Navigating post-pandemic travel behaviours
By Beth Powell - November 2020 - 5 minute read
Even as countries begin to slowly re-open borders, the impact of the pandemic could change how we travel in the long-term. Data specialists Go Inspire Insight have identified seven travel behavioural profiles from five million UK customers which could help agents boost sales.
Aside from some unpredictability of holiday destination choices – perhaps opting for more remote locations over city destinations for example – Habitual Holidaymakers have not changed their travel behaviours significantly.
Compared with other profile groups, these customers have not seen their budgets dramatically impacted due to the pandemic nor does their demographic feel overly preoccupied with safety concerns.
Given their continued custom and that that this group typically represents a fifth of all business, it is vital that marketers hang on to this cluster through reward systems.
This means sticking to previous effective strategies while also enhancing the offering through some form of ‘thank you’. While they may seem to be the most reliable market segment at this time, their behaviour must nonetheless be continuously monitored, as with all clusters, and strategies adapted should they start moving in other directions.
Newly nervous customers differ slightly from Habitual Holidaymakers in that they are spending less than previously, although continuing to spend.
Typically, this customer segment is taking greater precautions and has adapted its choice of holiday destination accordingly. This usually means shorter haul flights or domestic destinations.
If not incentivised through existing offers as well as alternative packages, these small changes in travel behaviour could have a noticeable impact on revenues. The best way to create offers for this profile group is through a regular monitoring of Single Customer Views (SCV), to identify which alternative products are proving attractive.
Summer sabbaticals have taken an indefinite break from spending on travel. Businesses in the travel industry will need to dig deeper through surveys and other data collection methods to better understand the frame of mind of these customers. Crucially, it will be important to find out if these customers are simply feeling temporarily wary or permanently dissuaded.
With Summer Sabbaticals potentially accounting for nearly 50% of revenue, putting in the work to learn about their spending mood is highly advisable.
While summer sabbaticals can eventually be tempted back to previous levels of spending, temporary tourists have a low retention potential.
These one-hit-wonders are unlikely to produce a return on effort and spend, so sticking to low investment communications and offers is the best course of action. For instance, early booking offers shortly after their return from holiday is a good way to encourage repurchasing without over-investing.
New five-star friends
On the other hand, new five-star friends are a relatively high-spend customer segment worth additional effort and spend.
They may be chance spenders, but their potential is high. Investing in loyalty programmes, ongoing communications, and incentivisation is advised for this group of travellers, otherwise they may default to their habitual experience next year.
Similarly, using satisfaction surveys will help businesses keep this new customer group happy and may even help in actively seeking lookalikes to recruit.
Expected excursionists demonstrate pre-pandemic travel tendencies but have no previous purchasing history. Previous strategies can therefore be deployed for this particular group, while integrating the lessons learnt from the other new profiles to unlock extra potential.
Finally, Go Inspire Insight identified Reunionists as re-activated customers who had gone missing prior to the pandemic but who have resurfaced during the lockdown in search of a familiar holiday experience.
This could be empty-nesters returning to a travel spot that evokes past family holidays, for example. However, their loyalty is not guaranteed so we recommend rewarding them for incremental spend to make a fuss of their return and retain their spending.