With demand for travel on a fast rebound now, Travelport's chief
marketing officer Jen Catto underscores the importance for the industry
to simplify the travel retail process to prioritise consumer convenience
and breadth of choice for travellers.
After two years of border closures and international travel
restrictions, people are excited to get away. So much so, they are
willing to forgo entertainment, shopping and even self-care for six
months or longer to travel. Yes, really.
People are willing to forgo entertainment, shopping and even self-care for six months or longer to travel, says Travelport's chief marketing officer Jen Catto.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic took the global travel industry
from all-time highs to a low of only 5% of expected volumes overnight.
Over the last two years, the industry has seen that the road to recovery
isn’t linear. Border closures, vaccine shortages, new variants (delta,
omicron) and now, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all have immediate
effects on travel.
the end of 2021, the global travel industry recovered more than 50% of
its gross activity, and if recovery continues along the same trajectory,
85% of the travel industry’s gross activity could be regained by the
end of 2022.
Recently, Travelport commissioned a study of thousands of people
across seven countries, and the results were overwhelming. Perhaps not
surprising given the last two years, but what we heard, loud and clear,
is that that travel is back.
People are so excited to travel, they're willing to give up some of
their favourite things for six months or longer in order to do so:
• 71% of respondents would forgo concerts
• 64% would stop buying new clothes
• 63% would give up spa treatments
• 60% would skip the cinema
• 53% would give up playing sports
• 36% would stop dining at restaurants
However, not every aspect of the travel experience is all sunshine
and umbrella drinks. There is a notable experience gap between the high
degree of enjoyment respondents felt from going on holiday and the
frustration they experienced when booking that very same trip. For
example, in the US (the largest travel region) 43% of respondents said
they don’t find booking travel enjoyable. However, 95% of that same
group enjoy actually being on holiday.
Globally, travel was ranked as the number one most enjoyable
activity, which again, is hardly a surprise, but it dropped to the
number four spot when it came to shopping for travel. And this isn’t
just a generational issue. A quarter of Gen Z respondents agreed that
searching and booking travel is a necessary evil for a change of
There's a notable experience gap between the high degree of enjoyment respondents felt from going on holiday and the frustration they experienced when booking that very same trip.
On average, travellers visit a whopping 38 different websites before
booking their trip. Put this in the context of the old adage that a
consumer visits a website an average of five times before making a
purchase. Other industries have steamed ahead in terms of digital
retailing simplicity and innovation, evolving with their consumers’
sophisticated expectations, and shifting perceptions over time. Study
respondents found the travel industry to be an outlier, perceiving it to
be even less innovative than the finance industry. Ouch.
Shopping for travel is complicated, which is why Travelport has made
simplifying the complex travel ecosystem its mission. In order to be
successful at this, we believe:
• Convenience is crucial: People want a travel shopping experience where they can search and book everything in one place.
45% of respondents would prefer to book an entire trip through one
website, one that offers choice of airlines, hotels, car hire companies,
• Choice beats price: Customers don’t
necessarily want the cheapest option. They want the best option for
their needs. And, in order to select the best option, they want to see
everything on offer.
o Only 13% would book the cheapest option if it meant limiting their choice.
With demand for travel rebounding at its strongest pace since the
pandemic began, it’s imperative that the industry listens to its
customers. Now is the time for us to fix travel retail, putting consumer
convenience and breadth of choice above all. By restoring clarity,
confidence, and fun to travel shopping, we can grow trust, generate
repeat business, and inspire true loyalty – the benchmark of successful