One thing we’ve noticed (and this is not a new phenomenon) is that “travel sentiment surveys” don’t really take into account the viewpoints of the most frequent travelers, or the most highly-engaged loyalty program members.
Our community may not be statistically significant in terms of determining “most popular vacation destinations” or whatever, but we do have an incredibly broad and diverse readership of people here at OMAAT who love travel and aviation.
We value the feedback folks provide in the comments every day, and we can get a general sense of what is interesting to (some) people by looking at traffic trends, but it’s tricky to consolidate that info into anything usable, and of course not everyone who reads, comments.
Airlines, hotels, loyalty programs, and thousands of other travel businesses worldwide are trying to gauge consumer sentiment, and while no one ever has a crystal ball, it’s particularly challenging in the current environment.
So we put together a survey in late April, and thousands of you helpfully shared your opinions and perspectives. Yes, it has taken us longer to get this back out than we anticipated, but… such is life right now, and I think for the most for the most part the questions are still relevant.
Our hope in designing this survey was that there would be enough responses to paint a meaningful picture of the intentions and motivators of the group of people most likely to travel anyway, and we really appreciate those who helped with that.
The results presented in the graphic focus on the perspective of very frequent travelers (those who responded that they historically had at least one flight or hotel stay per month), but for most questions there was no significant difference in sentiment for less frequent travelers.
The biggest differences were also somewhat obvious — for example, people who travel less frequently noted they earned more of their miles from on-the-ground activities like shopping portals and credit cards, versus earning through flying.
A few things about the results that we found particularly interesting:
- We were surprised that even among this group of very frequent travelers, top-tier elite status is not really common — it’s something we get a lot of value out of, so that was unexpected
- It’s possible this sentiment has since changed, but only 25% of respondents drew the line for resuming travel at “vaccine” — 55% are looking for indicators that the situation is being managed in a way that allows for informed decisions, which tracks with what we already know about OMAAT readers
- In general, evergreen good business practices like handling changes and refunds professionally and treating employees well matter more to this group than announcements of cleanliness/safety — I suspect that has to do with frequent travelers being generally suspicious of anything that comes from a travel marketing department
Let’s take a look:
Infographic is embeddable — click “share” to add to your site, or view here.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and perspectives with us!