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Low prices, flexible tickets and direct route – New traveller attitudes revealed in Skyscanner report

Skyscanner’s latest Horizons report highlights emerging traveller attitudes and booking preferences in eight key markets.

LONDON – Global travel marketplace Skyscanner is today publishing a new report exploring how travellers’ attitudes are evolving. Titled ‘Skyscanner Horizons – Emerging traveller behaviour as the world reopens’, the report analyses survey data from 24,000 consumers in eight countries as well as extensive global search data to provide unique insights and potential opportunities for the sector.

Opportunities are evident for ‘unserved’ routes – itineraries that are only currently possible via a one or two stop journey – and the origins and destinations they encompass. Exclusive commentary is provided by industry leaders the Centre for Aviation (CAPA), Digital Tourism Think Tank and Skyscanner’s VP of Flights, Hugh Aitken.

Key report findings include:

  • Low price offers are the top travel incentive in encouraging people to book a trip
  • Trust and peace of mind are paramount – 58% of travellers worldwide want greater ticket flexibility
  • Brazilians, Americans and Australians lead the field as the travellers who are the most engaged for 2022 and ready to try new things
  • The world’s top unserved routes are a mix of long-haul leisure destinations and VFR travel
  • Manchester is the world’s top unserved origin airport– traveller demand for new direct services from this location is high
  • Bali is the world’s top unserved destination, as travellers search for dream bucket-list hotspots

Hugh Aitken, VP of Flights at Skyscanner commented: “In our latest Horizons report we have combined in-depth survey data with analysis of Skyscanner global search data to provide a unique perspective of emerging traveller behaviour.

Our findings reveal that for the majority of travellers low price offers provide the biggest incentive to book. However, other factors and outcomes from the past 18 months are also top of mind. For example, greater ticket flexibility and COVID-19 travel insurance. And there is now a focus on the booking experience, in particular trust and service.

When it comes to flight search, we see increasing demand for long-haul leisure and VFR destinations, some of which are only currently possible with indirect itineraries. Within this demand, there may be opportunity – especially within the VFR segment – as travellers look to reconnect with family after prolonged periods apart and corporate travel takes longer to bounce back.

Overall, air travel in 2022 will look very different to 2021 as both travellers and travel providers continue to adapt to a new reality and the world gradually re-opens. But I’m confident that one aspect will remain the same – and that is people’s desire to travel.”

Derek Sadubin, Managing Director of CAPA commented: “The world’s travellers are ready to reconnect with loved ones and connect to new places and cultures. But they want to do so safely, affordably and sustainably, as documented in this timely research paper from Skyscanner. The industry players that have prepared will and are ready to deliver across these dimensions will do well in – and beyond – the recovery phase.”

Nick Hall, CEO of Digital Tourism Think Tank commented: “The report highlights a maturing of trends witnessed early on in the recovery, whilst also pinpointing specific opportunities where supply hasn’t yet caught up with demand. Together, this gives us a more detailed understanding of how destinations can support their industry partners to respond directly to changing travel preferences, such as through co-operative marketing campaigns supporting route reinstatement or content initiatives to convey layers of depth.

Strong demand for cultural and authentic experiences further confirms that travellers are still seeking more meaningful and value driven experiences which bring us closer together. The strategy that many destinations have pursued has therefore been the right approach. Investing in product and experience development, with a strengthened focus on sustainability and values, will continue to reinforce competitive positioning in the long-run.”

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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.