Researches have shown that travellers’ behaviour has changed when compared to the pre-pandemic times. Their intent for 2022 demonstrate that they are now avoiding busy and over-visited destinations and looking for unusual and off-beat destinations. Not just that, they are willing to spend more for experiences.
The pandemic has made people realise the value of travel. They are raring to go out, but with safety. In a recent survey by Saber, two-thirds of travel leaders surveyed said they believed that the travel would return to the pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, while one-third said that it would happen by 2025 or later. Amid this optimism and enthusiasm for travel, new trends are emerging, which the industry needs to understand and take advantage of.
Change in travel preferences
Travellers are now avoiding busy and over-visited destinations and looking for unusual and off-beat destinations. According to a research by bookings.com, 33 per cent of respondents said that they chose to travel outside of peak season and 27 per cent chose to go to a less popular travel destination over the last 12 months to avoid overcrowding. Homestays, nature surrounded hotels and resorts are attracting a huge number of tourists. “Smaller, curated, personal tours or holidays for two or three people will be a trend this year. People want to know in advance about their trip, they want to know who they are travelling with, and about their safety,” says Ali Barter, Founder, Trunk India.
Small private trips to off-beat destinations have become a new trend. “This presents an opportunity for travel platforms to partner with accommodation providers in these destinations to help them progress on their sustainable journeys and turn to highlight more sustainable options, as well as to help consumers discover alternative times and places to take their trips, without sacrificing on experience,” Barter adds.
Increase in length of stay
Compared to 2019, travellers are now choosing more relaxed and more detailed itineraries. “Instead of exploring four or five destinations on a trip, they now choose to stay longer and explore a single destination in one trip,” reveals Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI.
Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific, Thailand Tourism, reveals that the length of Indians stays have increased post pandemic. “Indians used to stay in Thailand for an average of five and a half days per trip pre-COVID, but after easing of the travel restrictions, the number rose to six and a half days per trip. The reason could be the pent-up demand of two and a half years,” he says.
Increase in sustainable stays
Awareness and visibility of more sustainable stays continues, with 40 per cent of global travellers confirming they have seen a sustainable accommodation on an online travel site over the past year and 38 per cent indicating that they actively sought information on the sustainability efforts of a property before making the booking. About 46 per cent of travellers around the world stated that they had stayed in sustainable accommodation over the past year.
Leisure travel on the rise
A good number of Indian travellers are opting luxury segment. “The luxury travel market has grown by 25-30 per cent. This segment of the tourism industry is booming due to the large number of Indian tourists, who want to travel despite the hike in airfares and hotel rates,” reveals Munshi, adding that this has pushed the luxury hotel prices in India to their highest levels.
Experience over price
People are ready to travel at higher cost for experiences. “The starting airfares for Europe are around 3-4 lakhs. Despite the high fares, people are not getting air tickets, as all are sold out. This indicates a surge in the demand of travellers. The reason could be pent-up demand and the increased spending capacity,” says Munshi.