Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Travel trends of the future: more sustainable travel, emphasis on safety and better value

Travel trendsIt’s been 10 months since the Covid-19 outbreak hit the world with a jolt, drastically and irrevocably changing the face of travel and tourism. The effects of the pandemic have been particularly detrimental on the travel and aviation industry, as flights got grounded and borders were shut.

Although things seem to be looking up with the establishment of green lanes for business and official travelling and the announcement of air travel bubbles being put in place, there is consensus that the road to recovery will be slow and long.

According to a recent study done by online travel agency Booking.com, Singapore travellers in the post-Covid era are still keen on travelling, but are searching for more meaningful, experiential travel. Hygiene processes are also crucial. “Trust will be a very important word in consumers’ minds, (as well as) how operators provide experiences that have a certain level of safety and hygiene standards. These will create some ease as they travel,” says Nuno Guerreiro, the regional director for South Asia, Oceania and Chains at Booking.com.

Booking.com’s predictions were the result of a survey conducted in July 2020. There were 20,934 respondents across 28 countries, out of which 496 were from Singapore. These are the trends they found.

1. Safety first

With some countries still battling the pandemic, it’s no surprise that 82% of Singapore travellers say they will take more precautions when travelling in the future. Slightly less than two-thirds of Singapore respondents say they will avoid certain destinations, and 73% will only book a particular accommodation if it’s clear what health and hygiene policies it has in place, with three quarters favouring accommodations that have antibacterial and sanitising products. While more than two-thirds say they will accept health spot checks and wearing a mask in public, only 30% are willing to travel if there are quarantine measures in place. Furthermore, 55% of Singapore respondents say they won’t be comfortable travelling until an effective coronavirus vaccine or treatment is in place.

travel trends booking.com
Grindelwald, Switzerland. Singapore travellers say they want to travel more to make up for 2020

2. Pent-up demand

The good news is, people’s desire to explore and see the world have not been dampened; in fact, many are eager to start travelling again. Two-thirds of Singapore respondents say they are excited about travelling again and more than half say they have a desire to see even more of the world. Three-quarters add that they are especially appreciative of travel and wouldn’t take it for granted in future. Interestingly, Singapore and Hong Kong are amongst the top countries in Asia Pacific with the most respondents who plan to travel more in the future to make up for lost time in 2020. Booking.com says this is because both aviation hubs have always been reliant on international travel, given their small size.

3. More value

Going forward, Singapore travellers are looking to get more bang out of their buck, with 70% of respondents saying they will be more price conscious when planning a trip, and 59% saying they are likely to hunt down promotions and deals. However, transparency still remains of utmost importance, with three-quarters saying they are looking for greater flexibility and clearer cancellation policies and refund processes. Slightly more than half of the respondents say refundable accommodation is a must-have and 42% would like to be able to change dates without being charged.

travel trends booking.com
Travellers are more conscious about their impact on the environment and local communities

4. Eco-conscious mindset

Nearly half of Singapore travellers say they want to travel more sustainably in the future, and 73% expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options, such as off-season travel packages and alternative destinations to avoid overcrowding. However, most Southeast Asia respondents – including those from Singapore – say they are still less willing to pay for carbon offsetting or avoid a destination because travelling there would be environmentally taxing.

5. Close to nature

Instead of going for popular tourist attractions, Singapore travellers show a greater interest in adventures that are more intimate, stripped back and simple – experiences that allow them to enjoy the great outdoors more. Over two-thirds say they will appreciate more simple experiences such as spending time outdoors or with the family while on vacation.

Photos courtesy of Booking.com

SEE ALSO: Opinion: How has Covid-19 changed our relationship and engagement with museums?

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