A global survey of travel agencies, tour operators, wholesalers and GSAs has found that Australian travellers were the most dominant market of six regions polled to cancel pre-booked travel outright rather than suspending their arrangements.
The latest Travel Consul study reveals the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and the future recovery of global travel distribution. Over 1,000 travel executives from 20 countries took part in the latest of two surveys conducted by the international travel marketing alliance. More than half of those surveyed were retail travel agencies.
Nearly one-third (32%) of respondents said their country’s border remains closed to travel internationally, while the bulk said their country had opened cautiously, however, the “epidemic was on the rise”.
The poll determined that introducing health and safety certifications was the most important action that destination marketing organisations can do to help travel distribution partners. The next top three answers included marketing campaigns for consumers, presenting useful/timely data and info hub for trade partners.
Uncertainty dominates decision making
Among the findings, Travel Consul found nearly half (48%) of clients are in limbo on deciding on future international travel plans. Whereas 21% are bookings inside one month, 10% inside one to three months, 8% at four to six months and 13% at seven months to one year.
Australian travellers were the most reluctant to book future travel, with nearly three-quarters of clients waiting to decide, 11 percentage points more than the Middle East market.
Interestingly, more Australians were likely to book travel inside one month, rather than waiting for one to three months where the figure is only a few percentage points.
Travel Consul also identified that around 75% of Australian respondents’ clients had cancelled their travel – the only market of those polled that prioritised cancelling ahead of postponing. Just above 60% of Australians chose to postpone, according to the data.
The next closet market to cancel outright was Europe, where 55% of bookings were axed, but a tad over 70% had delayed travel. In Asia, slightly over 50% were cancelling compared to more than 60% postponing, while there were even fewer cancellations in the Middle East, but a greater percentage delaying.
South America and North America clients were far more likely to have postponed their travel, rather than scrap it altogether.
The most favoured products for global travellers was solo travel (66%), followed closely by hotels and resort (64%), then all-inclusive resorts (60%), self-catering rental accommodation (57%), small groups (eight to 15 people) (54%) and fly-drives (54%).
Other finds highlight the top three measures companies have implemented during the crisis, the most popular channel of communication between respondents and clients, along with the perception of the travel season changing.
Access Travel Consul’s Global Travel Distribution – COVID-19 Impact paper here.