TORONTO — The travel industry is seeing a resurgence of the travel agent, says American Express Travel’s President Audrey Hendley, who has identified six new travel trends to come out of the pandemic.
Shaped by new survey data, these trends, says Hendley, will help guide travel professionals in their return-to-travel and recovery plans.
Here are Hendley’s Top 6 Emerging Travel Trends:
- The Resurgence of the Travel Agent: As consumers look to find their next vacation spot, they are seeking out travel advisors to help them navigate through the complex travel environment. Even the most seasoned travellers are looking for a second opinion when booking travel right now and are looking to speak directly to someone that they can trust. New Amex Trendex survey data even found 36% of Millennials say they are more likely to call their travel provider due to the pandemic.
- Desire To Travel Big, Shop Small: Travellers want to learn and provide a positive experience to the places they travel to and are looking for guidance from travel brands on how to support and engage with small businesses while travelling. In fact, Amex Trendex survey data found that 83% of consumers surveyed agree they always shop and eat at small businesses while travelling to support the local economy, and 82% say they look for destinations where they can immerse themselves in the local culture.
- New Currency Emerging: Consumers are looking for new ways of spending on their trips with credits and vouchers, such as eCredits and travel vouchers, which has become recently accessible on com. Here, consumers can easily see what credits they have and when they expire directly on the Amex Travel homepage. In fact, the 4 top biggest U.S. airlines (American, United, Delta and Southwest) had US$10 billion in unused travel credits on their books at the end of 2020, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Shift towards sustainability and responsible tourism: The consumer mindset has changed — they are being more purposeful about their purchase decisions, especially when it comes to travel. Amex Trendex research shows 50% of travellers say they have become more interested in responsible tourism and 87% want to have a positive impact on the community they are visiting
- Growing Opportunity For Brands To Engage: New Amex Trendex found that 2 in 5 consumers say they are not receiving enough information about the social and environmental impact of their travel. As such, there is a strong opportunity for brands to directly engage with their customers and educate them. American Express Travel also found that consumers are willing to pay more to use travel and lifestyle brands that demonstrate environmental responsibility or to offset their carbon footprint, and they are looking to travel brands to highlight the positive impact that they are making while travelling.
- Flexibility is Key: With the future of travel uncertain because of fluctuating travel restrictions, it is important to have a plan A, B and C and be willing to pivot as needed.