A November 2020 survey from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) in the US looked at the travel plans of people going into 2021, aiming to identify what would lead the ‘travel recovery’. The results seemed to indicate that millennials and higher-income travellers are the groups most keen to resume travelling going into 2021. Key findings of the report include that:
- Millennials are likely to lead the international travel recovery, with 38 per cent of millennials indicating that they plan to travel internationally in 2021, while mature travellers (55+) prefer to travel domestically.
- Overall, the intention to buy travel insurance in 2021 is the highest recorded by the survey so far. Forty-five per cent of respondents plan to purchase travel insurance more frequently than they did in 2020, and millennials are once again the demographic leading this trend, with 51 per cent of them more likely to purchase travel insurance more frequently in 2021 than they did in 2020.
- Wealthy travellers are more likely to take a cruise or travel overseas in the next six months – those earning an income of over US$100K or higher are more likely to travel sooner, the survey reveals.
A pent-up desire for solo travel
Elsewhere, a survey from Solo Traveler based in the US, published in collaboration with Overseas Adventure Travel, asked 2,915 respondents to share their thoughts regarding solo travel and the coronavirus. Among the key findings were that:
- Quarantine was the biggest barrier to travel. More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of solo travellers are willing to travel internationally as long as they do not need to quarantine at their destination. In addition, 61 per cent will only travel once a vaccine becomes available.
- Travel incentives are changing. Forty-six per cent of those asked said that when they do travel again, they will travel more often; 25 per cent will take longer trips; and 16 per cent will opt for greater luxury.
- Money is not a key driver for travel. Seventy-one per cent of respondents overall reported that the pandemic has had no impact on their financial ability to travel, and 14 per cent noted they now have more money.
- Europe and the UK are among favoured destinations (among 40 per cent of people). The survey also revealed that 40 per cent of travellers plan to travel more consciously and sustainably, and that 26 per cent plan to take more road trips.
Women are a large demographic of prospective solo travellers
“The response to this year's survey was overwhelming,” commented Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler. “We received more than double the responses compared to previous years, with 80 per cent of the respondents being women. This demonstrates a huge pent-up desire for travel.”
Also commenting on the survey findings was Brian FitzGerald, CEO and president of Overseas Adventure Travel: “Solo travellers are by nature independent and bold, and that's reflected in their need to get back out into the world.” He added that it was clear from the findings that solo travellers don’t simply want to see the world, they want to shape it too.
Whether it’s women, millennials, solo travellers or even business travellers that account for a considerable percentage of those travelling internationally in 2021, the travel trade will be glad of it. But travel insurers should pay close attention to the incentives of each of these travelling demographics, as these will be key to shaping and creating products that inspire these travellers to get out and about.
In early November, UnitedHealthcare Global and the Worldwide Broker Network released their market trends survey for 2020, which identified what travel insurance and assistance solutions clients and their members are keen to see going forward.