Flight Centre Travel Group recently surveyed its customers and is reporting a distinct shift in positive sentiment versus a similar survey conducted in November of 2020.
The most recent survey was conducted in June of 2021 and saw close to 2,000 people respond.
Among the key findings of the survey is that excitement towards travel is up significantly, confidence in travelling safely is directly correlated to the successful rollout of vaccines, and the vast majority of customers are definitely planning to travel in 2022.
Among the surprising trends the travel agency is noticing is that people are not waiting until the very last minute to book their trips despite frequent changes and varying travel restrictions worldwide.
More than one-third of travelers are booking 3 to 5 months in advance of their departure suggesting that concerns regarding sudden cancelations or changes is no longer a substantial deterrent.
- When asked how people are “feeling” right now about travel, those that are “excited” has seen a 254 per cent increase since November 2020, in which only 13 per cent of people at that time provided that response. Correspondingly, those “worried” about travel saw a reduction from 47 per cent in November to just 14.6 per cent last month.
- 67.2 per cent of those surveyed said that the progress of Canada’s vaccination program has made them more confident to travel. Given the survey was completed when only 10 per cent to 15 per cent of Canadians were fully vaccinated, consumer confidence is expected to grow as the vaccination program continues progress.
- 79 per cent of respondents say they will “definitely” or “probably” travel to countries accepting fully vaccinated travellers in the next 12 months.
- 38 per cent are planning to travel in the next 1-3 months, a sharp increase from the November 2020 survey results in which just 16 per cent of respondents felt the same.
- Overall, 85 per cent of customers expect to travel equal or more than they did in 2019 (i.e. pre-COVID)
- In terms of which destinations people plan to travel to first internationally, 68 per cent of respondents are planning to go to Mexico and the Caribbean with the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica seeing the most demand within the region. 42 per cent are planning to go to Europe.
- From a product standpoint, the return of cruise travel is definitive though not in short-term bookings. Specifically, May to September 2022 encompasses the largest share of future cruise bookings.
Michelle Suggett, VP of Retail Operations for Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada), doesn’t find the results surprising given what the agents on the ground are currently experiencing, “There has been significant demand in inquiry and bookings as more and more people get vaccinated. That, combined with more than a year and a half of restrictions and border closures, is now translating into bookings as consumer confidence lifts.”
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