World map plan

Is how we book our travel changing?

Friday, August 5, 2016

A little more than a decade ago, if someone had suggested that you book your own flights, connections, hotels and even the transfers at the other end, and to top it off, you would be staying in a stranger's home while they are not there, or even when they are, you would have laughed until you hit the floor. 
However, the times are a changing and according to a new report from the OAG, people's travel plans are changing as well. The main contributors to that seem to be the rise of low cost carriers and services such as Airbnb, which have changed the face of travel, possibly forever.
The driver behind these changes is, as so often, the will to save money. Travellers are becoming more savvy when booking trips and are increasingly willing to book their own connections and spend more time on layovers, if it means saving cash. So much so, many travellers will ensure their layover is in a destination they want to visit. Making it an integral part of their trip.
The business of self-connecting is most popular amongst international travellers, as opposed to domestic flyers. Approximately 54% of international passengers are more likely to have booked their own connecting flight. The tendency to self book connecting flights has experienced a significant boost in popularity.
European airports and airlines are keen to take advantage of the new growing market, with some introducing ‘fast track schemes’ for luggage. A move which demonstrates the need for more airlines and online travel agents to embrace these travellers and adapt to their habits.
However, these new habits tend to be embraced by flexible travellers who may have time to deal with any discrepancies such as lost baggage. Those who travel for business, have been slower in adapting to new trends. This is potentially due to them travelling on stricter itineraries.
Despite the rise in self-connecting bookings, there are still some stumbling blocks preventing self-service from taking off. According to the report published by the OAG, travellers have a number of concerns when booking self-connections.
More than half of the passengers surveyed, were concerned that if they were to miss a connecting flight, the airline would not automatically re-book another. Just under a quarter of people think that their luggage would not end up in the same location as them. Less than ten percent of travellers were concerned about the amount of time it takes to plan or research a self-connecting trip.
The report highlights that the so called millennials have more faith in airports and airlines to get their luggage to where it should be going.
The OAG report does offer some suggestions as to what airlines and airports can do to help further embrace this growing market. Some of the biggest demands of self-connecting travellers are: A a one-stop shop information desk, an automated re-booking service, a baggage service inclusive of all airlines and a mobile app that shows all information and the status of flights.
The way we book our travel is changing and despite some teething problems, it would appear that self-connecting is a long way from being grounded.
Source: OAG