Singapore – Trip.com Group, the leading global travel service provider comprising of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar, in cooperation with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) yesterday published their global consumer trends report which observes the global travel and tourism landscape for 2021 as well as forecasts for the short-term and long-term future. The new report titled, “Trending in Travel: Emerging Consumer Trends in Travel & Tourism in 2021 and Beyond”, uncovers the global trends for consumer travel by evaluating the booking data analysis and consumer survey responses acquired by the Group’s platforms as well as those from industry sources, in a bid to better understand the changing consumer behavior as a result of COVID-19.
According to WTTC research, the impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for the global travel and tourism industry as the sector witnessed a US$4.5 trillion drop in gross domestic product (GDP) and losses of 62 million jobs globally. According to the report, the pandemic has widely promoted a dynamic shift in consumer preferences for travel which are reflected in three broader clusters – notably booking trends, consumer considerations and consumer profiles. The pandemic has greatly impacted how consumers choose to travel, giving rise to the acceleration of existing and emerging trends which are detailed in the report. In addition, various market examples are also featured across the report.
Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, said, “Travellers around the world have shown their eagerness to travel, whether limited to domestic travel or able to cross borders, we see a huge amount of pent-up demand steadily being released. To better evolve with the recovery we must understand travellers, and as an industry adapt to emerging trends.”
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said, “It is clear people are really looking forward to traveling again. Consumers are curious, they are looking at new destinations, ‘the great outdoors’ and travel that benefits the places and people they visit. As travel and tourism represents over 10 percent of global GDP this is good news for jobs and economies. The impact in some countries has been devastating for local communities and this report shows that business is returning in earnest.”
SUSTAINED DOMESTIC REDISCOVERY
As international travel continues to face persisting limitations or restrictions, travelers continue to remain compelled to search for travel experiences within their home countries. Therefore, the report identifies that domestic travel will continue to lead the recovery of the travel and tourism sector, especially in the short to medium-term.
In particular, the concept of staycations may continue to be in demand and more so for countries with prolonged restrictions on outbound travel. Globally, the report found that more than half of global travelers plan to travel for a domestic holiday in the next 12 months. Trip.com data analyzed a surge in overall global domestic hotel bookings in 2021 as compared to previous years, with an increase of over 200 percent for 2021 compared to 2019.
Particularly for Asia-Pacific markets including Singapore, there has been a sustained increase in demand for staycations domestically. The report indicated that this growth and demand would also be attributed to the respective governmental policies for each country. Singapore, for example, introduced the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) scheme to boost domestic demand. The scheme grants locals, above the age of 18, S$100 vouchers for use on hotel stays, tours, and at attractions.
The report noted that domestic travel may slow proportionally as international travel returns, but added that the trend to rediscovering domestic destinations is likely to linger in the long-term.
PREFERENCE FOR LONGER STAYS
2021 has shown a pent-up demand for extended stays with approximately one in four global travelers preferring longer stays of over ten nights, thus suggesting a trend towards extended stays as travelers attempt to make the most of trips taken. In addition to which, the pandemic has also initiated an appetite for hybrid models of travel, which combine work and school with leisure travel. Termed ‘Bleisure’, in the form of ‘workcations’ or ‘flexcations’, this form of travel is also a key force to aid the recovery of the travel and tourism industry.
In Asia Pacific, a majority of Thai (69 percent), Vietnamese (57 percent) and Chinese (54 percent) respondents indicated that remote work during quarantine and travel would encourage them to stay longer during their trips.
A NEW WAVE OF TRAVELERS
The report uncovered that travelers today value flexible bookings for travel products and this has led to the need for the industry, including airlines, hotels and travel providers, to adapt and review cancellation policies to accommodate changes that may affect traveler itineraries. Global data from Trip.com also identified shorter booking windows for hotel and flight bookings made on the site – where flight booking windows decreased by 56 percent to 23 days, and hotel bookings dropped by 22 days to 10 days in H1 2021, compared to H1 2019
With the prolonged periods of isolation facilitated by COVID-19, travelers are showing a preference to travel to less crowded and even unfamiliar destinations, with an increased interest in exploring secondary destinations and nature. According to Ctrip data for Asia-Pacific, there has been a rise in nature-related attraction bookings – with a 264.5 percent increase in H1 2021 compared to H1 2020.
Travelers today are seen to opt for more sustainable and wellness-driven travel options. The report identified an increase for travellers, notably 94 percent of travelers in Thailand, who plan to reduce and recycle when visiting a destination. Virus prevention measures are also crucial in the making of travel plans. In particular, a majority of Asia-Pacific consumers (72.8 percent) prioritize clear health and safety precautions above price (36.8 percent) and location (46.3 percent).
Looking ahead, there is no doubt that travel will recover – with the WTTC projecting a rise in travel & tourism GDP by 30.7 percent in 2021 and 31.7 percent in 2022.
For more information on the Trending in Travel: Emerging Consumer Trends in Travel & Tourism in 2021 and Beyond report, download the full report here.
About Trip.com Group
Trip.com Group is a leading one-stop travel service provider comprising of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group enables local partners and travelers around the world to make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services, through the aggregation of comprehensive travel-related information and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of mobile apps, internet websites and 24/7 customer service centers. Founded in 1999 and listed on NASDAQ in 2003, Trip.com Group has become one of the best-known travel brands in the world, with the mission of ‘making every trip the perfect trip’