Nearly 82% of respondents in MEA say they would consider international trips once restrictions are lifted, but only 55% say they expect to have the same or more budget for leisure travel as they did before
To travel or not to travel? Undoubtedly this is one of the top questions millions of leisure travelers in the Middle East and around the world are asking themselves, their family, and peers. The focus of Amadeus’s latest research explores the leisure traveler’s mindset towards planning and purchasing upcoming travel amidst the realities of COVID-19.
To do this, Amadeus got the opinions of +8,500 CheckMyTrip users from around the world through a quantitative and qualitative survey. The research gives us very good reason to be hopeful about the travel industry’s future.
Amadeus’s research findings, outlined in the eBook Destination X: Where to Next – What Leisure Travelers Want in a COVID-19 World, shows consumers have a healthy appetite for travel despite the ongoing challenges and unknowns that still lie ahead.
- Travelers want and have the means to get back out there. Nearly three-quarters say they want to travel within the first three months of restrictions being lifted. The challenge travelers face is more about when, where and how they can best venture out. For example, nearly 82% of respondents in MEA say they would consider international trips once restrictions are lifted, but only 55% say they expect to have the same or more budget for leisure travel as they did before. From how far, to how long, to how often – travelers are clear about what they are willing to consider to start traveling again.
- Details increasingly matter. Travelers’ appetite for flying, staying at hotels, and traveling by train and rental car remain overwhelmingly strong. Yet nearly 84% of travelers surveyed in the MEA region say information on COVID-19 prevention measures are “very important” to know up front before they book a hotel, with 75% saying the same for air travel. Price continues to play a role in decision-making, but other COVID-19 related factors now weigh in as travelers take their time to fully evaluate both their destination and transit options. Customization and personalization are key cornerstones of the trip.
- Contingency plans are no longer optional. Travel insurance grows in prominence with young and old. At least one-third of all respondents say they are seeking more travel insurance coverage than before COVID-19. Specifically, 79% of those surveyed globally see insurance as a necessity when travelling internationally. Flexibility to make changes or collect refunds are just one part of the leisure traveler’s overall insurance cost benefit equation.
- Travel agents are far from passé. Travelers now place a higher premium on problem solving and support, especially for longer journeys. 70% of all those surveyed were open to custom travel experiences, either advised by travel agents or designed themselves. With an array of uncertainties still unfolding, Amadeus sees the potential for travel sellers to play a bigger role in helping consumers successfully navigate their options throughout all phases of their trip experience to strengthen confidence.
Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont, Managing Director of Amadeus Gulf, notes: “Millions of travelers are out there dreaming of their next adventure. They need the travel industry to share what measures are being taken to help keep travelers safe. Enabling travelers to successfully navigate the many variables, such as changing border restrictions, airline and hotel capacity adjustments, and other operational twists and turns, will go a long way to get people travelling again.”
Healthy traveler appetites now can only lead to strong business demand ahead. Seizing this opportunity requires a willing entrepreneurial spirit to change from top to tail. According to Beaumont, travel agents in particular must rethink travel and unlock new niches and spot creative opportunities to service travelers today and in the future.
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