As we pass the 12-month mark in the global pandemic, we can see how vaccination programmes can start to turn the tide on Covid-19. People are starting to consider how and when they may be able to get away this summer, and for many it presents an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends after so long apart. Searches on the eDreams ODIGEO brands show that people are keen to start traveling again when restrictions lift. In the UK searches jumped up for the month of July by 119% following recent indications that travel will restart. But to capture post-pandemic consumers it is vital to understand priorities.
The pandemic accelerated a shift to e-commerce that was already underway. Consumers across all age ranges are increasingly going online to purchase goods and services. According to the Office for National Statistics, a third of all retail sales in the UK are happening online, an 81% year on year increase. This trend to online is being replicated across the world, with 21.3% of total retail sales in the US taking place online, a 44% year-on-year increase and the highest annual growth in online retail sales in two decades. Technology enables us to live more convenient lives, with access to information at our fingertips and the ability to order goods and services instantly from our phones – over half our flight bookings (58%) are now made via mobile devices.
Consumers are looking for simplicity, convenience, and assurance. After a year of disruption, traveler priorities have shifted and attention is being paid to flexible booking policies, Covid-19 insurance cover and hygiene scores. Being able to compare providers, see who provides these services and assess them alongside price and route options is going to be key in travel, with 59% of travelers worldwide valuing having a wider choice of airline and accommodation providers to book with then previously.
Despite having more time to dream of a holiday destination, consumers are looking to spend time wisely and are not interested in spending hours researching travel, aligning flight times, or finding the best value. But at the same time consumers are looking to secure deals and find convenient routes, with 80% of consumers booking holidays with an online travel agent when they found a cheaper or more convenient option. A holiday starts with the journey, making sure that this is convenient, whether it is departing from the nearest airport, minimising layovers or time at layovers are all part of the experience.
Technology has a huge role to play in post-pandemic travel from digital passports or ‘green cards’ being used for travelers to prove they are vaccinated or have a negative test, through to the introduction of increased automation to minimise time in airports and streamline the travel experience. Providing a service that gives consumers more convenience has been at the forefront of eDreams ODIGEO’s tech innovation in recent years, and we can clearly see how vital this investment is for catering to the post-Covid consumer.