Tourism, there are glimmers of confidence in the recovery of the tourism sector after the encouraging balance of the July-September 2021 quarter, but what are the trends of the future and what aspects will help operators to respond to the new needs of travellers?
During the TTG Travel Experience in Rimini, the main B2B tourism fair in Italy, we at Premoneo had the opportunity to talk with various operators in the sector, from hospitality to transport, passing through tour operators, and we found a climate of renewed confidence in comparison with the 2020 edition.
Tourism, the recovery is confirmed by the data
To confirm our feelings, in addition to the budgets of individual entrepreneurs, were the data from some authoritative research and observers. For example, the Osservatorio Innovazione Digitale nel Turismo (Digital Innovation in Tourism Observatory) of the Politecnico di Milano reports a 51% growth in travel eCommerce compared to last season, which reached 10.8 billion euros. Looking at the various compartments of this industry, in 2021 transport reached a total of 8.3 billion euros (+30% on 2020), but the figures are still significantly lower than in 2019. Driving the industry’s recovery are mainly eCommerce transactions, which now account for 62% of the total transportation market. Overall, the accommodation sector in 2021 exceeded 9 billion euros, approaching the 2019 value of 10.3 billion. For hospitality facilities, the weight of eCommerce has grown substantially, and today it has become the first channel with 55% of incidence and, in online sales, it is mainly direct transactions that continue to gain weight in the mix. Organized tourism, on the other hand, is still struggling to recover, including tour operators and cruises, which registered a drop of over 65% compared to the last pre-pandemic season.
Tourism, the recovery also passes through the NRP
Waiting to understand the impact on the sector of the package of measures from 1.7 billion total of the NRP tourism, from the super bonus of 80% to qualify hotels, bathing establishments and accommodation facilities to the special section of the SME Guarantee Fund to finance new initiatives under 35, women’s businesses and investment for activities in the South, some aspects already represent a new reality for travel and hospitality.
Tourism, the recovery in 2021th Travel Trends
For example, the consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners has highlighted new trends in consumer behaviour in its Travel Trends 2021 study. According to the research, conducted globally, 45% of consumers want to travel more than before the pandemic and are willing to spend more when planning a vacation. But what are the 3 key trends highlighted?
- The choice to spend vacations within national borders is likely to endure. Pandemic-related restrictions continue to play a key role in consumer decision-making. With many countries still affected to varying degrees by blockades and restrictions, travellers want the certainty of being able to vacation without restrictions or the risk of having to go into quarantine. Thus, the trend for consumers to vacation within their own country continues to grow, choosing safer accommodations and travel arrangements where higher standards are guaranteed.
- For many travellers, combining vacations with remote work has never been more feasible. Nearly half of respondents (43%) said they plan to work remotely from a vacation location due to the increased flexibility of hybrid work models.
- The average travel consumer has a significantly high budget. Research shows that 34% of international respondents plan to spend more on leisure travel in the future than they did pre-pandemic. Most respondents do not perceive a price increase, and while price remains a major driver of choice, this indicates room for travel companies to manoeuvre.
Tourism, recovery starting from the understanding of the new needs of the tourist
Versatility, flexibility and the ability to dynamically transform are the keywords identified by IEG, which has published research on the 5 Deep Trends that will guide the future strategies of operators.
- Confidentiality returns to be a value, after years dominated by the need to share everything with everyone.
- After Covid-19, the emotional aspect becomes central. True luxury is peace and serenity. Vacations and travel are, therefore, the privileged tool to regenerate and establish new relationships.
- There is a tendency to think outside the box. Tourism is called upon to break out of its usual categories and classifications and to imagine unexpected combinations, new spaces and new ways of doing tourism.
- Duration will become increasingly important, the possibility of extending the life of products and people, or at least the memories and emotions linked to the vacation experience.
- A progressive ‘dematerialization’ of products is affecting various areas. This is a lightening of the physicality of things, in favour of the growth of symbolic value.
Tourism, the recovery in the responses of operators
So how should players in the travel and tourism industry respond to future trends and opportunities?
- Covid-19 has revolutionized travel and booking habits. These changes should therefore be reflected in the design of the offer, sales and communication approach, but also in revenue management strategies.
- The local market is a key segment, with different needs and expectations than other tourists.
- The shift to remote working and hybrid models requires configurations that allow business travellers to be operational during the day and relax during the evenings and weekends. Building technology infrastructure to meet these needs is high on the agenda.
- Studies show that a substantial share of customers expect their travel budgets to remain stable or even increase in the coming years. Operators can then focus on additional products and services, offering a better experience and increasing the average spend of each customer.
- Finally, the pandemic has left a great lesson, the need to show flexibility in every aspect of the offer.
Tourism, recovery generates confidence – the event
The importance for companies to be able to predict and respond quickly to new market needs was the focus of the event organized by our team “Regaining Confidence. Artificial intelligence and human experience to dominate the change” in which we discussed artificial intelligence in support of the world of travel, market scenarios and sociology of tourism. On Premoneo’s Youtube channel you can review the entire event which was attended by journalist and writer Beppe Severgnini, the leading global consulting firm in pricing solutions Simon-Kucher & Partners with Giovanni Lovat and our CEO Federico Quarato. The meeting was moderated by journalist Anna Chiara Spigarolo.