News Corp Australia has released findings from its News Travel Network Trend Forecast for July to December 2022, a rich insight into the 10.6 million Australian Travelers who engage with News Corp Australia’s brands every month.
Using the behavioral data from the News Travel Network audience, combined with a recent consumer survey of just over 1,000 people to understand sentiment, intent and motivating factors in booking both domestic and international travel, the biannual Trend Forecast is overlaid with global and domestic research and the Insights of the company’s senior travel Editors to predict the key consumer travel Trends that will shape the next six months.
Kicking off the event was Merrick Wattswho joked about what the last 12 months had held for each generation, before handing over to News Corp Australia’s managing director, food and travel Fiona Nilsson.
Nilsson gave an overview of the results, taking attendees through the consumer snapshot, saying that “with zero confidence in international travel dropping to 34% and significant gains in the higher brackets of confidence, the Outlook is bright.”
Nilsson then handed over to News Corp Australia’s editorial director – premium food & travel Kerrie McCallumwho introduced her trend – Cautious Independence – by saying that “the desire to travel is very much there, but there are so many new normals and ever-changing rules that Travelers are looking for a helping hand.”
CAUTIOUS INDEPENDENCE – Australian travel intenders may like DIY but they are looking for customer centric policies, and are seeking specific areas of guidance from travel experts. More than one third of travel intenders have booked all or parts of their next holiday, with many planning for their next two holidays and over 50 per cent of travel intenders are willing to pay more to ensure a safe and seamless getaway. However, 42 per cent of travel intenders plan to use a travel agent when they reach the booking stage of their holiday. This means travel agents can win customers based on the unique complexities of travel and specialized advice needed.
Jana Frawleycontent director, Escape took over from McCallum to introduce the next trend.
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE AUSTRALIA Intrastate travel is still the most popular form of planned holiday. Planning is centered on Shorter trips, and staying in accommodation that is comfortable and homely. This is seen in data showing half of travel intenders still plan on their next holiday being within their home state and intention to take a short, one to two night trip away within their home state has increased four times over the last six months. Providers should consider pre-planned itineraries for short stays that assist Travelers to fit a range of activities into their getaway and avoid flop and drop.
Following Frawley, News Corp’s head of video, News Travel Network, Jace Molan entered to speak about the third trend, Screen Fuelled Wanderlust.
“There’s no better type of content than video to showcase what an experience can really be like. It’s dynamic, engaging, and it opens up the dialogue between the Creator and the audience at home, ”Molan said.
SCREEN FUELED WANDERLUST – Primary motivation for travel is no longer a connection with family and friends. Seeking new experiences surpasses it with sightseeing the number one activity travel intenders plan on doing during their next holiday, plus a shift to 43 per cent wanting to visit somewhere new. Escape’s editorial team has identified that in the absence of visitors sharing photos and posts telling everyone how good a holiday was, reassurance and FOMO triggers are missing. In addition, video views have grown + 203% YoY across Escape social channels, with the appetite all about short form travel video, seeing over one million views in March alone. People are discovering new adventures and experiences through content, largely video accounts on every part of the experience, to create those missing emotional triggers.
The final trend, Loving Our Neighborswas introduced by Kirsten Galliotthead of content – travel & luxury, Medium Rare Content Agency.
LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS – Australians are planning trips closer to home while they regain their confidence in traveling to far-flung destinations. International intent is steadily growing and nearby locations mitigate concerns about cost and safety, with 49 per cent of Travelers planning to visit neighboring Pacific destinations in the next two years. New Zealand remains the top spot for destination intent and with particularly high propensity in affluent Travelers with HHI $ 150K +. This is a challenge to be solved for destinations further afield, to create the same sense of safety and simplicity, encouraging Travelers to change their mind by taking away risk.
After the four Trends, Merrick Watts returned to close out the event with a Q + A.
Along with the destination data and consumer Trends, four key Insights were identified to assist the travel industry with their planning:
• Millennials to shift intent and action – For international travel, millennials are the group with the most confidence at 48 per cent, while 37 per cent of those ‘not confident at all’ are Boomers
• Opportunity in gender confidence gap – 71 per cent of confident international travel intenders are male while only 29 per cent are female
• Keen Travelers – Those who have had Covid are keen to travel again with almost one in three having booked everything for their next holiday
• Traveling is about traveling again – Sightseeing is the number one activity travel intenders plan on doing during their next holiday, overtaking spending time with family and friends.
Nilsson also announced investment in The Australian’s Travel + Luxury digital offering. Having successfully launched last year, the Travel + Luxury brand has redefined the opportunity to engage an affluent audience. The Evolution of the Travel + Luxury digital strategy will see select content on The Australian’s Travel vertical opened up for a new intent-driven audience. Additional editorial resources have also been introduced to meet the demands of the fast-growing vertical.
A new Weekly Travel + Luxury The newsletter will be introduced along with an audience sharing strategy that utilizes the power and reach of the News Prestige Network, to create an unrivaled digital destination for luxury Travelers and partners Alike.