The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released the results of its 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS). Travellers top concerns in the post-COVID crisis period are focused on simplification and convenience. Medical tourism countries should look at this and see how they can improve their end-to-end processes for medical tourists.
Travel during COVID-19 was complex, cumbersome and time consuming due to government-imposed travel requirements. According to IATA’s GPS survey this year, post-pandemic, passengers want improved convenience throughout their trip. Digitalisation and use of biometrics to speed up the travel journey are key.
Passengers want convenience when they plan their travel and when choosing where to depart from. Their preference is to fly from an airport close to home, have all booking options and services available in one single place, pay with their preferred payment method and easily offset their carbon emissions.
Proximity to the airport was passengers’ main priority when choosing where to fly from (75%). This was more important than ticket price (39%).
Travellers were satisfied being able to pay with their preferred payment method which was available for 82% of travellers. Having access to planning and booking information in one single place was identified as being top priority.
Today’s travellers expect the same online experience as they get from major retailers like Amazon. Airline retailing is driving the response to these needs. It enables airlines to present their full offer to travellers. That puts the passenger in control of their travel experience with the ability to choose the travel options that they want with convenient payment options. .
37% have been discouraged from travelling to a particular destination because of the immigration requirements. Process complexity was highlighted as the main deterrent by 65%, 12% cited costs and 8% time.
Where visas are required, 66% want to obtain a visa online prior to travel, 20% prefer to go to the consulate or embassy and 14% at the airport.
83% would share their immigration information to speed up the airport arrival process.
Barriers to travel remain. Countries with complex visa procedures are losing the economic benefits that these travellers bring. Where countries have removed visa requirements, tourism economies have thrived.
For countries requiring certain categories of travellers to get visas, taking advantage of traveller willingness to use online processes and share information in advance would be a win-win solution.
Passengers are willing to take advantage of technology and re-thought processes to improve the convenience of their airport experience and manage their baggage.
Passengers are willing to complete processing elements off-airport. 44% identified check-in as their top pick for off-airport processing. Immigration procedures were the second most popular at 32%, followed by baggage. 93% of passengers are interested in a special programme for trusted travellers (background checks) to expedite security screening.
Passengers see value in biometric identification. 75% want to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes. Over a third have already experienced using biometric identification in their travels, with an 88% satisfaction rate. But data protection remains a concern.
Passengers clearly see technology as key to improving the convenience of airport processes. They want to arrive at the airport ready-to-fly, get through the airport at both ends of their journey more quickly using biometrics and know where their baggage is at all times. The technology exists to support this ideal experience but there is a need for cooperation across the value chain and with governments to make it happen.
GPS results were based on over 10,000 responses from 222 countries. The survey provides insight into what passengers would like from their air travel experience.