In a sign that travel may be returning to pre-pandemic
trends, a new report from Expedia Group Media Solutions says traditional factors
such as cost and convenience are gaining as factors in the purchase of air travel.
The company’s first
quarterly trend report includes data and insights from custom research along
with Expedia Group travel intent and demand data.
The report says starting in March 2020, as the pandemic became
an issue around the globe, there was a steep spike in the percentage of guests mentioning
cleanliness in their reviews – with about one-third of all reviews mentioning
it compared to about 10% pre-pandemic. And Expedia Group research finds that trend
continues with 80% of travelers still expecting to make accommodation decisions
based on the status of pandemic measures.
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But the report says there is starting to be a shift in
consumer priorities based on air travel searches.
Looking at topics searched for when booking flights from the
last 12 months, the aggregated annual data shows health and hygiene keywords
such as “overall safety,” “cleanliness” and “crowding” are three of the top
five. But looking at the same search data for the first quarter of 2021, those
topics dropped out of the top five and have been replaced with considerations
such as “cost,” “airline ticket price” and “flight change.”
States the report: “As consumer confidence continues to
grow, there are signs that more traditional decision-making drivers such as
cost and convenience are beginning to reassert themselves. ... Flights are often
the first element booked and a good indicator of how people are thinking and
feeling about travel.”