In our previous blog we already touched upon consumers' declining confidence in the economy since the war in Ukraine (NOS, 2022). One industry that is certainly holding its breath is the travel industry. People are afraid of approaching financial difficulties. The earlier expectation that spending on travel would increase again after the expiry of the corona measures, remains unfulfilled. This may be partly due to the turmoil and uncertainty of the war. Because the airspace above Russia is closed to Western countries, distant journeys to, for example, Tokyo, Beijing or Seoul have to be routed via another route which is longer and costs extra fuel. This is reflected in flight time and ticket prices, reports ANVR.

Airline tickets have also become more expensive due to the rise in oil prices, and this is reflected in the Consumer behaviour monitor This is also reflected in the barriers to booking a trip. For 43% of the Dutch, 'I find the brand too expensive' is the biggest barrier to consider a brand (tour operator or airline) when booking a holiday/travel. There seems to be a power struggle going on over the euro in the consumer's wallet; you have to pay the rent and groceries anyway, so you cut back on the less 'necessary' expenses.

Daan Muntinga, strategist and scientist: 'In 99.9% of history, holidays were something for the wealthy. In the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, children (read: sons) of well-to-do parents made a Grand Tour along all the important places in Europe. In ancient Rome too, travelling was something for the rich. People had no free time and never had any money left over. Only in our times did holidays come within reach of ordinary people - in his book Op Vakantie! (2021), Wim Daniƫls describes the founding of the ANWB on 1 July 1883 as the turning point. I just want to say: the travel industry is right to be concerned. Travelling, democratised by the ANWB, seems to be becoming the preserve of those with money to spare. Abroad is becoming special again.

Travel brand most important for young people
One in five Dutch people (21%) mainly pay attention to the brand when booking a trip. Young people seem to care more about the brand than older people do. Of the target group 18-34 year olds, more than a quarter (26%) pays attention to the brand when booking a trip. For the target groups 35-54 years and 55+, this percentage is somewhat lower (19% and 18%).

In line with this, the brand plays an important role with the youngest target group with regard to how satisfied someone is with the trip (40%). Here too, you see that the older target groups (35-54 22% and 55+ 29%) attach less importance to the brand, even though they often have more to spend. In addition, the middle and higher educated (24% and 23%) consider the brand more important than the lower educated (14%) when booking a trip.

Esmee van Garderen, Insights Consultant at ValidatorsA first reaction might be that, as a brand, you would tempt the less-brand-sensitive with a good offer. However, due to inflation, war and increased fuel prices, this is no longer a viable option. It is better to focus on the brand experience of the 18 to 34-year olds: use your Distinctive Brand Assets, make sure you are physically available and remove barriers in the booking process'.

Do you also want free access to the Consumer Behaviour Monitor? Then register here.