before – 32 per cent are booking seven plus months out now vs 20 per cent this time last year. Solo and couple travel is increasing in popularity (68 per cent now vs 58% six months ago), while family and group travel has declined (45 per cent vs 60 per cent six months ago).
News Corp Australia’s managing director, food, health and travel Fiona Nilsson said: “Despite cost of living pressures, Australians are still travelling, they are adapting to these pressures by adjusting when they book, and how many people they travel with.
“Australians are increasingly price driven and flexibility is more important than ever before when booking their travel. Because of these factors we are seeing a change in dynamics with who people are choosing to travel with. Solo and couple travel is up, while family and group travel has declined over the past six months. Noticeably, travellers are also booking their next trip further ahead than we have seen for some time.
“While intrastate travel is down and interstate travel remains consistent, international trips are going up, nearly doubling to 26 per cent of travellers indicating it will be the next holiday.
“At destination level, New Zealand still holds the top spot, followed by the UK at number two. We have seen a big jump in interest in Japan, and the other big movers have been Thailand and Greece. We are seeing a more balanced top 10, showing that other destinations have opened up and that travellers have confidence in travelling more broadly.”
The biannual Trend Forecast uses the behavioural data from the News Travel Network audience, combined with a recent consumer survey of just over 1,000 people to understand sentiment, intent and motivating factors in booking both domestic and international travel. This 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.
News Corp Australia travel industry experts including Kerrie McCallum, editorial director – travel, premium food and health; Kirsten Galliott, head of content – travel & luxury, medium rare content agency; Elizabeth Glover, general manager, travel industry, product and partnerships; and John Hannan, digital director, delicious. and Escape, presented the consumer trends.
Key travel consumer trends identified:
Travellers are heading to new destinations at any time of the year, as flexibility and off season travel enables them to explore without the crowds, the hassle and for some the price tag of peak season. Travellers are tired of paying for crowds and affordability is the biggest concern for off-season intenders, followed by less crowds. Ready to fly and be flexible with parts or all of their next holiday booked, and they are intending to go in the next three months. And, not miss out on the classics of a holiday as they want to sightsee and shop, all while living like a local and embracing the culture.
The Off Season traveller is seeking a more affordable trip that allows them to relax and have the ability to embrace new places or enjoy the classics, without the crowds.
Wellness travel has extended from just the ‘self’ to the ‘couple’, with many using travel as a tool to strengthen romantic relationships. Care for not just ‘me’, but ‘we’ with more than one in three travellers agreeing that their ideal holiday would be an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, deepen relationships, treat the family, and spend extended time together. Intimate travellers don’t need to go far, or for too long to connect, with 81 per cent intending their next holiday to be within Australia. And they aim to treat and retreat and are much more likely to want to stay in resort style accommodation with experiences such as yoga retreats and have food and wine experiences.
Travellers focused on growing their relationships are looking for destinations that enable them to connect and share wellness experiences with their loved ones.
Television and the big screen are influencing how people choose to travel, encouraging a group of travel intenders to head out on location and live like a movie star. Screen Lust travellers are ready to go far to see their favourite shows/movies in real life. They want to travel like the rich and famous in a ‘Hollywood style’ with their partner, with the help of a travel agent for a luxury and indulgent holiday. And they are looking for an entertaining and new experience wanting to go somewhere completely new, a bucket list, thrill seeking and challenging experience.
Those inspired with Screen Lust are booking ahead, looking for a range of experiences, and looking for help with planning their next trip.
As Kirsten Galliott joked in the presentation, “The West Coast of Tasmania is beautiful, but I don’t know if the producers of Alone Australia are doing it too many favours right now”
Extended Work / Play
Australians are capitalising on the work-from-home culture to enable themselves to travel for longer, by mixing business with pleasure for an extended time away. Australians who want to add a little work to their holiday are young and are booking early. Extended Work/Play travellers want luxury and the holiday experience to balance out the work. Flexibility and balance are extremely important to those planning to work on holiday.
Young Extended Work/Play travellers are almost twice as likely to mix business and pleasure, they’re seeking luxury, are more likely to use a travel agent and they’re prioritising flexibility.
Sustainable Intention & Action
Sustainable intention is more than being conscious of sustainable offers when booking, but taking active and personal measures while on holiday. Sustainability is important to most travellers, but there is a segment who have purposeful sustainable intentions. They are willing to pay more for sustainability, both through how they pay and what they do. They want to travel soon, and they want to travel wider having booked parts or all of their next holiday, with NZ and Japan popular. And they want to be in a peaceful natural environment on the inside and outside, with an island/beach holiday, an outdoor getaway, camping or nature and wildlife activities, as well as a wellness style/self-care experience.
There is an opportunity for travel brands to educate travellers on how they can take sustainable action on their next holiday, from where they stay to what they personally do.