In all aspects of travel, it is common to talk about business versus leisure. Even our travel classes are segmented in line with this approach. However, this division implies that my preferences as a traveller change based this high-level dichotomy of travel purpose.
“Partitioning users according to business travel and leisure travel disobeys the “law” of focusing on the customer. It’s part of the customer. But I am all my travel.”
— Gareth Williams, CEO, Skyscanner
Additionally, the blurring of lines between business and leisure (welcome “Bleisure) means that in the future, a travel solution that handles both aspects will be essential. According to Forbes, 78% of millennials tagged time onto a business trip in 2017. Although this behaviour is not new, it is far more prevalent with the travellers of the future.
“Modern business travellers are most likely to ask about combining leisure with business travel, work-life balance or bringing family on trips.”
— Evan Konwiser, VP Digital Traveler, American Express Global Business Travel
At Skyscanner, to put the traveller first we have been exploring new and different ways to think about traveller segmentation, including the difference between more frequent travellers and less frequent travellers.
Our exploration and research has revealed a unique set of characteristics for more frequent travellers: they carefully design their experiences, they are travel experts, and they have routines and best practices. However, it has also proven that travel frequency is not the driver of the behaviour – it is just a metric for identifying a user group.
Even the well-defined “high frequency traveller” segment reveals different priorities (e.g. comfort sensitive travellers versus loyalty program nerds) and mindsets (e.g. destination explorers versus deal hunters). Behaviour is also dramatically shifted when travelling alone versus in a group.
Ultimately, our research has reinforced the fact that travel is extremely personal, and segments are very complex. We can’t simply state that all business travel is the same, and that it needs a standard approach; or that all high frequency travellers have the same needs. What is really required is a personal marketplace for every traveller.
So, when you are assessing your opportunities, or developing a new marketing campaign, consider the need to consider your travellers as the sum of their parts. Not just their business or leisure behaviour.