New research is shedding light on Canadian consumers and the ways they might travel internationally following the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to recent data collected by marketing firm Development Counsellors International (DCI), Canadians will be open to more flight options (but closed to some accommodation options).
Also, the types of trips they will take won’t change much and income/age will inform how likely someone is to work with a travel advisor.
The report, entitled Capturing the Canadian Consumer: Insights into the Path to Purchase for Canadian Travellers, was released in October to better understand Canadians and their “path to purchase.”
The findings are based on a survey of more than 1,500 English and French-speaking Canadians.
The study explores the preferences of Canada’s consumers, holistically, and includes responses from those who have travelled internationally within the previous 18 months.
More than 500 responses are from households with incomes of more than $250,000.
Will travel be a priority?
The study offers insight into whether or not Canadians will consider cross-border travel a priority when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
According to the study, 50 per cent of responses say international travel will be a priority post-COVID compared to other major purchases.
49 per cent say that they are more likely to take more or longer leisure trips once they choose to travel again.
Additionally, 39 per cent say they are likely to spend more on international leisure trips once they choose to travel again compared to their average spend on trips pre-pandemic.
People’s willingness to travel after the pandemic will also be determined by certain conditions.
For instance, 70 per cent say they will only travel to a destination that is confirmed to be free of COVID-19 cases.
Furthermore, 65 per cent say they will not travel until a vaccine for COVID-19 has been developed.
Flights & accommodations
The study reports that Canadians are open to the idea of having more flight options, but will be less inclined to pursue certain accommodation options.
62 per cent of consumers say their first international post-pandemic vacation will be reached by flying; 60 per cent of international travellers say one connecting flight or transfer is acceptable; only 26 per cent report they will take only nonstop/direct flights to international destinations.
In terms of which type of accommodations appeal most to international vacationers once they begin travelling again: 39 per cent say a hotel or motel (resorts are second at 29 per cent); private home rentals (such as Airbnb) follows at 24 per cent.
What types of trips will Canadians take?
The types of trips Canadians will take haven’t changed, even with the lockdown, the study reports.
At 56 per cent, family vacations are the most popular type of international leisure vacation taken by Canadians (the decision to travel to bond with family is up 10 percent since the 2017 edition of the study).
Just as they did in 2017, beach and romantic-themed vacations round out the top three.
As was the case in 2017, the top-three activities of most interest on future vacations include beaches (63 per cent), historical sites (54 per cent) and outdoor recreation (46 per cent).
Who will use travel advisors?
The research says that income and age will inform how likely a Canadian consumer is to work with travel advisors.
Travellers under the age of 65 are significantly more likely to turn to family/friends and social media platforms for inspiration, the study says.
Those older than 65 are significantly more likely to use traditional sources, such as travel guidebooks (28 per cent) and travel agents (27 per cent). Those older than 65 are also more likely to book with a travel agent (33 per cent).
Those earning below CAN$200,000 annually are significantly more likely than affluent travellers to use online travel agents.
Affluent travellers, however, are significantly more likely than those earning less than CAN$200,000 annually to handle all the bookings themselves for their next trip, the study says.
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