Sweltering tubes, stuffy offices and public parks bursting with over-exposed flesh; it must be that time of year again. ‘Where are we going to go?’ My other half quipped after a particularly busy week at work, requiring me to carefully set expectations after realising that I only had 4 days of leave left to play with! We eventually landed on a long weekend in Bordeaux. However, instead of flying we decided to go for the slower option, taking the train from London rather than the considerably more stressful high altitude alternative.
Despite an increased journey time of 4-5 hours, we felt strangely smug that we’d be swapping the endless airport security queues and dodgy in-flight service for extended views of the French vineyards.
As it turns out we were simply falling into a consumer trend that we’re noticing on travel projects at our company. As we embark on summer holidays, we’re looking to ‘travel well rather than travel fast’. Increased security combined with growing passenger numbers creates an ever more painful flying experience and rather than getting to our holiday destinations as quickly as possible, and arriving as if we’ve just stepped off that summer tube, we’re now open to spending more time enjoying the journey itself.
This trend was summed up brilliantly in a recent workshop, when one of our more outspoken consumers shouted out ‘why fly, when you can experience’, an attitude that’s fuelling the resurgence of more authentic travel options and one of the reasons why cruising is one of the fastest growing travel categories.
“I’m planning to visit my friend in Brussels in September, and we are driving from her house to the South of France, with a 3 –day stop off in Trier, Germany so the journey will definitely be part of the experience.” – Mary B., Community Member
‘The Little Holidays Are Definitely Where We Explore More and Have More Fun!’
While prioritising quality and comfort over speed during the journey, we’re squeezing more into less time at our eventual destination. The definition of a holiday is loosening and we’re seeing consumers increasingly taking ‘bite-size breaks’ in place of traditional one or two week trips. From long-haul city escapes made possible by a combination of new larger aircrafts and low cost providers, to the rise of microadventures, a term coined by British adventurer, Alistair Humphrey, to describe ‘small and achievable adventures on your doorstep’. In a lot of our work, we’re witnessing consumers re-define a holiday as a ‘break in routine’ rather than a once-a-year experience; and while remaining jam-packed, holidays can now last for hours as well as weeks.
“I prefer smaller and more regular trips, the kids like to be busy all the time so I tend to do many long weekends and one week-long holiday. We do a heaven holiday every year and then we camp on the long weekends” – Dawn M., Community Member
Ultimately, a rapidly changing post-Brexit Britain is fuelling many of the key consumer travel trends we’re seeing here at C Space and fears around the strength of the pound and the cost of going away are fuelling the ‘currency conscious holiday’. While we’ve always been savvy shoppers searching for the best deals, consumers are now changing their travel habits to de-risk trips and mitigate against any nasty surprises and unexpected costs while away! Staycations continue to rise according to record figures published by the National Trust and Visit England and when consumers do go abroad they’re picking their destinations carefully with a renewed emphasis on all-inclusive packages. The UK has also seen record growth in the cruise sector, with 1.9 million consumers venturing on ocean cruises to ensure costs and budgets can be confirmed pre-trip.
“At the moment we are very much restricted financially on what holiday choices we make, especially because we have to go in school holidays, we have to look for fantastic value for money” – Kath D., Community Member
We find that working with customers uncovers the insights that help brands grow. From co-creating a more comfortable flying experience to the world’s first co-created cruise ship, Britannia, we’re lucky enough to be making some of the world’s leading travel brands more human.
Written by John Gunn, Associate Director for Projects at C Space
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