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[Countertrend Article] Revenge Travel

#Bonnes Pratiques

Sébastien Vincent - Director at the Paris Office, Tourism, Travel and Leisure Specialist - Simon-Kucher & Partners

After having been decimated by the crisis, players in tourism could count on “Revenge Travellers” who are ready to spend more than before the crisis.

According to a survey carried out in June 2021 by global marketing strategy and consulting firm Simon-Kucher and Partners, a majority of those surveyed in France (73%) were preparing to go on holiday between June and September, and nearly half 46% said they had not been on holiday during the preceding 12 months. The survey, conducted with a sample of 5,000 people in seven countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA, Russia and China), identified “Revenge Travellers” as a key segment for the recovery of the sector.

The survey revealed that 83% of French travellers intend to spend as must (44%) or more (39%) on their journeys in 2021 as before the pandemic. French consumers are in this regard much like their peers, as at a world level, 83% of respondents gave the same answer.

Sébastien Vincent, Director at the Paris Office, a member of the Tourism, Travel and Leisure Team at Simon-Kucher & Partners said:

“The pandemic hit the travel and leisure industry hard in 2020. But our work shows that there will be a recovery of activity in 2021, with French people wanting to travel and spend as much as they did before the pandemic, or even more. French people are indicating that they will favour domestic travel, which offers hope to the players in the tourism and leisure sector in France. For companies in the sector, a unique window of opportunity is opening to review their strategies and business models offering the agility to allow them to capitalise on the new trends.”

Conversely, “Revenge Travellers” plan to spend even more on travel after the pandemic.

The “Revenge Travel” trend was already seen in Asia in autumn 2020, when the restrictions related to the virus began to be lifted. China is an example: according to Bloomberg, during the “Golden Week Holiday”, leisure travel reached 80% of the level prior to COVID-19—a promising recovery with regard to the current context.

A similar trend can be seen in the USA, where domestic demand was high in the second quarter of 2021. Since “Spring Break”, we have seen a significant recovery in demand, with sales levels higher than the levels in 2019 in spite of the absence of international travellers.

Out of all the French consumers in the survey, around 40% are currently part of the “Revenge Travellers” segment, a significant increase compared with our most recent survey from October 2020, when only 10% of respondents planned to spend more after the crisis than they did before the pandemic. It is also noteworthy that around 5% of the French people asked even plan to spend “much more” than before the crisis on accommodation, travel, food, excursions and even on souvenirs and gifts. This figure even reaches 10% for expenditure on well-being, doubtlessly due to the French people’s desire to compensate for a year marked by government restrictions.


Although the outlook for the market is promising, the pandemic will have a lasting impact on travellers’ behaviour

In 2020, tourists had to stay closer to home. This trend for a “staycation” is unlikely to die out fast. Whilst 50% of French people stayed in France for their holidays before the pandemic, 61% now prefer to travel in their own country rather than head abroad.

The study also shows that cars are still the preferred means of transport to go on holiday for the French (65%), with little change due to the pandemic. Public transport (metro, bus, train) and the plane are the means of transport that have been most affected by the COVID crisis: whereas 24% (respectively 39%) of French people used them to go on holiday before the pandemic, only 20% (respectively 31%) are considering them for travelling post-COVID.

Professionals in the sector will also note that 46% of the French people surveyed would be prepared to extend their holidays by one to two weeks whilst teleworking. To attract this clientele, they need to provide a stable internet connection (sought by 57% of respondents) as well as an additional room to work in peace (45%).

Booking behaviour may also be affected in the long term. According to Dario Sangiovanni, Manager of the Paris office, and also a member of the leisure, tourism and travel team: “One of the main changes in consumer behaviour at the end of the pandemic is in terms of bookings. We can expect more last minute bookings and less packages, which indicates a desire for travellers to have ever greater flexibility in their choices. Players in the tourist sector should therefore rethink their communication strategy and how they interact with their customers and prospects to adapt to these new timings and these new requirements from travellers.”


ABOUT THE STUDY : The “Revenge Travel 2021” study was carried out by Simon Kucher & Partners in June 2020. More than 5,000 people in France, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Russia and China, were asked about their travel behaviour and bookings.

ABOUT SIMON-KUCHER & PARTNERS : Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global strategy consulting firm with over 1,400 employees in 40 offices around the world and that concentrates on TopLine Power®. Founded in 1985, the company has over 35 years of experience in consultancy in strategy, sales and marketing. It is considered as an international leader in the fields of pricing, marketing and sales. Its “TTL” branch is specialised in the Travel, Tourism and Leisure sectors. Simon-Kucher & Partners has more than 100 consultants based in Paris, France.

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