Research from Expedia Group shows that many travellers are comfortable with vaccine passports, would trade a pay rise for more vacation days, and have more disposable income. Jenny Southan reports

Expedia Group’s Traveller Value Index analysed the views of 8,000 people in eight countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK and the US) to understand their values and expectations as the pandemic becomes more controlled in many parts of the world.

Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia for Business, Expedia Group, says: “As vaccination rates rise and borders open across the globe, people are ready and eager to travel. However, the months of uncertainty are weighing on their travel decisions and shifting the conventional belief that price is the top driver of bookings.

“These insights show people want to book with trusted travel providers that will deliver on their experiences, keep them safe, and protect their financial investments.”

How much money do people have to spend on travel?

  • After months of lockdown saving, more than a third (34 per cent) of travellers have larger travel budgets now compared to 2020.
  • More than a third (36 per cent) said they would trade a pay rise for more holiday days.
  • Nearly one in five respondents globally (18 per cent) expect travel to be the activity they spend most on in 2021, along with home renovation (18 per cent) but ahead of entertainment (12 per cent), buying or taking care of a car (11 per cent), or healthcare (11 per cent).
  • Nearly a third (32 per cent) said visiting family and friends was more important than getting the best deal for their first trip.

How often will they travel and where will they go?

  • The outlook for international travel is also improving, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of travellers considering a trip to another country in the next year.
  • Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of travellers are comfortable showing a vaccine passport to travel internationally.
  • When it comes to the frequency and length of trips, 60 per cent said they would be opting for domestic travel in the short-term, however, they were planning to get away more often with nearly half (41 per cent) wanting more frequent, shorter trips.
  • Most travellers (81 per cent) are considering a trip to a remote area, mountain, or small town in the next 18 months.
  • Half of respondents (50 per cent) plan to board a plane in the next 12 months, while two-thirds overall prefer to drive.

What do they want from the intra-pandemic travel experience?

  • The research showed an increased desire for new and different experiences over nostalgic destinations, with 75 per cent of travellers likely to select a destination they’ve never been to before. Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on their next trip.
  • Financial security and safety rank as the highest priorities for travellers across all experiences, a shift from the conventional wisdom that price drives consumer behaviour.
  • More than one in four travellers most value the ability to get a refund, particularly for airline (26 per cent) and vacation rentals (26 per cent).

How important are values and ethics to travellers of today?

  • The Traveller Value Index revealed that people continue to make value-based decisions that reflect their own personal views when booking travel. Travellers want to support sustainable practices, with nearly three in five (59 per cent) willing to pay higher fees to make their trip more sustainable.
  • The majority (65 per cent) are more likely to book with travel providers that have inclusive policies. This includes properties that are owned by women and/or people of colour, are welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community, and those that are supportive of people with disabilities.

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