Australians are retaining their strong sense of wanderlust and are willing to look through present travel restrictions, according to an extensive study of the nation’s travel consumer released on Monday by News Corp Australia.
Announced at the company’s Future of Travel Forum held in Sydney, the landmark ‘Emotional Connection Series – Travel’ provided a blueprint for marketers to help engage the diversity of Australian travel consumers to maximise success as travel restrictions ease.
The study, undertaken in partnership with strategic research agencies The Lab and Nature, focused on consumers’ emotions and how tapping into them can benefit marketers.
News Corp Australia’s managing director, food and travel, Fiona Nilsson noted that the statistics showed that an upturn for the travel industry was close to reality.
“With this study we found that the bulk (58 per cent) of Australians are just a nudge away from diving back into travel, representing a huge opportunity [for brands] to trigger their re-entry into the category with the appropriate strategy.
“We can confirm underlying demand remains strong but many consumers are understandably cautious and even reluctant to pack their bags, making it critical for brands to deliver bespoke messaging strategies to compel Australians back into action,” Nilsson said.
News Corp Australia’s head of travel, Dwayne Birtles said the study was designed to ensure the industry kept abreast of the latest in consumer emotions, attitudes, beliefs, intentions and expectations.
“A key challenge confronting today’s travel marketers is getting the narrative right to encourage consumers to engage with them, and importantly to feel protected considering there’s more uncertainty in travel than ever before.
“This work will better equip travel businesses to truly connect with their customers in a more meaningful way,” Birtles said.
Guest speakers at News Corp Australia’s Future of Travel Forum included, the Hon. Dan Tehan, minister for trade, tourism and investment; and Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas group.
News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller spoke first to introduce the speakers of the day, and discussed the importance domestic tourism has on the economy and how the tourism industry is shifting its focus from international to domestic tourism post-COVID-19.
Miller said: “A thriving travel and tourism sector means a thriving economy. For me the numbers are fairly straight forward. The tourism sector provides almost $61 billion annually to the nation’s GDP, and on top of every dollar spent 82 cents more is generated for other economic sectors.”
Tehan, meanwhile, addressed how Australia’s pandemic response has set us apart from the rest of the world, stressing that his priority was to give Australians the “confidence to fly and travel again” and pivot their focus on travelling domestically.
“Make sure you holiday here this year. Not only holiday here, but make sure that you spend like you’ve never spent before.”
During a Q+A conducted by the editor of The Australian, Michelle Gunn, the minister was probed about whether he thought the vaccine rollout was happening fast enough, with Tehan responding: “The first million doses in Australia took 47 days to rollout. The last million doses rolled out in the last 13 days.
“My hope is that we have all Australians vaccinated by the end of the year.”
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce supported this idea and shared that Jetstar will be flying six of its 787s that were traditionally used to fly from Australia to Bali, to places like Cairns, Perth and Darwin.
“Qantas will be using its flagship of its fleet, the 787s to fly from Perth to Sydney, moving six of our Jetstar aircrafts from Japan back into Australia to support more domestic travel.
“We now fly to Kangaroo island, as one of the many new flight paths. In fact, Qantas has started 45 new domestic routes in the last six months. More new routes than we’ve done in our entire history.”
As for international travel, Joyce stressed the importance of receiving the vaccine in order to fly ,with 90% of Qantas frequent flyer customers believing everyone on their flight should be vaccinated before travelling overseas.
“Our vaccine is our passport for international travel. We are offering our customers discounts and rewards for travellers who have had the vaccination,” Joyce said.
Following on from the Q+A was a panel discussion featuring Margy Osmond, CEO of the tourism & transport forum Australia; Norm Black, co-founder of TripADeal; and Karen Deveson, managing director of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold who spoke about the new travel trends post-pandemic.
“We are seeing less people wanting to travel in big groups on cramped tour buses and smaller group travel as a big trend post-pandemic,” Black said.
News Corp’s managing director of national sales, Lou Barrett, who closed the event said: “International travel will be a staggered process, but I’m optimistic of the future of travel for Australians.”