Technology is transforming so much of our daily lives, and travel is no exception. The latest Travelport research has confirmed just how important it is to today’s travelers, whether they’re finding the best value flights, booking a personalized itinerary or managing their trip on the go. Based on responses from 23,000 travelers in 20 countries, we’ve highlighted the key trends that are shaping today’s travel industry and will be the market disrupters of the future.
Travelers want an experience that is as simple and engaging as the best retailers. Our research shows that technology is key. At Travelport, we will continue to accelerate development to help the industry keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the modern traveler.
Fiona Shanley, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer
When searching for a flight, 86% of travelers cited value as their top priority – with only 18% booking solely on cost – and baby boomers came out slightly ahead of younger generations. There is a number of ways they go about finding that value. For example, with price comparison sites, recommendation sites and conversations with travel consultations all equally in the mix. Over three-quarters (77%) of travelers also state that they’ve used travel brands’ social media in their research – and a third of Gen Y travelers ‘nearly always do’. Today’s travelers also have an appetite for the very latest technology, with 48% stating that they think augmented or virtual reality technology could help them better plan their trips.
Other key decision-making factors when looking for travel value include the quality of the digital experience on offer – this was cited by 71% of respondents booking flights, up 3% compared to 2018, and over half of travelers picking accommodation.
For travelers looking online, however, trust is a big issue. 50% of users (up 6% on 2018) reported that they are frustrated at not knowing which companies to trust online and which online reviews are genuine.
Simpler personalization is in big demand at the booking phase. With flights, for example, 42% of travelers across the age groups stated that they want to personalize their booking through add-ons such as extra legroom, additional baggage allowance and meal upgrades. Nearly a quarter of people, though, prefer bundled offers to make the process of adding extras easier.
This finding is supported by the 52% of respondents who said they’d felt frustrated that they couldn’t easily understand what was included as standard (up 12% from 2018). And travelers are getting increasingly annoyed with companies not remembering their preferences for future trips – with 35% complaining about this, up 4% on 2018.
Travelers want more and more control of the travel experience from start to finish. For example, 45% of respondents (up 9% on 2018) reported being frustrated when they can’t access their booking information 24/7 on their mobile device.
A similar proportion have demonstrated their technophile credentials by already using voice search to help manage their travel, with the most common requests being for weather information and live traffic updates.
But technology is not always the answer when it comes to creating a smoother trip. 42% of travelers said that they find it frustrating not being able to talk to a human when they have a question or issue, a view that was fairly consistent across the age groups.