There are some notable takeouts from our behavioural data in the way that OutThere travellers will approach travel in 2021.
OutThere travellers are booking now
Overwhelmingly, OutThere travellers are ready to go. 88% of us have already travelled internationally since June 2020 (after the first wave of the pandemic) and 79% are ready to travel long haul. Even during uncertain times, we continue to research and book holidays for the future, with 91% of travellers actively looking for 2021 travel now, or doing so in the first quarter of the year.
OutThere travellers are planning their holidays for the end of the year
Because of the uncertainty around borders reopening and quarantine restrictions, this year’s holidays are being planned for the end of the year. However, there is a notable spike in interest for travel in May/June, consistent with, but higher than, last year’s data, indicating that there is confidence that we will be travelling again in Q2.
There is an appetite for spontaneity
While 38% of OutThere travellers will book our holidays over six months in advance in 2021, there is still a great level of spontaneity in the market, coupled with travellers waiting to ride-out the uncertainty and weigh up their options closer to the time. 31% have said that their booking window will be just weeks before departure.
OutThere travellers are turning to websites and print for travel inspiration
Last year, OutThere travellers had already made a significant move back to trusted websites and print mediums as our primary source of travel inspiration. This has been further compounded this year. Direct to inbox email communications has made a stride in popularity, but social media and event communications has suffered in comparison. (As a benchmark, in our 2018 survey, social media was the number one source of travel inspiration; and in our 2020 survey, events accounted for 10% share of mind).
Travel is a spending priority in 2021
79% of OutThere travellers have said travel budgets will remain unaffected, or will increase in 2021. From the 18% that are looking to spend more on travel in 2021, nearly half will up the budget by more than double, combining this year’s budget with residual 2020 funds left unspent.
Since March 2020, OutThere has seen an average monthly increase in site traffic in its travel inspiration pages of 128% year on year, demonstrating that even when restrictions are in place, there is a phenomenal appetite for luxury and experiential travel.
OutThere travellers are returning in our droves to the travel advisor
The way that OutThere travellers book holidays have been largely dependent on the type of holiday, but in 2020 we were already noticing an increase in the use of by-phone enquiries and bookings with travel advisors, in direct proportion to a decrease in bookings through online travel agents. This year, that trend compounds further, with most OutThere travellers (66%) turning away from online bookings.
On average, OutThere travellers will travel internationally less frequently than before
OutThere travellers are planning to take – all things being well – 3 international leisure trips, on average this year. This is a volume decrease from last year’s (and subsequent years’) average of 5 trips per year. However, OutThere travellers are looking to take two more domestic trips than they did in previous years.
OutThere travellers will spend longer in destination than before
The average duration of an OutThere holiday in 2021 will be between 7-10 nights, as compared to 5-7 nights last year. It seems that frequent-flying OutThere jet-setters are more likely to fly-less and stay-longer while on holiday in 2021.