Australians aren’t just dreaming, they’re actively planning & booking travel for December and into 2022!
Audience360 are seeing significant uplift in both search and booking behaviour which includes a dramatic reduction on the average number of flight searches performed before a booking is made. This activity centres heavily on the Sydney/Melbourne route following the removal of the hard border between Victoria and New South Wales. There has also been a noticeable uptick in business travel (albeit off a low base) for the remainder of the year between Sydney and Melbourne. It is anticipated that the business travel trend line will continue to a decent scale and steady at a reasonable level from March 2022 onward.
In market travel intent into Queensland and South Australia is growing for 17th December onward, the date when it is expected that most States will have achieved the 80% fully vaccinated threshold and when both states have indicated they will remove the hard border.
Interestingly the usual forward search behaviours that would normally be observed from the Southern States into South East Queensland for the Easter school holiday period has not yet materialised. What we are seeing however is in market intent for Fiji over the same time period is significantly higher for the Easter School Holiday period when compared to the same time in 2019. This follows the Tourism Fiji strategy to be the first back to market with international arrivals no longer needing to quarantine from 1st December 2021. While Australian destinations may be starting on the back foot they still have time to drive occupancy for the Easter school holiday period. Being in market now as we open up will drive awareness of destination and enable local travel offerings to drive consideration back towards Australia.
Tasmania is seeing good engagement for the January – March period of 2022 (based on hotel rooms available), however forward bookings as we go into the cooler months is soft. It is anticipated that as South Australia and New Zealand’s South Island open back to travellers across Australasia, these destinations will need to compete heavily to attract visitation for the winter months. Given that prior to the pandemic, 30% of Australian travellers started planning domestic travel up to six months out from departure, now is the time to be focusing on promoting your brand and effective segmenting to promote the experiences you have on offer in order to create differentiation, and intent into your destination.
The regions are currently doing better than metropolitan areas but as the country nears the 90% full vaccination mark it is anticipated that business travel will drive an increase in metropolitan mid-week travel. Further relaxation of restrictions and the recommencement of events will also drive metropolitan leisure travel. Likewise, as more international destinations open their borders to Australia and New Zealand (Hawaii, Bali, the Pacific Islands) it is anticipated that regional areas on the East Coast will start to see greater competition as travellers start to look overseas for what is perceived to be a cheaper holiday.