With the new year just around the corner, Sabre has decided to deep-dive into the trends shaping the travel industry, releasing the results of an APAC-wide study that compiles insight from over 500 travel professionals. Looking towards 2020, here are 5 key trends revealed by leisure travel consultants from over 24 countries across the world’s fastest growing region, Asia Pacific. FOREVER YOUNG With more content for travellers to choose than ever before, it can sometimes be difficult to cut through the clutter. This means that travel agents are more relevant than ever before, acting as strategic allies for travellers on a quest to book the best fare, and holiday. Travel professionals reveal that those aged between 35-50 make up close to 60% of their customer-base, proving that despite the rise of online platforms meant to facilitate personal bookings, there’s nothing quite like having a professional to help enhance the booking experience. What’s more, a whopping 3 in 5 respondents indicate that personalized requests are the main reason why customers reach out, allowing them to create unique packages that reflect each traveller’s needs. SILVER IS GOLDEN The Asian population is quickly aging, with the region on track to have the oldest population in the world in just a few decades [1]. More than 40% of consumers served by travel agents are over the age of 50, and over one third of those surveyed identified that retirees are among their most popular customers, just after families and couples. In fact, 4 in 10 agents confirm that travel for groups of retired people is on the rise, with packaged tours listed as the main reason why people over 50 reach out to travel agents. A total of 46% of those included in the 50-69 branch, and close to 60% of the 70 and over age group request packaged tours that include flights, hotel and transportation bookings, with wellness or religious activities often being the main reason for their bookings. GREEN GIANT Travel is a truly powerful tool, providing the ability to bring people and cultures closer together. However, with tourism rates continually rising from one year to the next, the ecological footprint created by the travel industry cannot be overlooked. Consumers in APAC are increasingly taking the environment into consideration when making purchases and travel is no different. Sabre’s Traveller Trend Survey found that over 60% of travel consultants identified a growing concern for the environment among travellers. The survey also reveals that an impressive 70% of travellers are asking for sustainable tourism options, and close to 30% are requesting for alternate modes of transportation. Sadly, the survey also reveals that only 2% of leisure travellers across Asia Pacific ask to purchase carbon credits. THE GENDER GAP With solo travel growing year on year, the Sabre Traveller Trends Survey discloses that in Asia, men account for 10% more of the solo travel bookings than women. When it comes to bookings, women tend to prefer travelling in groups. However, when it’s time for a couples’ getaway, the survey reveals that both parties do their part, with nearly 40% of both men and women reaching out their travel consultant to assist with the booking. ME, MYSELF AND I As consumers across the board expect customization to be part of their retail experience, a shocking 60% of respondents indicate that personalization is the main reason why they are called-upon to book travel. Helping to fulfil the growing demands of those aged 34 and below to book their next sport and adventure travel, which account for approximately 50% of group bookings, or simply to identify better prices for their customers, travel consultants are trained professionals who play a big part in making dreams come true. WHAT THIS MEANS As the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, Sabre supports suppliers, airlines, hotels and travellers with smart technology solutions that facilitate their end-to-end journey. As we look towards 2020 and continue to reimagine the future of travel, our commitment to developing cutting-edge innovation that allows travel consultants to better know and better serve their customers, is solid. In a market as dynamic as Asia Pacific it is essential that travel consultants leverage intelligent retailing practices and tools to ensure they maintain their competitive edge and fulfil their business objectives. As the industry continues to evolve, both airlines and agencies are looking to their technology providers to address the greater need for personalization. Sabre has launched Sabre Red 360 – a revolutionary platform that changes the way travel agents go about doing business with their customers. As Sabre’s smartest workflow, Sabre Red 360 is transforming how travel agencies across the region book travel, brand and build their offer to better cater to traveller needs. With the roll-out in motion, and full-deployment expected in 2020, Sabre connected travel consultants in Asia Pacific will soon be equipped with cutting-edge technology that has personalization at its core. With Sabre Red 360, agents will be better equipped to face the challenges brought-on by the fast-changing travel landscape, and turn these into profitable business opportunities that will ensure their business success, now and in the future. [1] lkyspp.nus.edu.sg