Flywire, a high-growth vertical payments company, has today announced new research that shows strong consumer demand for travel post coronavirus crisis. The report Bouncing Back: Consumer Views on Traveling Again reveals that U.K. consumers are eager to go on holiday to “calm the soul”, with one in five expecting to spend more on travel than last year once lockdown restrictions ease.
Few industries have been hurt by the coronavirus crisis as much as travel. Worldwide GDP loss could be as much as $2.7 trillion in 2020 according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. Industry leaders like Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic have suggested the airline sector alone may need ‘two or three years’ to recover. The impact is being felt at every level of the industry—from the largest online travel agencies to individual tour operators and the local ecosystems that support them.
Despite a bleak financial outlook, travelers are optimistic about the industry, according to the research. This suggests a resurgence of the industry when travel options return; 92% of respondents are confident the industry will still be here after the pandemic is over and 78% plan to travel again when it does. For 70%, just thinking of traveling again while they are self-isolating is keeping them going.
Key findings include:
- Travel industry doing “great job”: Coronavirus has affected travel plans with seven in ten U.K. travellers having to cancel or change plans. Despite the upheaval, four in five say the travel industry is doing a ‘great job’ of helping people during this crisis. Conversely, over nine in ten (93%) say the industry should have more flexibility when it comes to cancelling or rebooking.
- British travellers ready and waiting to spend: Nearly four in five (78%) of travellers say they want to travel as soon as possible when lockdown lifts. Once able to travel, the top destination for U.K. travellers is a beach (42%) and this is likely to be within the UK (46%). Three in five (61%) U.K. travellers said they will spend the same on future holidays this year and next year as they did in 2019. And one in five (21%) say they will increase travel spend on future trips.
- Benefit for mental health: Almost four in five (78%) U.K. travellers say travelling is a way to ‘calm the soul’, while nearly one-third (32%) feel sad or depressed, and one-quarter (24%) feel anxious when unable to travel.
- Payments experience impacts choice: 79% said having an easy payment process was important or very important in the travel experience. More crucially, an easy payment experience impacts the choice of travel provider for 59% of consumers. Group travel is the worst experience with one in ten (12%) saying the payment process for a group trip was hard.
“The economic loss combined with the lack of clear guidelines as to when consumers can travel freely again puts a lot of stress both on travel providers and the consumers they serve,” said Colin Smyth, Senior Director of Travel & Commercial segments at Flywire. “In times like these, people crave a break from their normal routine; they are looking for new challenges and action-packed adventures. These are experiences uniquely offered through travel.”
“The travel industry has bounced back very well from previous crises and our research indicates it will do so again. Not only do consumers plan to travel and spend like last year but many of them plan to spend more. In addition, travelling is seen as more than a luxury, but rather a means to achieve better mental health in a post-pandemic world,” concluded Smyth.
The full report titled: Bouncing Back: Consumer Views on Traveling Again can be found here.