Travellers from four countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt were surveyed, with those having flown in the past 24 months saying they would spend 24 per cent more with the introduction of the passport.
The comprehensive survey by Sabre aimed to uncover the opportunities and challenges faced by travellers in Africa at present, to help airlines' growth and provide African travellers an overall better journey.
“Airlines, globally, currently pocket an average of just $16 per passenger on ancillaries, so the fact that African travellers are prepared to spend six times more than that represents a significant retail opportunity for carriers on the continent” – Dino Gelmetti
But despite a willingness among travellers to spend more on flights, travel in Africa remains inaccessible to the majority, with only 23 percent of those surveyed having travelled abroad at all in the last two years. When asked what prevents them from travelling more, the top reasons were:
• 32 per cent said travel is too expensive
• 31 per cent said it is difficult to obtain visas
• 30 per cent said it is too difficult to book travel
• 28 per cent said there are no flights to their chosen destination
Travellers also expressed several gripes about their current experiences when travelling:
• 27 per cent said the check-in process takes too long
• 22 per cent said the check-in procedure is confusing
• 20 per cent don’t like the food on aircrafts
• 19 per cent think there is not enough to do at the airport
“The results suggest that while travel is inaccessible to many and is difficult for those who do travel, there is a still a strong desire to travel more,” said Dino Gelmetti, vice-president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Airline Solutions, Sabre. “Additionally, most of the pain points can be addressed by airlines, and these tweaks could make all the difference to travellers. African carriers currently face tough competition from international rivals that control 88 per cent of African airspace but, as demand for travel increases, African airlines have a real opportunity to win the lion’s share of bookings by addressing the pain points of travellers and going the extra mile to improve their experience.”
Like many other travellers globally, Africans also expressed a strong interest in experiencing a travel journey that was more personalised and appealing to their taste. Respondents said that they would be willing to spend up to $104 per trip on an airline’s extra products and services – such as excess baggage, cabin class upgrades, and special food and beverage – if it improved and personalised their journey.
“Airlines, globally, currently pocket an average of just $16 per passenger on ancillaries, so the fact that African travellers are prepared to spend six times more than that represents a significant retail opportunity for carriers on the continent,” said Gelmetti. “Airlines will flourish if they invest in technology that can make sense of customer data and use it to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time. This technology, which empowers airlines to mirror the personalised shopping tactics already mastered by the online retail industry has been proven to increase ancillary revenue by an average of 10 per cent, and is being used by some of the world’s most forward-thinking carriers.”
As further encouragement for African carriers, Sabre’s survey respondents stated a number of reasons why people would choose to fly with their local carrier over a foreign airline, the top three reasons were:
• It offers cheaper tickets
• It offers the latest technology on board
• It offers greater comfort on board.
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