Travel’s back. But has it changed forever?

“Revenge travel”, “trip stacking”, “pent-up demand”.

Call it what you will, but one thing’s for sure: travel’s back with a vengeance.

Director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Willie Walsh revealed in May that passenger air travel is expected to return to pre-COVID levels by 2023, a year earlier than predicted, while total air travel in North America had already seen a 96.5% increase compared to the same period in 2021.

That’s a lot of holidaymakers, backpackers and business travellers gearing up to hit the road after a long period of being grounded by lockdowns and restrictions.

But as traveller confidence roars back to pre-pandemic levels, will it follow the familiar patterns we’d become accustomed to before COVID confined us to our national borders?

Or has there been a paradigm shift in how people see the world?

Once bitten, twice shy

The average traveller’s nervousness following the past two years’ extraordinary events is certainly justifiable. No one wants to get stranded abroad, be forced to quarantine, or be saddled with eye-watering medical bills.

But the evidence points to resilience rather than timidity.

Instead of staying put and waiting for the final all clear on COVID, the public is venturing back out into the world. With one caveat: they’re making sure they’re protected. In an interview with The International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ), battleface’s CTO Anthony Spiteri revealed that “prior to the pandemic only about 20 per cent of American travellers purchased insurance and based on most recent research this number has already increased to over 60 per cent.”

This 200 per cent increase in travel-insurance adoption represents a sea change in traveller behaviour that would have been unthinkable prior to coronavirus. Having experienced the disruption and uncertainty of the past two years or so the public’s awareness of travel risks is at an all-time high.

Travel medical to trip curtailment

That awareness isn’t limited to medical bills abroad due to COVID-19. It encapsulates flight changes due to continued airport disruption, the costs of evacuation or repatriation of mortal remains, trips being interrupted and other risks.

As travel resumes, companies offering the same old one-size-fits-all products are going to come up against customers who remain committed to taking that trip but whose demands for insurance cover have outgrown them.

That’s where battleface comes in. Whether it’s an around-the-world trip or a hastily-planned staycation, our products are rigorously designed to fit the needs of the traveller – not the outdated demands of executives.

Want to find out more about our products and services in your region? Get in touch.