Air travel declined significantly in 2020 and 2021, but demand for air travel increased in 2022 as borders opened and passenger confidence increased. However, this demand has outstripped supply, as airlines have struggled to acquire enough staff and aircraft to keep up. While the demand for air travel is expected to continue to grow in 2023 as the Asia-Pacific region opens up, it is important to ensure that airlines pay attention to passenger needs and expectations when developing their airline marketing strategy.
To better understand what travellers will be looking for in 2023, Expedia Group conducted a custom survey of 11,000 consumers and 1,100 travel professionals to create the 2023 Traveler Value Index. In this post, we look at what travellers care about when booking air travel and how that aligns (or does not) with airline views to give airlines the best views of 2023.
Air travel is back.
More than half (51%) of consumers plan to travel by air in the next 12 months, making flights the second-most popular mode of transport behind the car. The younger generation is even more likely to fly, with nearly 60% of Gen Z and Millennials planning to travel by air in 2023.
The return of international and business travel is likely to have a positive impact on air travel as well. Half of consumers said they plan to travel internationally in 2023, so long-haul flights could see strong growth this year. And with a third of travellers planning a business trip, even weekly flights can experience bumps.
Travelers are also increasing their budgets, with 43% of consumers are saying their budget for the next 12 months will be higher than last year. However, air travel professionals are the most overrated in terms of growth in consumer travel budgets, with 70% predicting an increase, which means some may need to adjust their expectations for consumer travel spending in 2023.
The price has to be right.
When booking airline tickets Travel is about price, and atypically low prices are a key factor that consumers value. However, many aviation professionals underestimate the impact of price and overestimate other factors, such as the impact of contactless transactions.
As economic pressures increase in 2023, price will continue to influence how travellers make their decisions. This means that you have the opportunity to differentiate yourself by offering competitive fares or incorporating specific promotions into your airline’s promotional strategy.
In addition to the price, consumers are also concerned about the possibility of receiving a full refund when booking flights, the value of which is underestimated even by specialists in the field. If you’re considering eliminating refunds due to COVID mitigation, it’s important for airlines to understand that consumers still value the ability to receive a refund if plans change.
The importance of the mobile phone is increasing.
Searching and booking trips using the mobile phone has been a popular choice for some time now, but in 2022, the popularity of the mobile phone will increase even more. Compared to 2021, the number of mobile phones has increased by more than 20%. app and browser reservations for 2022 flights. In 2023, we expect this number to continue to grow in terms of air travel.
The reliance on mobile phones for booking highlights the need to improve the passenger experience at all possible touch points. And before booking, mobile is the number one platform for travel inspiration, which means optimising your ad campaigns for mobile devices is essential to reaching travelers.
A sustainable and inclusive future
Sustainable development is a priority for the tourism industry in the coming year. In fact, it’s tied with marketing as the top investment area in 2023, with one in five industry professionals saying sustainability will be their investment priority next year.
The aviation industry is particularly oriented towards sustainable development. Aviation professionals are more likely(49%) to provide consumers with a lot more information about sustainability than travel professionals (29%). By doing things like offering carbon credits and incorporating your company’s sustainable practices into your messaging and advertising, you’ll be better positioned among informed travelers.
The aviation industry is also committed to accessibility and inclusion, with 71% of aviation professionals saying they have made changes to make their services more inclusive and easier to use. Communicating these improvements to passengers will be important in 2023, as passengers want to know which airlines they fly with and whether the companies they support will have a positive impact.
Connecting with airline buyers in 2023
To best connect with passengers, it’s important that your airline is visible. Expedia Group brands are the ideal place to advertise to air travelers, with billions of flight searches conducted each year. With flight-sponsored lists, you can ensure your brand stands out among travellers with precise targeting and tailored copy. This can help your brand maximise airline tickets and gross bookings to achieve your goals for the new year.
Another way airlines reach relevant travellers is through our advertising solutions. Airlines can increase brand awareness and visibility to achieve higher engagement rates, leading to increased ticket sales. In 2023, we plan to launch new air-based native advertising that will allow airlines to reach and engage passengers in a different way.
As we begin the new year with new challenges, it is important to be aware of passenger behaviour and expectations. To learn more about current travel trends, download our 2023 Traveler Values Index. And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to stay updated throughout the year.