This blog post is an extract from our Travel Trend Report 2019. You can download your copy here.
Free Independent travellers (FIT) are the ones who will happily do the research, planning and booking of an entire trip on their own.
Modular travellers, however, enjoy having their own free time, yet prefer offloading the research, planning and booking of unique experiences to a 3rd party. This way, travellers can select from curated experiences or combine multiple experiences and pre-purchase them.
More and more we are seeing a shift in the market where travellers are returning to travel agents to reduce the organisation time and hassle of arranging a trip of their own.
The success of Ctrip’s Customised Travel platform is evidence of this growing trend. On Ctrip, users can enter their budget, travel dates and preferred activities while travelling and the platform shares this data with thousands of “customisers” (also known as travel agents) who create an offer that meets these requirements.
“Not only is the consumer exposed to wider range of more flexible, high-quality deals at competitive prices, but they also benefit from the opportunity to be able to contact the travel consultant providing the package at any point during their trip.”
Christopher Ledsham, COTRI
Ctrip’s joint report with COTRI analysing these travellers revealed that this type of travel is popular, attracts a younger market (48% of them are between the ages of 30 to 49) and is
growing rapidly. “In-depth travel” was the top keyword used by travellers planning a trip to Europe, followed by “slow pace”, “leisure travel”, “private” and “niche”.
The report also highlighted the top 10 themes travellers were searching for, which included watching a football game in Spain and the UK, enjoying local food in Spain, France and Italy, embarking on a “study tour” around the UK, and admiring the
architecture in Switzerland and France.