Aito members are about to benefit from the “hibernation of demand”, according to new research.
Nearly half of the 28,500 responses to the latest Aito Insights Survey Findings said they were preparing to book. A quarter said the pandemic had got “in the way” of travel plans, with another 21% saying they were still planning.
“We see that as the hibernation of demand,” said Roy Barker of Spike Insight, which took data from 44 Aito companies. The bulk of responses – almost 18,000, were collated in February, with another 8,000 in January and the remainder in March. Of these, 72% said they were likely to book in the next 12 months if restrictions allow.
Among potential bookers, 60% said they would book with a specialist travel company, and around 26% with an online agent, but fewer than 20% “with a travel agent”.
Almost 83% said they thought their financial situation would stay the same or improve in the next 12 months and 82% said they considered holidays a necessity.
Being vaccinated was top of the list of concerns, followed by low infection rates in countries that clients wished to visit. Having Covid-valid insurance and no quarantine worries were next on the list. Clear Covid protocols were also required, as was more knowledge of what the whole experience will be like in-destination.
Spike Insight urged Aito member to focus on “innovators” – those who would be first back into the market.
“Innovators will drive growth in the short term,” said Barker. These, he said, tended to be in the 50-59 age group and were a vaccination priority. Almost 60% wanted to travel long-haul.
“They are pretty much off the scale in terms of how much their holidays matter to them. To us it says Aito is sitting on a mountain of value.”
He said Aito’s travel restart should revolve around “customers you already know” and urged an email, rather than “pay per click” marketing campaign.