How the Travel Industry May Look in 2020

New Amadeus report focuses on opportunities for airlines and agents.

In partnership with the global forecasting and research consultancy Oxford Economics, Amadeus has produced a new research paper designed to explore the trends shaping the future of travel.
Entitled ‘The Travel Gold Rush 2020’, the study combines findings from interviews with 30 travel industry leaders with macroeconomic forecasts to give insights into how the industry will develop in the coming decade.
Focused specifically on the challenges and opportunities facing airlines and agents, the report looks at potential new revenue opportunities as well as changing traveller tastes and preferences.
The global travel industry is making an uneven recovery from the recession, the report says. While 2010 has seen a return to growth with global arrivals increasing 5.6% in the first six months, Europe remains sluggish. Hotspots include Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
By 2020, Asia will represent 32% of travel spending, the report continues, up from 21% today. It will also account for nearly 22% of global arrivals by 2020, up from around 18% today.
However, emerging nations’ travel habits remain the great unknown. There is uncertainty about where citizens from emerging nations may travel and how their tastes may differ from western travellers.
Ancillary services have become an increasingly important source of revenue, spreading from LCCs to major carriers. Estimates suggest that such income may contribute up to 35% of airline revenues in the future. But uncertainty remains about how important they will be in the long term.
Meanwhile, airlines and agents should explore new models that take a more comprehensive view of the total travel experience, the report suggests. Airlines may adopt a broader approach to travel and integrate activities more closely with the rest of the travel value chain.
There may be potential, for example, to derive yield from alliances with high-speed rail providers from customers who are willing to pay for seamless travel, including ground transfers, which clearly need to be improved.
The study adds that traditional cabin classes will be replaced by ‘virtual classes’ as individual traveller preferences create a personalised experience.
“The future of the aircraft cabin is set to go through significant changes as customers are able to share their preferences with airlines and airlines will be expected to meet their individual needs leading to the decline of traditional cabin classes,” it suggests.
Face-to-face travel agents are set to become more highly valued, with ‘F2F agents’ evolving to provide more services across the travel experience, particularly on industry niches and with expert advice. Their customer proposition will focus on ensuring that clients are assisted across the entirety of the travel experience.
Demographically, in western travel at least, the trend is older and richer, with more travellers with more free time travelling for longer periods and able to incorporate a variety of travel experience.
Business class is likely to thrive, with videoconferencing supplementing rather than replacing business travel. Analysis in the US suggests that for every dollar invested in business travel companies, $12.50 will be realised in incremental revenue.
Travel Daily News
{Pictured: Lufthansa Broadband on long-haul routes]