News Corp’s Future of Travel Forum reveals the ‘new Australian traveller’

news corp travel forum

• News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller was first on stage for the opening address

New research reveals Australians retain their strong sense of wanderlust and are willing to look through present travel restrictions, according to a study of the nation’s travel consumer released today by News Corp Australia. 

Announced at the company’s Future of Travel Forum held today in Sydney, the landmark ‘Emotional Connection Series – Travel’ provides a blueprint for marketers to help effectively engage the diversity of Australian travel consumers to maximise success as travel restrictions ease.

The study, undertaken in partnership with strategic research agencies The Lab and Nature, differs from other industry research by focusing on consumers’ emotions and how tapping into them can benefit marketers. 

News Corp Australia’s managing director, food and travel Fiona Nilsson said the research reflected the company’s commitment to developing innovative marketing solutions and its unwavering support to restore the travel industry’s fortunes. 

“This ground-breaking research has allowed us to develop an industry-first playbook that not only looks at Australians’ current travel mindsets, but delves deeper into the ‘internal narratives’ that govern their relationship with the category.

“These mindsets and narratives do change quite markedly based on specific audiences and the types of travel audiences are considering. Using the travel playbook we are able to customise the research for marketers individually.

“With this study we found that the bulk (58 per cent) of Australians are ‘just a nudge away’ from diving back into travel, representing a huge opportunity to trigger their re-entry into the category with the appropriate strategy.

“Australians retain their strong sense of wanderlust and are willing to look through present travel restrictions. We can confirm underlying demand remains strong but many consumers are understandably cautious and even reluctant to pack their bags, making it critical for brands to deliver bespoke messaging strategies to compel Australians back into action,” said Nilsson.

News Corp Australia’s head of travel, Dwayne Birtles said the study was designed to ensure the industry kept abreast of the latest in consumer emotions, attitudes, beliefs, intentions and expectations.

“A key challenge confronting today’s travel marketers is getting the narrative right to encourage consumers to engage with them, and importantly to feel protected considering there’s more uncertainty in travel than ever before.

“This work will better equip travel businesses to truly connect with their customers in a more meaningful way, and that’s a win-win for consumers and travel businesses bottom lines,” said Birtles.

The methodology has provided a rich understanding of consumers which, most importantly, can be quantified and validated to give marketers a framework and insights with which they can confidently make decisions.

The research was unveiled today at News Corp Australia’s Future of Travel Forum which included headline speakers, The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for trade, tourism and investment; and Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group.

The event opened with Merrick Watts as the event had some tidbits from Japan as an ode to the upcoming Olympics. Joking about the upcoming Games, Watts said “We are going to do what Australians do best at sport… choke at the last minute.”

News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller was first on stage for the opening address, and outlined what to be expected from the day and the importance of tourism on the economy.

Miller spoke about how the research shows travellers are getting itchy feet, and that everyone’s interest to get Australians travelling again is resulting in a golden opportunity for businesses.

He also criticised government response to Covid, labeling it as inconsistent and campaigned for a national approach to lock downs and borders. 

Dan Tehan was next up, speaking about how Australia’s pandemic response has set us apart from the rest of the world. Editor of The Australian, Michelle Gunn conducted a Q+A with the minister, and when she asked about vaccination rollout, Tehan responded “My hope is we will have all Australians vaccinated by the end of the year.”

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce joked about feeling like he was coming out of an Irish pub on a Friday as the boat that the event was taking place on rocked. Taking a more serious tone, Joyce said “There is something big missing and that is the 9 million tourists that come into Australia every year.”

He discussed Qantas’ schemes to encourage vaccinations to allow travel to happen more freely, and said he “would encourage every company in Australia to acknowledge people getting the vaccine.”

The speakers were then complemented with a panel discussion on the future of travel and the opportunities for businesses and consumers, featuring Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia; Norm Black, Co-founder of TripADeal; and Karen Deveson, managing director of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold.

News Corp’s managing director of national sales, Lou Barrett, closed the event optimistic about the future for travel and thanked the speakers and guests.

The ‘Emotional Connection Series – Travel’ is the first of a five part series to deliver a landmark multi-year research program; unpacking the underlying deep connections consumers have with lifestyle categories including Travel, Food and Luxury.

News Corp Australia’s general manager, growth intelligence centre Dan Krigstein said it was incredibly exciting to work on the ambitious emotions frameworks that steps well beyond traditional research to bring to market these industry-first consumer playbooks. 

“The data-asset that we’re building across this multi-year investment allows us to interrogate the findings by a huge variety of subsets, including travel behaviours and intention. We can even look to survey and overlay a partner’s specific customer-base to isolate the most relevant and impactful narratives to nudge their customers most effectively,” said Krigstein.

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