The pandemic has led to a rise in the eco-conscious consumer, with a greater appetite for environmentally friendly journeys. As we enter a new-era, travellers are beginning to think about the environmental impact of their journeys and taking more responsibility for their own personal impact on the environmenti. The renewed focus on greener journeys was a key theme emerging from this year’s Allianz Partners’ Global Travel Summit.
The Allianz Partners’ Global Travel Summit took place recently under the theme of ‘Wonderland’. The 3-day virtual event, with over 1,000 attendees, focused on the emerging trends in the travel industry as the world emerges from the global pandemic and faces a new set of challenges as a result of geopolitical and economic uncertainly. The new world holds in it a new era of opportunity for the travel industry to be a leader for the eco-conscious consumer.
The Rise of the Ethical Travel
Allianz Partners partnered with global consumer trends agency, Foresight Factory, and other industry experts to explore the current and upcoming trends impacting travel, allowing Allianz Partners to stay ahead of the curve in terms of meeting the evolving needs of customers around the world.
The trends presented at the Summit were based on extensive research carried out by both Foresight Factory and also Allianz Partners’ Customer Lab research, which found that it’s now – more than ever – socially desirable to put the planet first and make more ethical, sustainable, and greener choices. This was supported by research findings such as that six in ten (60%) families, aged 25-40, say they will pay more attention to the environmental impact of their travel in the future, compared to pre-pandemicii. Additionally, over seven in ten consumers in Great Britain, Germany, and the USA say that sustainability filters on travel sites would help them make better choices and to live more sustainablyiii.
The social ethics of travelling is weighing on the minds of travellers as they consider the various eco-conscious travelling options available to them. Over half (56%) of families aged 25-40 surveyed are intending to travel less in the futureiv, further reducing their environmental footprint. The slow travel trend, which positions the journey itself as a holiday destination or activity, also promotes more sustainable holiday options like train travel or travel by recreational vehicle (motorhomes, campervans, coaches, caravans).
never been more important and is a priority for us at Allianz Partners. We are helping our customers and partners navigate through these challenging times and are focused on turning travel insurance into full end-to-end travel protection and we’re excited about what the future holds.”
The travel industry is not immune to the economic outlook. Another dominant topic from the Summit pointed to the impact of economic conditions on confidence in travel. Where people travel, how long they travel for and how much they spend is directly impacted by inflation, rising energy costs, and a general rise in cost of living.
Households are feeling the direct impact of the geo-political unrest with supply chain issues causing major economic upheaval due to a surge in gas and food prices. For the travel industry, it is having a knock-on effect on the cost of travel, with long-haul flights, in particular, becoming increasingly expensive. However, it is also impacting prices for travel-related expenditures, such as hotels and restaurants who may pass these price hikes on to consumers.
Ultimately, the risk is that leisure travel may no longer be seen as a priority by consumers who have limited surplus income each month and instead be considered a luxury they cannot afford.
Business Travel vs Sustainability Targets
The way we work has changed completely as a result of the pandemic and as a result, business travel has been obliterated. Over the past two years, as remote working and virtual conferences took center stage, business travel has been drastically reduced. With the re-opening of borders, companies now are finding ways to re-assess their ways of working. Is there a need or a necessity for business travel, or is it simply a nice to have?
A reduction in business travel has reduced costs for companies and helped them to lower their carbon emissions which has helped businesses to meet sustainability targets. However, many employees long for face-to-face interaction with their clients and customers. Businesses are now at cross-roads between meeting sustainability targets and employee desires. As employees get back into the office the correlation between a desire for, and appetite for, business travel has increased with some companies using business travel as a recruitment and retention policy. Businesses are willing to change their policies in order to keep their staff engaged.
The world is constantly evolving. The rise of the eco-conscious consumer following the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with a turbulent geopolitical landscape, creates some headwinds for an otherwise robust travel recovery.