Key learnings from our quarterly travel survey (Q4 2020)

Travel as we knew it, may seem like a distant memory and no-one is really sure of what it will look when it returns. But there are signs of life, with talk of travel bubbles opening up between states and possibly internationally, which is music to many peoples ears, especially those that work in the industry.

When and if we ever get back to cheap international travel, where it was cheaper to fly to Europe in 2019 than it was back in 1999, nobody knows, but for now we can share with you what our members think is on the horizon for Australian and International travel.

A quick note about the results below: Every quarter we ask our members to complete a short survey about their previous and future travel habits. The results below are based on over 500 Australian surveys responses, collected during September 2020. The results are compared to the same time frame from the previous year (pre-CoVid19) where available.

How likely are you to travel domestically in the next 12 months?

Sample size (n) = 550

At the end of last year, 86.5% of respondents said they planned to travel domestically within the next 12 months. From the chart above you can see that the intention to travel has dropped to 78.4%, with the majority of people stating concern about CoVid-19 as the main reason they are less likely to travel.

This does not help the domestic travel industry which is already suffering because of the lack of international tourists. Only 40% of respondents have travelled and stayed more than 100km from their home since March 2020 (mainly travelling to visit family and friends), which means only a small proportion of Australians are moving about within the rules imposed because of CoVid-19.

However, with all the data pointing to safety concerns for reasons not to travel, the most important factor when booking flights remains Costs (42.7%), which leaves the airlines in a situation that they need to keep prices low to get people flying again but also ensure that they maintain the cleaning and safety standards required to stop the spread of further outbreaks of Coronavirus.

What is your most important factor when booking a flight?

Sample size (n) = 514

With most domestic borders closed (only 36.6% agree with domestic border closures) there are limited opportunities to fly domestically, however, most respondents (88.2%) agree that Australia is doing the right thing by keeping its borders closed at the moment.

This balancing act has been widely reported with limited international flights arriving in Australia, the costs have skyrocketed in line with increased demand for limited availability.

Do you feel that Australia is doing the right thing by keeping its borders closed at the moment?

Sample size (n) = 533

From our previous research, we also know that the majority (over 60%) of people usually have a holiday booked at least six months out. Along with the data that our intention to travel in the next 12 months is down, only 10.8% have actually got a holiday booked, where they depart in the next 12 months. Hopefully, everyone has been saving and will look to book last-minute travel once the conditions improve, or the recovery we are expecting may take another 6 months from when restriction ease before people start travelling again.

Have you got a holiday booked where you depart in the next 12 months?

Sample size (n) = 535

Part of this may be explained by the fact that people are unsure of when international travel will start again, although 51.5% of respondents do not expect to be able to travel internationally within the next year. Respondents may be holding out on booking a holiday based on the fact they want to go overseas and if they book a domestic holiday they may not be able to afford the international holiday they were planning pre CoVid.

When do you think international travel will start again for everyday Australians?

Sample size (n) = 533

In summary, we do not think Australia has capitalised on the chance to encourage Australians to ‘travel here this year’, as the marketing campaign’s suggested, even though it continuously rates as one of the favourite travel destinations every survey.

Which countries are your favourite holiday destinations?

Sample size (n) = 521

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