Travel to return to pre-Covid levels by 2024: Sabre survey

At the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Sabre highlighted research from its recently commissioned ‘Mapping Travel’s New Normal’ study

More than a third of airline and agency leaders responding to a survey said that they believe travel will return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024; a further third responded that they believe this will happen in 2025 or beyond.

Commissioned by Sabre, a leading software and technology provider and carried out by Munich-based management consultancy Dr Fried & Partners, ‘Mapping Travel’s New Normal’ involved both quantitative and qualitative research with 500+ decision-makers from airlines and travel agencies. Respondents were surveyed in eight languages across 20 countries in EMEA, APAC and the Americas, along with in-depth interviews with selected industry leaders.

Participants were questioned about the impact of the pandemic on their customers and their businesses, as well as the implications for the future of the travel industry.  Key findings cover the differing priorities of airlines and agencies as both sectors prepare to address potential recovery opportunities and create new opportunities for growth, as well as differences in technological investment priorities by global regions.

Survey results indicate that “revenge travel” – with the objective of making up for lost time – is a meaningful phenomenon, with 68 per cent of travel leaders responding that they are forecasting a higher spend from consumers on their future travel plans.

Travel leaders report that travellers are considering more decision factors than ever before committing to a trip.

About 82 per cent of airlines executives surveyed responded that they expect the combination of business and leisure to be even more prominent post-recovery.

More than half of agencies surveyed responded that they are spending more time now looking into new tools, services and technologies.

About 92 per cent of travel agencies surveyed indicated that they want the support of travel technology partners to create a more seamless experience in terms of shopping, booking and fulfilment, while 89 per cent responded that they want useful tools to personalise travel.

Some 96 per cent of airlines surveyed responded that they expect enhanced possibilities to offer growth opportunities and improved customer service and satisfaction scores.

Key trends identified by surveyed agencies in the new Sabre-Dr.Fried research include the importance of organised and connected trips to cut through travel complexities for customers; the ongoing prominence of domestic and regional travel and the challenges (and opportunities) for business travel recovery.