The recovery of Australia’s beleaguered tourism industry won’t hinge on the actions of “politicians or bureaucrats”, but on the choices of high-earning, high-spending consumers, according to new research.
The study, led by Roy Morgan, revealed that while government support, particularly JobKeeper, has been important for the travel and tourism sector to date, it is not the path back to economic safety.
Instead, the market research company finds high-earning, curious consumers – which it calls the new economic order of premium consumers (NEOs) – will drive economic recovery.
“The evidence on the new economic order is incontrovertible,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said.
“We tracked NEOs as they drove the post-GFC recovery and we’re already seeing them charge ahead in what will be a two-speed recovery.”
According to Roy Morgan, Australia has at least 4.7 million of these “powerhouse consumers”, 76 per cent of whom in the year to March 2020 nominated Australia as their preferred destination for their next holiday.
Domestic travel is, however, the only option for Australians in the near future; but such a margin of interest in local holidays from NEOs is significantly higher than the 59 per cent figure for the population, as noted by Roy Morgan.
The data further reveals that NEO-preferred destinations span across the entirety of Australia. The top destination is Victoria’s Spa Country, with NEOs twice as likely as the average population to visit.
“NEOs are the future-shapers. They are ready to travel as soon as permitted; in many states they are already back out accumulating cherished experiences and spending freely,” Levine said.
“However, to appeal to NEOs, you must genuinely understand their thinking or mindset. This requires discarding truisms about doing business in a recession, especially the push to discount.”
In order to attract “big spending” visitors, Levine said, travel operators need to find value-add promotions rather than just offering discounts.
The data also reveals that NEOs are more likely than other Australians to take a three-week trip over the next 12 months, spending far more than those who opt for weekend jaunts.
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