Budget is top of mind when selecting a destination for international travel, with 31 percent of agents recently polled by Travel Guard noting affordability as the most important factor for clients. Travel Guard recently polled agents to learn about international travel trends among clients. Key results from the Travel Guard study include:
Big Spenders: Despite continuing concerns about the economy, 86 percent of agents polled noted their clients are spending about the same or more on international travel than in past years. On average, 39 percent of clients are spending $2,000 - $5,000 on international travel in 2012, while 32 percent noted their clients typically spend $5,000 - $8,000. Nearly one-quarter (22%) of agents mentioned their clients will spend more than $8,000 on international travel this year.
Far From Home: According to 63 percent of agents polled, travelers are more willing to jump out of their comfort zone and travel to destinations farther from home than in past years. Emerging destinations are becoming popular among travelers, with agents noting Eastern Europe (24%) and Australia / South Pacific (16%) as the hottest spots outside of traditional European destinations. Other popular destinations include Central America (14%,) Asia (12%,) South America (11%,) Africa (8%) and the Middle East (4%.)
Getting There: Despite the popularity of airline points, a mere 8 percent of agents reported the ability to use points as a top priority when selecting an airline for international travel. Comfortable accommodations (7%) and cost to check multiple bags (2%) were also minor considerations when selecting an airline, while affordability (55%) and nonstop routes (27%) were most important to clients.
Make Every Penny Count: Nearly one-quarter (24%) of agents noted ease of travel or good tourism infrastructure as the most important factor, while 22 percent mentioned their clients select a destination based on the cultural and historical activities offered.
Clients also take the ability to visit multiple countries in one trip (16%) and adventure or outdoors activities (7%) into consideration when selecting a destination.
Plan for the Worst: International travel brings an additional level of uncertainty to a vacation. As a result, 22 percent of agents polled noted their clients are most worried about potential uprisings or terrorist activity disrupting their travel plans, and surprisingly, only six percent of agents noted language barriers as the greatest concern. Additional travel fears lie with potential trip interruptions or delays (30%,) medical emergencies (23%) and potential trip cancellation (19%.) A whopping 86% of agents mentioned that their clients purchase a travel insurance plan to cover their vacation investment, the Travel Guard study said.