American Express’ (Amex) Global Travel Trends Report, which surveyed travellers from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, the UK and the US about their travel plans, revealed that travel is one of life’s key pleasures that has kept them going throughout the global pandemic, and many are pinning their hopes on future travel to get them through the months ahead.
Leisure travellers want more flexibility
Seventy-eight percent of Amex respondents said that they wanted to travel in 2021 in order to relieve stresses from 2020, and 87 per cent of people said that having a trip planned in the future gives them something to look forward to.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that people are increasingly looking for flexible trip booking options – 56 per cent of survey respondents said that they miss traveling so much that they are willing to book a trip even if they might have to cancel it in the future – if that’s not a straight up nod to a demand for cancel for any reason (CFAR) policies, I don’t know what is.
In addition, the rise of the luxury travel market has only been fuelled by stringent health and safety requirements in Covid times. People have high standards for cleanliness (81 per cent) and also want more privacy – 80 per cent indicate they are willing to travel to destinations during the off-season so that it's less crowded, with a preference for unique, personalised trips.
That’s right – it might be that previous tourist hotspots have lost some of their lustre for post-pandemic travellers. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents are interested in visiting lesser-known destinations (such as Porto over Lisbon in Portugal, and Wellington over Auckland in New Zealand), a trend which is supported by American Express Travel booking data.
Globally mobile workers want the freedom to travel
Here’s one for the IPMI providers, and the businesses they support, Amex’s study also highlighted that we are witnessing the ‘rise of the digital nomad’ – someone who lives and works while travelling the globe. It seems lockdowns have left many people with itchy feet; 54 per cent of people are keener to live and work while travelling compared to pre-pandemic times, highlighting a need for businesses to increasingly include overseas working options in their employment offerings. And this is something that directly impacts the IPMI market, which should adapt to support this with enhanced overseas medical and travel assistance cover options.
Bookings surge as destinations begin to open up
This data may come as bittersweet news to some (as one-third of global destinations remain closed to international travel), but have some heart: over in the UK, where travel is still not permitted until 17 May at the earliest, there has been a surge in holiday bookings to the likes of Greece and Cyprus, which have announced plans to open to tourists.
Tour operators have reported a ‘noticeable increase’ in bookings to both countries from July 2021, according to Travel Insurance Explained. With travellers quick to book ahead of lockdown lifting, its prime time to start promoting those travel insurance products to help consumers protect their scheduled trips.