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Cost and convenience increasing as considerations for air travel, ahead of health and hygiene

In a sign that travel may be returning to pre-pandemic trends, a new report from Expedia Group Media Solutions said traditional factors such as cost and convenience are gaining as factors in the purchase of air travel.

The company's first quarterly trend report includes data and insights from custom research along with Expedia Group travel intent and demand data.

The report said starting in March 2020, as the pandemic became an issue around the globe, there was a steep spike in the percentage of guests mentioning cleanliness in their reviews -- with about one-third of all reviews mentioning it compared to about 10% pre-pandemic. And Expedia Group research found that trend continued with 80% of travelers still expecting to make accommodation decisions based on the status of pandemic measures.

But the report said there is starting to be a shift in consumer priorities based on air travel searches.

Looking at topics searched for when booking flights from the last 12 months, the aggregated annual data showed health and hygiene keywords such as "overall safety," "cleanliness" and "crowding" are three of the top five. But looking at the same search data for the first quarter of 2021, those topics dropped out of the top five and have been replaced with considerations such as "cost," "airline ticket price" and "flight change."

Stated the report: "As consumer confidence continues to grow, there are signs that more traditional decision-making drivers such as cost and convenience are beginning to reassert themselves. ... Flights are often the first element booked and a good indicator of how people are thinking and feeling about travel."

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