News Corp Australia has released its latest travel research results revealing the evolving perspectives of Australians when it comes to travel in 2020 and beyond.
The New Horizons 2.0 travel research was conducted amongst 1,262 Australians aged 18 years and over in September 2020 to understand how consumers are feeling about travelling as they learn to live with Covid-19.
As the world continues to change, this study follows on from the company’s New Horizons research in April 2020, which looked at how Australians were feeling about travelling as the pandemic unfolded.
New Horizons 2.0 is showing green shoots in the travel industry with intrastate travel intentions rising.
While there is still a way to go to full recovery, the further easing of restrictions in most states and territories (with the exception of South Australia this week) has seen a cautious optimism amongst Australians in their appetite to travel.
For many they have continued to dream, plan and book their next holiday.
News Corp Australia head of travel Dwayne Birtles said: “Travel has faced much upheaval in 2020 and while many challenges remain, it’s promising to see consumers planning holidays, versus the ‘someday’ dreaming we saw back in April.
“This new research shows some clear changes in consumer mindsets from April, overall they are feeling more optimistic about starting to plan and book their next getaway. This optimism is driven by a mix of pent up frustration in not being able to travel, and the gradual relaxing of border restrictions making broader travel more tangible.
“There’s no doubt that the news in South Australia this week will have an impact on travel bookings however there is still more optimism and action than back in April, as the outlook is more positive across the whole of Australia, in addition to the positive steps forward on the vaccine front.
“Key for marketers, we are seeing even more importance in having breadth of content to speak to each stage of the travel journey as consumers look for inspiration to keep holiday dreaming alive with intrastate, interstate and international destinations, as well as up to date information addressing Covid related measures, safety and practical information for the places travellers can go now.
“A bigger challenge now for marketers is that there’s wider ranging differences in consumer views and attitudes towards travel in a Covid period of travel. This means the nuances in customer messaging for certain segments needs to be more considered.”
Emerging Travel Themes Identified
• From dreaming to action Australians are ready to start travelling again, making the most of having their states to themselves (with the exception of Victoria).
• With state border openings in sight for many, holiday planning is in full swing, driven by mutual recovery, both individual and the economy. • Holidays are being booked with shorter lead times than before.
• Restrictions and concerns around safety have fuelled an increase in drive holidays and nature is the lead attraction.
• Consumers need reassurance to be able to travel with confidence – this need increases for those with a higher level of concern (e.g. states most affected by Covid-19).
• Consumers are actively seeking travel content and deals which continue to inspire and drive action.
Australians are ready to travel again with 52% of consumers saying they will travel within their own state for their next holiday. This represented a huge 13 percentage point increase in travelling intrastate compared to the April survey.
With travel becoming a closer reality, Australians are researching options more compared to April (12 percentage point increase to 31%) to keep them inspired, in addition to keeping an eye out for holiday offers (at 28%). This presents a considerable opportunity for travel clients to pair their deal with compelling content on travel.
There are still 17% of Australians who want their next trip to be international. The intent and desire to travel overseas is still there for a reasonable proportion of Australians.
The research shows Australians are feeling upbeat towards travel with two in five saying they can’t wait to start travelling again.
Furthermore, consumers are seeing the dual benefit of providing personal relaxation while also supporting the Australian economy (53%).
Lockdown has further fuelled Australians’ desire to spend time in nature on their next holiday.
Since April there’s been a further increase (8 percentage points) of consumers planning to see more of nature as the main attraction for travel.
Pair this with a lean towards cars being the main mode of transport (55%) and there’s a compelling product offering for travel businesses to promote to consumers.
There was a considerable reduction since April (17 percentage points) of people avoiding holiday bookings due to health concerns of catching coronavirus.
It is still the number two concern, however it clearly demonstrates that Australians are growing more comfortable with the reality of living with Covid-19 as time goes on.
The number one reason for not booking was waiting for more state borders to open with number three being waiting for international borders to open.
When it comes to concerns around booking future travel the most common are last minute border closures (60%) and getting stranded away from home (54%).
This illustrates that Australians have a huge desire to travel, however need more certainty on border restrictions from the government.
For more information on the New Horizons 2.0 travel research, advertisers can contact their News Corp Australia account manager.
Methodology: The New Horizons study was conducted across two waves. Wave one was conducted from the 27 to 30 April 2020 with 895 respondents.
Wave two was conducted from 25 to 30 September 2020 with 1,262 respondents. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative of Australians aged 18 years and over based on gender, age and state.