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Published on Friday, April 17, 2020

Buying behaviour post pandemic

In light of the current situation around COVID-19, the travel industry is experiencing an unprecedented level of change - bookings are being postponed, customers require constant reassurance and there's still no certainty around when it will be possible to travel again. One thing is for sure - people will need a holiday when this is all over. In fact, there's every chance that we'll appreciate those gifts of exploration and adventure more than ever before. However the question is, how will the aftermath of the virus change attitudes towards travel and what impact will it have on the nature of future bookings? If Only product and distribution director, Gordon McCreadie, shares his thoughts:

"There's no doubt about it, the travel industry will continue to feel the impact COVID-19 for quite some time, particularly in terms of customers buying behaviour. Whilst it's impossible to say for sure how the situation will play out, I think certain patterns are more likely to emerge. Even when we are free to travel again, I do believe that holidaymakers will be more conscious of social distancing and steering away from the crowds to begin with. As a result, I imagine more exclusive locations, with fewer tourists, will likely become more popular - idyllic islands in the Maldives or boutique Caribbean resorts.

It's also fair to say that the COVID-19 travel restrictions have had a positive impact on nature, and I think this has prompted the public to think more about the environmental impact of their own travel habits. We have seen visibly less pollution and damage to natural surroundings, which has in turn resulted in more visible wildlife, so when the pandemic is over, I definitely think the sustainable travel trend will spike. I'd imagine we will see an increased popularity for eco resorts in particular, where guests can get involved in local preservation and connect with native wildlife.

In my opinion, budget and value for money will also become more important factors than ever before for consumers. We've seen endless reports on the news regarding the challenges the economy is facing in light of the pandemic, and the nation is undoubtedly keeping a closer eye on their cash. As a result, I think added extras, such as complimentary upgrades and discounted accommodation, will be a major draw for customers when booking future trips. I'm confident that all-inclusive bookings will also spike for that same reason, since they allow travellers to plan their holiday budget more stringently - we have certainly upped the number of all-inclusive offers we've been promoting in the last few weeks, and we've seen a really positive response.

I also think we may see a spike in last minute getaways come September / October time, as many customers may book closer to departure to try and secure a good deal. Plus, when booking closer to their departure date, customers may feel that the likelihood of their trip being cancelled is lower, since they'll have a clearer picture of the latest travel restrictions.

Whatever the outcome, however, I'm confident that as an industry, we'll pull together and come back stronger than ever before - I know I'm desperate to get on a plane again and chill under a warm sun with the family."


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  • Lack of travel Insurance cover

    One of the main criteria for the +55 age group will be the availability of comprehensive travel insurance. By comprehensive , one which will cover ALL eventualities. If this is not forthcoming there will be a distinct lack of bookings

    By barry keating, Friday, April 17, 2020

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