As vaccinations continue to role out and some markets begin to reopen, Skyscanner has identified several trends it says are defining consumer behavior as it relates to travel planning and purchasing.
Skyscanner Horizons: The Return of Travel is based on the global marketplace’s own search and redirect data, comparing March 2021 to March 2019 for travel between June and October of those years. It also includes results of a survey of 5,000 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and South Korea conducted between April 21 and 23.
Airfares for travel between June and October are down in many markets compared to 2019 – most sharply in Europe (down 15%), India (down 11%) and Brazil (down 9%).
But the company says while price has long been the most important factor in picking a flight, now the decision-making process is more complex. During the first two and half months of 2020, travelers globally selected prices 25% more expensive than the cheapest price available, while for the same period in 2021 that rose to 28%, rising in all markets across EMEA, Asia-Pacific and North and South America.
In its survey, Skyscanner says respondents indicate they are willing to pay more based on things such as convenient flight times, fewer stops or direct routes, airline safety ratings and flying with a specific airline.
The report says trip planning is also changing. While booking windows shrunk in 2020 due to consumer uncertainty about the virus and destination conditions, now travelers are showing a willingness to commit to travel further in advance.
Skyscanner says travelers in the United Kingdom are booking about three and a half months in advance, “buoyed by their vaccination progress and the high chance of summer holidays in Europe and beyond.” Booking windows are now 80 days in advance in EMEA, 70 days in North and South America and 54 days in Asia Pacific. That’s compared to a low globally of about 55 days in September 2020.
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