It’s the Big Travel Bounce as post-COVID travellers worldwide consult their wanderlists and head off to make up for lost time. Hotel occupancies are rising, airlines have been caught short, the service industry is scrambling to catch up.
But just who exactly are these people out there, getting ready to travel? What do they want from their travel professional? And how does the travel professional find them?
The world’s largest survey of travel intentions in 2022 from Travel Lifestyle Network (TLN) (Data Analysis: Thrive / AudienceNet | Source: Global Web Index) broke these statistics down even further when they confirmed actual bookings.
Mostly Boomers (19%) and Millennials (12%) had booked an overseas holiday in the previous three to six months, while Millennials (26%) and Gen Xers (24%) had booked a domestic holiday in the previous three to six months.
What does the increased appetite for travel mean for the travel industry?The good news for travel professionals is that almost half of the world’s population with the means to travel have decided that embarking on a trip is the most effective way to shake off the cobwebs of lockdown. Read more about that here.
Here is a snapshot of your travel markets:
Your Baby Boomer travel client is mainly from a developed nation, adventurous, affluent and educated with high expectations of ease and comfort.
What does your Boomer client want?
It is very likely they have compiled a bucket list, or a ‘wanderlist’, as they believe they have worked hard all their lives and they now want to explore.
Much of their travel will include visits to family, or they might include children or grandchildren in their plans.
They will be prepared to spend on luxury or indulgence and comfort, especially dining.
Even though they are interested in adventure and novelty, they will still want assurances of safety and comfort.
They are unlikely to travel on their own, most likely as a couple. Many will travel with grandchildren.
Their trips will be planned and structured and most likely budgeted.
They are quite likely to want to base themselves in one place and explore the surrounding areas with fine dining, shopping and sightseeing high on the list.
Your Gen X travel client is a mature professional, educated and affluent. They are settled with family and relatively conservative values. They would be the highest cohort for family holidays and domestic travel.
What does your Gen X client want?
This is the holiday-maker who will concentrate mainly on domestic travel, with a very occasional exotic holiday as a special occasion.
They are most likely to sign up for group travel packages and focus on family activities.
They are keen on excursions and pre-booked packages – to avoid family wrangles in decision-making - and often will rent a house (or houseboat, safari lodge, or cruise) for a family holiday.
Their choice of destination will be influenced by the family dynamic, in an attempt to please everyone and minimise potentially disruptive choices.
Your Millennial travel client, therefore, is less affluent but more adventurous, multi-cultural, spontaneous, highly educated and open-minded. They demand connectivity and flexibility.
What does your Millennial client want?
Millennials are quite likely to be travelling on their own, but will be highly connected with their networks at all times.
They often work remotely while they travel, and it is also likely that they will be sharing their travel experiences with their network as they go.
They are quite happy to use local transport and cheap accommodation like backpacker lodges, while spending money on experiences and adventures.
They are more likely to move from place to place in search of adventure, and they are also more likely to be agile, flexible and adaptable and want to change their plans at short notice.
Often they will meet up with other millennials and form fluid groups.
The millennial is also likely to be multi-cultural and will want an educational or cultural experience.
They tend to spend money responsibly and prefer personalisation.
They often make decisions based on social media.
The traveller of the future
Computers, the Internet, social media and connectivity has changed travel – and travellers – in ways that we have not even begun to understand.
As a travel professional, both you and your customer are passengers on the information highway, either as co-pilots or ships in the night. Connectivity, accessibility, personalisation, agility, adaptability, innovation and flexibility: you can see these either as the cubes of ice in your drink, or an iceberg in your path.