Recalibrate to triumph in the Age of Traveller Power

Angel Gallego

President, Amadeus Asia Pacific

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In 1952 the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) started flying passengers from London to Johannesburg aboard shiny de Havilland Comets and a new age of commercial aviation was born. Defined by luxury, passenger convenience and comfort, we remember this fondly as the Golden Age of Travel.

The Age of Traveller Power

Then came the 1970s, a period of rampant industry deregulation that led to intense competition, fare-cutting, affordable ‘class’ options and low-cost airlines. With the doors of air travel thrown wide open to the masses, air travel became commonplace, but for most people, also meant cramped seats, long security lines and tired cabin crew. This heralded the second age from the 1980s, the Age of Mass Travel.

Today, we have entered a new age – where more people are travelling than ever before, travelling further with more specific reasons and with new channels to express their aspirations. With a smart device in nearly every hand, the traveller is well-informed and demands better service throughout the entire travel lifecycle.

Welcome to the Age of Traveller Power

In this age and beyond, travel providers need to see the traveller as more than a set of demographics, and truly understand their wants, values and behaviours. More than ever they need to adapt their approach to appeal to different traveller ‘tribes’ who are searching for unique and personal travel experiences. Travel agents, airlines, hotels and even airports now need to embrace and adopt technology faster than ever before to survive and thrive.

And the power is shifting toward the Asia Pacific traveller. By 2023 APAC will overtake Europe in terms of travel spend and by 2030 almost half (49%) of all global passenger traffic is expected to be within or to/from APAC. This is a huge and exciting opportunity. How can we ride this wave? How can we get a better understanding of the “new” traveller?

Amadeus is leading the way towards a better understanding of the traveller, today and in the future.

In our Travel Lounge video series we spoke with real travellers in APAC and filmed their unscripted and uncensored thoughts on travel.

We also published the Future Traveller Tribes 2030 white paper which identifies the different ‘tribes’ or traveller segments that will shape the future of travel through to the end of the next decade. Reflecting the fact that consumers are increasingly resisting brand efforts to silo them into demographic groups, we chose to explore how and why people travel from a behavioural perspective.

These “traveller tribes” range from travellers who may select destinations based on Instagram opportunities (“Social Capital Seekers”), to those who are looking for low-hassle, efficient booking options and are open to intelligent cross-selling (“Obligation Meeters”).

The call to action is clear: The travel industry must recalibrate to adjust to this new reality. We need a mind-set shift on how we view customers and must strike a balance between technology and human touch to match the real, emotional needs of distinct “traveller tribes”. The winners in 2030 will be those travel companies able to tailor offers for customers based on an understanding of what drives their behaviour.

From our position sitting across the entire travel ecosystem, Amadeus will continue to drive the industry forward by working with customers and partners to deliver technology that creates an increasingly personalised, connected and sustainable travel experience.

There is a sense of urgency to act now. We are ready for Age of Traveller Power. Are you?


Asia Pacific, Research