Why We Travel

By 2030 more than 1.8 billion of us will travel internationally every year, and what motivates us and how we behave will be radically different to today.

By the end of the next decade, some people will purchase and consume travel experiences almost entirely on the basis of how shareable they are, or how much ‘capital’ they generate, via social networks. Another group of travelers will demand total simplicity and freedom from having to arrange their own travel by 2030, wanting as much as possible to be done remotely, by third parties. At the same time, a dedicated group will emerge with a desire for only the most hedonistic, indulgent and must-have experiences.

These are just some of the forecasts made in Future Traveller Tribes 2030: understanding tomorrow’s traveller, a major new report which launches today identifying the different traveler personalities and segments the industry can expect to emerge and become prominent over the next fifteen years.

The research process, which took a psychographic rather than demographic approach, drew on Future Foundation’s proprietary consumer research forecasts to identify the six distinct traveler personalities as:

  • Social Capital Seekers will structure their holidays almost exclusively with online audiences in mind, relying heavily on peer reviews and recommendations to validate their decisions. A whole new market may open up based on “Klout-boosting breaks”, filled with consciously feed-friendly moments.
  • Cultural Purists will look at holiday-making as a chance to immerse oneself in an alien – even uncomfortably so – culture, where enjoyment of the break depends on the authenticity of the experience.
  • Ethical Travellers will make travel plans based on moral grounds, for example decreasing their carbon footprint or improving the lives of others. They will often improvise or add some element of volunteering, community development or eco-sustainable activity to their holidays.
  • Simplicity Searchers will prefer bundled offers, seeking to avoid managing too many trip details themselves. Holidays for this tribe represent a rare time in life to pamper oneself with the assurance of their safety and enjoyment.
  • Obligation Meeters will be driven by a specific purpose for travel, whether business or leisure, and thus have constraints on time and budget; they will seek smart algorithm based technology that is able to remove the hassle of travel.
  • Reward Hunters are only interested in indulgent travel. Many have come to crave something that represents an extraordinary reward or ‘must have’ premium experience, a return on their hard earned investment of time and energy in their working lives.

“Looking back 15 years it is hard to underestimate how far the travel industry has come in terms of innovation, cost and choice for travelers,” said Julia Sattel, Senior Vice President Airline IT, Amadeus.  “And yet now, as we look forward 15 years to 2030 it is clear that change will only accelerate. With this in mind, understanding the emerging “traveler tribes” will be vital to all providers, buyers and sellers of travel in the coming years, in order to ensure the right investment decisions are made now, and to help facilitate and cater to the clear trend and demand in the industry for far greater personalization than ever before across the entire travel chain.”

“Our research shows not just that the type of experience demanded by travelers in 2030 will be different to 2015 but that the way travelers buy and engage with the industry is also set to change,” said Nick Chiarelli, Director, Future Foundation. “Over the next 15 years the desire to share travel experiences will be profound, and so too the impact of sharing on inspiration and purchase trends will grow. As consumers in developed markets approach a post-material era we expect a much greater focus on, first of all, experience, and second of all, ethics, both environmental and social, to significantly influence people’s travel choices and behaviors.”

In the U.S., Amadeus polled 800 consumers who traveled at least twice in the past year to learn more about what drives them to travel and how they most closely identify with the traveler tribes. The poll found that the majority (67%) of U.S. travelers aligned most closely with Simplicity Searchers, seeking ease and transparency in their travel planning.

Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • 45.4% of respondents agreed the best part of their most recent trip was the chance to unwind from feeling overworked versus engaging in pursuits of adventure, culture or enrichment.
  • 42.7% of the respondents said their in-flight guilty pleasure was to flip the “off switch”.
  • When asked about the future of travel, 38% are most excited about mapping technology to facilitate a hassle-free trip.
  • 25.1% of those surveyed claimed that events often drive their destination selection.

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