22 Jan

The Package Holiday is Alive and Well

Expedia has carried out a research study in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics.  The study is called “Generations on the Move - A deep dive into multi-generational travel trends and how their habits will impact the future of the industry.”  It is a U.S. centric study, interviewing 1,000 adults age 18 to 65 but I do think that the results have global applicability.

Some of the findings just confirm what we probably already know.  There is a shift towards more experiential travel with the younger Generation Z leading the way.  Older and wealthier travellers have a higher proclivity to want to relax and unwind when holidaying.

Social media – opinions of friends and other influencers – does have a heavy bearing on the decision of where to go.  36% of Gen Z respondents chose a destination specifically because they saw postings about it on social media.

What I found particularly interesting is that the research showed 80% of respondents said it is helpful to be able to book all travel and accommodation (such as flights, rental cars, hotels) on one website.  This percentage rose to 87% for the youngest Gen Z respondents.  55% of travellers would consider, and 15% would definitely book an entire trip through an online travel agency without visiting any other websites. 

At first thought, you might find this surprising.  Why aren’t travellers self-packaging, picking products from different providers to put the very best combination together?  However, I think this reflects a wider consumer trend - people are placing convenience above obtaining ultimate best value. 

I have often remarked that easy is the new loyalty.  If your website or app is frictionless to use then consumers just won’t bother shopping elsewhere.  Companies such as Uber, Amazon, Trainline, Citymapper, Skyscanner are paranoid about making their app interfaces as intuitive and easy to use as possible.

If we turn to the world of online travel, we see the increasing application of data-driven artificial intelligence that is being used to personalise the display of product offerings to match consumers’ preferences.  OTAs that have invested heavily in this technology are able to offer a range of dynamically packaged holidays which are completely aligned with the consumer’s holiday inclinations.  Why would they bother wasting time shopping elsewhere? The convenience of the package holiday has not gone away but it has evolved.  Our customers continue to appreciate the convenience of the one-stop-shop to book an entire holiday but they increasingly expect us to use technology to offer just the holidays that they want.  It’s all about convenience.