In celebration of National Travel Advisor Day, Sandals® Resorts partnered on a research study with the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) to examine travelers’ attitudes and behaviors ahead of the expected rush on summer travel.
The study, the first joint research project between Sandals Resorts and ASTA, provides key insights on travel advisor usage and explores destinations, trends, and travel preferences.
“Travelers are eager to make up for missed moments and get back to the fun of dreaming about and finally, taking their vacations. This research highlights the importance of trusted advice going hand in hand with trusted brands as part of their travel planning journey,” said Sandals Resorts Executive Vice President Global Sales & Industry Relationships Gary Sadler. “Expertise matters. We have long celebrated these pros whose guidance makes travel and traveling simply better, especially today.”
“Thanks to our partners at Sandals Resorts, this year we have good news to celebrate on National Travel Advisor Day,” said Zane Kerby, President & CEO of ASTA. “This research focuses on the changing landscape for travel with an eye towards helping advisors understand the importance of their role as advocates for their clients. The good news for travel advisors is that we’re seeing a strong increase in overall demand for travel and as a result – travelers are turning to the experts for advice.”
Use of Travel Advisors
• More than one-fourth of travelers (27%) always or often used a travel advisor prior to the pandemic.
- The more trips a traveler took in the past three years, the more likely he/she used a travel advisor. Among those who took six or more trips in the past three years, 39% always/often used a travel advisor compared to 12% who took one or two trips.
• After the pandemic is over, nearly half of travelers (44%) are more likely to use a travel advisor.
- Not surprisingly, nearly all travelers (94%) who always/often used a travel advisor before the pandemic are likely to use one after the pandemic. Among those who sometimes or rarely used a travel advisor pre-pandemic, 44% are likely to use one after the pandemic.
• People who always or often used a travel advisor are more ready to travel within the next three months (72%) compared to non-travel advisor users (47%).
• People who use a travel advisor are more likely to:
– Stay at an all-inclusive resort, 33% vs. 16%
– Go abroad as soon as they can, 35% vs 18% of non-travel advisor users.
– Take a cruise, 36% vs 10%
• 45% of people who always use a travel advisor rank quality time without kids as a top priority compared to 13% of non-travel advisor users.
• 70% of people who use a travel advisor rank ‘having a leisurely dinner’ as an important aspect of their next vacation compared to 51% of non-travel advisor users. When it comes to traveling with a significant other, travelers who use a travel advisor seem more inclined to focus on aspects of their trip that augment quality time and worry-free planning.
• 53% percent of travelers desire quiet time on the beach or by the pool.
• More than half of travelers are ready to travel now (29%) or within the next three months (25%). By the end of 2021, all but 19% of travelers will be ready to travel again.
– Among those who always/often used a travel advisor pre-pandemic, 72% will be ready to travel within three months.
– Among those who took six or more trips in the past three years, two-thirds (66%) will be ready to travel within 3 months.
Moving the needle with non-travel advisor users
• Complimentary room upgrade. 55% of people who never use a travel advisor rank a complimentary room upgrade as important. This is a potential area of opportunity for travel advisors who are marketing to new clients.
• Free breakfast anyone? 72% of people who never use a travel advisor rank ‘free breakfast’ as an important amenity on their next trip. This is another area of opportunity for travel advisors’ marketing efforts.
• Large percentages of travelers also desire for gratuities be included (48%), to enjoy personalized experiences (44%) or to receive complimentary fine dining (44%).
• Relationships and Trust: 55% of travelers who have never used a travel advisor are more likely to use one if it means they have access to the travel advisor’s special relationships and insider access. 51% of travelers who have never used a travel advisor are more likely to use one because the travel advisor puts the client’s interest above their own.
• The desirability of travel destinations has changed during the pandemic. Although nearly two-thirds of travelers (62%) desire going on vacation in the USA, nearly half (45%) would like to go to Europe, followed by 44% wishing to travel to the Caribbean.
– This is in stark contrast to a survey of travelers conducted by ASTA in January 2020 where 75% of travelers planned to take a trip within the USA and 17% had Europe on their itinerary.
– The 44% of travelers who want to take a trip to the Caribbean this year represent a 33% increase from January 2020.
• Desired traveler activities have also changed during the pandemic. The most desirable activities involve visiting historical places (53%), pristine beaches and sunsets (49%) or unique dining experiences (47%). Only 29% say they would like to visit a big city.
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