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Research into the Future of Travel

How Kuoni creates the foundations for innovation

A lot of people at Kuoni are working to gain a better understanding of the wishes, expectations and longings of the 21st century traveller. The insights they come up with help our experts develop innovative products, new types of advisory tools and specially adapted forms of communications for their particular areas of business.

We always suspected it, and now it’s official: when we’re on holiday we are not the same people as we are at home. Whether it’s more casual clothing, a more daring approach to sex in unusual places, greater willingness to experiment with new types of food, or less interest in fitness – hardly has the holiday begun before we seem to change personality and behave differently in just about every respect.

What exactly happens to us is entertainingly set out in Kuoni’s Holiday Report, the second edition of which was published in 2011. Unlike the 2010 report, this year’s version is based on an international survey. More than 12 000 people from the UK, India, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands provided information about what they do before, during and after their holidays. They talked about what they eat and drink, how they prepare themselves, who they most like spending time with, and how they dress. We find out, for example, that significantly more Indians and British people buy new clothes before a holiday than Danes and Swiss people do; that 33 % of holidaymakers think Italians are the best dressed travellers, and that the Italians themselves agree wholeheartedly (63 %); and that only a small fraction of holidaymakers eat the same things while abroad as they do at home (5 %).

All the results are presented separately for the individual countries. Then there is the global report that brings together the whole data-set to provide a comprehensive overview of how people behave these days when travelling. The Holiday Report is an important tool for Kuoni because the information it provides about what people want from their holidays comes directly from the holidaymakers themselves.

A melting pot of skills provides a platform for innovation

As well as forming the backbone of the Holiday Report, the research conducted by the Market Intelligence Department finds its way even more directly into Kuoni’s product development and communications work. Under the motto of “customer focus”, everything here centres on people, their longings, requirements and expectations.

The top five future travel trends identified by the global holiday report:

More than 12 000 travellers from different countries were interviewed in the study. The data gathered is taken into Kuoni’s in-house “innovation forge” and interpreted by a host of specialists – from classic market researchers, to experienced holiday salespeople, to doctors of psychology, to our dramaturgs – and used as the raw material for their work on the future of travel. By fusing different skills together in this way, Kuoni hopes that over the long term it can ensure the culture of travel keeps pace with the changing times and the evolving requirements of individual travellers. The first tangible results include the Travel Compass and the comprehensive study “Coast of me. Mapping the Place of Longing”, which has taken Kuoni into new and unusual territory. Mixing words and images, it categorizes longings into different segments. As well as giving each segment key words that describe its emotional appeal, a number of ideal places of longing are defined for each one, and the main characteristics of the typical traveller are listed. The type of people who are attracted to the “Continent of Experience” category, for example, are defined as those who see holidays as an opportunity to gain experiences off the beaten track. Evocative images, produced during last year’s photo shoot in Egypt, are used to tell the tale of this type of travel. The photographs set the tone for the visual language Kuoni will be using in future. Whether it’s new advisory tools, a fresh photographic aesthetic or innovative travel concepts, Kuoni’s future is going to be based on treating people as individuals. And what more could we travellers ask for?