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We all know the feeling – the sense of being behind schedule, lacking time to plan while juggling all the elements of traveling including pre-trip stress, excitement, and fear of delays. But also there’s worrying about what to do, where to go and how to get all your destination services in order - from hailing a ride from the airport, to picking that one unmissable city tour before a connecting flight or booking a table at the best local eatery.
These services can often be booked in the last minute, or even once at the destination, creating a focal point of stress.
My family and I recently moved from Belgium to the US, and consequently I do a fair bit of bleisure traveling; when I go back to Europe for meetings and events, I always stay some extra time allowing me to catch up with family and friends. And a lot of travelers are now opting for this travel mode - as part of our recent Destination X research we surveyed over 1000 travelers on their needs and habits on ancillary destination services, of which over a third said they travel this way regularly. Personally, combining business with leisure allows me to better take advantage of my trips but it also adds extra time pressure and careful coordination that I have to stay on top of while being on the road.
Bleisure or not, stress and lack of time to properly plan travel are common pain points. Actually, 50% of travelers in our survey feel most stressed on the day of departure, while 24% said they lack time to plan their activities in-destination. On top of this, the unknown factor of what, where and how to book these kinds of services is only compounding the pressure. Travelers also feel frustrated and underserved due to the lack of easy access to reliable services, or a single point of contact to access them. In fact, the main frustration of more than a quarter of surveyed travelers was not having a single app to discover and book destination services.
The research also allowed us to identify business versus leisure traveler needs. Interestingly they are quite similar but their priorities are different: almost 34% of business travelers say they don’t book any destination services as opposed to only 14 % of leisure travelers while 34 % of leisure travelers book three destination services or more, with only 10% of business travelers saying the same. Clearly, there’s an interesting gap here to consider and work towards convincing non-booking business travelers into booking more destination services.
“We used to work with suppliers that cut off bookings 24 hours before and that was good enough, but because of mobile we’re now working with suppliers that can make bookings one or two hours prior to fulfilling the booking, so this is changing the way we interact with clients, as well as the product we offer.”
Alex Rogers, Head of Partnerships, Holiday Taxis
What can travel managers, travel sellers and destination service providers do to relieve traveler stress and frustration, and serve them better? Mobile technology and AI are important tools to begin decoding traveler needs – what are travelers doing and when and how are they doing it? Digging deeper into this behavior can reveal their real needs allowing travel players to establish better relationships with their customers. Essentially, offering the traveler what they need before they know they even need it is key to eliminate the post-booking, pre-destination anxiety.
To find out more about our findings and recommendations on how to best help travelers in Destination X, visit amadeus.com/DestinationX , where you can download our insight paper, view our infographic and the 8 key trends extracted from our research.