Tourism

News Corp Australia identifies five key consumer travel trends for 2021

News Corp Australia has released the findings from its inaugural News Travel Network Consumer Trends Forecast, identifying a few handy trends for brands to work with.

Using the behavioural data from the media giant’s News Travel Network audience, combined with Australian and international trend reports, the biannual trends forecast is overlaid with the expertise and broad-reaching insights of News Corp’s senior travel editors to predict the key consumer travel trends that will shape the next six months.

News Corp Australia’s managing director of food and travel, Fiona Nilsson, said the past year has dramatically changed the way we travel and how we think about travel.

“With a disruption as big as this, we also see big shifts in consumer interests and behaviours,” she said.

“The purpose of our new trends forecast is to call out those shifting trends with a focus on the ones that are going to make a difference in the near future and help inform the travel industry on its path to recovery.

“It’s worth noting that these are the trends and insights that our teams have built their coming editorial plans around.”

News Corp Australia’s head of travel, Dwayne Birtles, said the company was laser-focused on its approach to travel across the business.

“The News Travel Network is very clear on the types of readers that we’re focusing our efforts on commercially, editorially and from a product and technology standpoint,” he said.

“Our research has identified five core travel consumer segments ranging from the ‘Savvy’ segment, younger customers who are looking for value in their travel experiences and have a high propensity to book online; all the way up to the highest-value travel customer via our ‘Prestige’ segment, who look for the very best in quality and experience from their travel.”

The five key consumer travel trends were presented by News Corp at a virtual event this morning, and are as follows:

The swing against enforced presentism

This trend is based on consumers really wanting to avoid that feeling or sense of being ‘trapped in the present’, with no horizons. It’s leading to a strong desire to seek to reclaim their future, after feeling it was snatched away from them in 2020.

To avoid feeling trapped in the present with ‘no horizons’, consumers are seeking to reclaim their future after being deprived of the ability to fully plan, manage and influence experiences in 2020.

As borders reopen and the vaccine rollout continues, Australians are looking ahead to escape the endless vortex of going nowhere. This means that Australians will reclaim their future by throwing themselves into future planning – especially travel. They will be looking for hassle free booking experiences and hyper-personalised itineraries.

Live like a local

Out of the changes that 2020 brought us, that dream of staying longer in places once considered brief holiday destinations has become a real possibility as many of us transition to partial or fully working from home. 

The pandemic has made living and working in places we’ve only ever visited a reality, with remote working becoming part of everyday life. This year and beyond will see shifts from short-term to medium- and long-term stays for corporate nomads as they move to destinations that offer a better and more enjoyable lifestyle.

The rise of ‘micropreneuers’ is further fuelling this trend, leading to new business models for accommodation.

Once-in-a-lifetime travel

Before COVID, we had unlimited choice. It wasn’t where could I go? It was where should I go next? We’ve surprised ourselves with how amazing Australia is, but there is no doubt there’s been a sense of confinement, and let’s face it: Australians love to travel overseas and we’re yearning for the big trip.

Consumers are appreciative of now being able to travel more freely and they are chasing dream destinations over adventure. The pent-up travel demand will see Australians plan epic, ‘trip of a lifetime’ holidays. People want to tick off those bucket-list destinations that have been out of reach.

They are also feeling nostalgic about past trips and looking at revisiting destinations that they have been to before, and doing them properly. Multigenerational travel will also ramp up as ‘togetherness travel’ gathers pace.

This will all result in Australians saving more, hoarding leave to maximise time away and spending more time planning.

Loyalty redefined

Tourism operators have a great opportunity here to develop a whole new cohort of loyal customers. With options limited in terms of destinations, consumers are eager to try something new.

The consumer who is tempted to do a trip they might not otherwise have considered, could become the next loyal traveller; the customer who goes with the company they know, tried and tested, time and again.  

The pandemic has levelled the playing field for brands. Limited opportunities to travel and the desire for fresh, immersive experiences mean Australians are considering brands or operators they haven’t used before.

However, brand loyalty is more fragile, with factors such as customer service, safety, reliability, and good communication – rather than price – driving consumer decision-making.

The prestige market is strong, with travellers who would normally spend their money overseas branching out into domestic experiences with premier operators. This satisfies their wanderlust while also ensuring the high level of service they expect. Brands will need to have a COVID safety commitment and offer travellers security.

Wonder Down Under

As restrictions lifted and we could travel in our metaphoric backyard – all 7.6 million square kilometres of it – our appetite for information about Australia surged. We saw a curiosity for niche and quirky stories and details and a desire to get to know our country in a more meaningful, entertaining or purposeful way than ever before.

Border restrictions are unlocking our inquisitive minds and adventurous spirits right here at home. Australians will be looking for natural social distancing – spectacular, wide-open spaces, pandemic restlessness and a set of car keys will see people hitting the road and ready to camp, caravan or hotel-hop their way around the country.

Australians are looking for the quirky and the curious, with more people travelling at home they are seeking out niche and detailed history, facts, pop culture and trivia. Micro moments and local secrets are important with Australians wanting deeper, richer and more immersive experiences.



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