Human interaction still plays a significant role in planning and booking air travel in some countries despite technology being preferred by most travellers, a new study shows.
Almost half (48%) prefer the help of a consultant to plan and book travel in Latin America, compared to around a third of travellers from other regions – 37% in the Middle East, 36% in Asia, 35% in Africa and North America, and 33% in Europe.
The Sabre research also revealed differences in the time it takes travellers around the world to book trips.
African travellers were the fastest planners, with 33% saying they spent less than a day planning their last trip, compared to just 12% of travellers from Asia Pacific.
At the other end of the scale, American travellers were the most likely to plan in advance with 9% taking longer than a month, compared to just 3% of travellers from Africa and the Middle East.
Sabre Travel Network product marketing vice president Shelly Terry said: “Both airlines and travel agencies have a role to play in providing travellers with a complete booking service that combines the convenience of technology with the power of human interaction.
“Airlines can maximise revenue by leveraging the expertise of travel agencies and ensuring their inventories are conveniently available to passengers through both direct and indirect channels, giving people the choice and freedom to book travel the way it suits them.”
The poll also found that travellers would be prepared to spend up to £80 on airline extras to make their travel journey a little more ‘about me,’ according to a new study.
Sabre surveyed travellers from 20 countries about what they would spend and why.
The results show that 80% of travellers bought extras on their last trip, spending an average of £50.
When asked if they would spend more to personalise their trip, the answer was ‘yes’ – up to £80 if it improved their travel experience.
However, European travellers were among the least willing to increase their spend on air extras:
The most desired extras were cabin upgrades, on-board food and beverage and preferred seating and extra leg-room. Then came in-flight Wi-Fi and extra checked baggage.
North Americans and Europeans would choose preferred seating and extra leg-room. Those from Latin Americans would opt for on board Wi-Fi, and Asia Pacific travellers selected extra checked luggage. For travellers from Africa and the Middle East, on-board food and beverage, and fast track security respectively topped their choices.
Sabre Airline Solutions EMEA vice president Dino Gelmetti said: “It’s clear that while there are regional differences in ancillary preferences, 80% of all travellers spend on air extras, representing a significant revenue opportunity for airlines.
“Airlines know what their travellers want based on the data they have of past purchases. Yet so much of this data remains unused today.
“However, by leveraging the latest technology, airlines can unlock this data and show they know their travellers by offering the right products at the right time and tailoring a personalised experience that will improve customer loyalty and generate much needed revenue.”