By Tony Carter, managing director of Amadeus IT Pacific

Remember the days when travel meant simply choosing a destination, buying a ticket and boarding the plane? Today, travel is an experience in itself, one that revolves entirely around the customer; one size no longer fits all. In much the same way as a local coffee shop builds loyalty by placing the customer at the center of the purchase; “a muffin with your coffee as usual today George?”, travel agents are fast adopting a similar approach so that on the last day of your work trip, you can check out some museums before your flight back – without needing to say a thing. It’s all about understanding the traveller.

I often speak about the Age of Traveller Power, a period whereby the rules of travel are dictated by the end consumer. But what does this mean for travel providers? More than ever, the industry needs to adapt its approach to appeal to different Traveller Tribes who are searching for unique and personalised travel experiences. That is, the traveller must be treated and understood as more than a set of demographics. Travel agents, airlines, hotels and even airports now need to truly understand traveller wants, values, and behaviours, and adopt technology faster than ever before to survive and thrive.

Earlier this year, Amadeus identified six Traveller Tribes that will shape global travel by 2030: Cultural Purists, Ethical Travellers, Obligation Meeters, Reward Hunters, Simplicity Searchers and Social Capital Seekers. We then wanted to find out the motivations and purchasing behaviours of these traveller tribes and the essential areas for greater collaboration with travel management intermediaries and suppliers to deliver a more rewarding journey for both the traveller and the industry. In the age of Big Data, this nuanced psychographic approach to segmentation offers new opportunities for travel agents and travel providers to understand travellers and remain relevant in today’s hyper-dynamic environment.

Whether you are considering questions such as ‘what level of personalisation should we offer?’ or ‘how can we improve the purchasing experience?’, this research offers a comprehensive framework to better understand, prepare for, and cater to, emerging traveller segments. So how will purchasing habits evolve and how can travel agents respond to these emerging traveller behaviours to build a more rewarding and connected traveller journey?
The point of differentiation for travel agents is that extra layer of options and recommendations that when offered to the traveller, truly excites them. For the Obligation Meeter, a bundled experience could mean a world of difference whereas the Social Capital Seeker may appreciate a mobile data plan to ensure they can check-in on social media wherever they are. That’s where technology comes in.

Until recently, the traveller journey ended for travel agents as soon as the traveller booked and paid for their flights, accommodation and transfers. However, global mobile connectivity means the traveller is increasingly accessible at all times throughout their journey and this opens up huge opportunities for travel agents to reinforce customer relationships ‘on-trip’ and even ‘post-trip’ with personalised service and tailored offers.

Successful travel agents are recognising the enormous value in providing the extras that delight the customer and create a memorable brand experience. Not only will this mean building a more rewarding journey for customers, it will also contribute to stronger brand loyalty, better customer experience and higher profit margins.

To download the Traveller Tribes 2030, visit

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