WTM: The Rise of the PANK

Caroline Cook, deputy editor of our sister publication, Routes News, reports from the World Travel Market in London.

The seventh edition of WTM’s Global Trends Report showed some interesting insights into the future of the travel industry.

The report, put together in association with Euromonitor International, supported the IMF’s prediction that global GDP would grow by 3.8% in 2014.

While the BRIC and other emerging economies will boost this growth, the travel industry will also see a major expansion in online and mobile bookings.

All aspects of the industry are forecasted to grow, with online travel showing the biggest increases – heading towards a healthy 12% this year alone.

The report also focused on the rise in ‘PANK’ – professional aunt, no kids – travellers.

This demographic covers professional women with an average age of 36, who are active on social media and looking for a bargain. While they have no children of their own, they love spending time and money with children close to them.

In the US, 23 million PANKs spend $9 billion on children and the report says this section of the market has “huge potential” which is “yet to be exploited”.

Other key findings in the report show that happiness is a major selling point for UK travellers, with websites like RouteHappy leading the way for future travel.

In Europe, the industry should keep an eye on next generation peer-to-peer travel through the use of sharing services.

Most importantly, these travellers look for value for money and authenticity.

This includes concepts such as the ‘mobile concierge’ and the report advises the industry to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and devices, such as the rise of the smart phone.

Middle Eastern travel has seen a trend in LCCs, such as Jazeera Airways and flydubai, going upmarket in their product offerings.

Results show that in 2012, 15 million passengers in the region were carried by five budget airlines, proving the appeal for affordable luxury.

The report also believes that others, such as hotels, may follow this trend.

Meanwhile, the African travel industry has seen a boost in family-friendliness, with South Africa being the most popular destination by far for “multi-generational holidays”.

Demand for cruise travel is also on the up, particularly in the Chinese region.

In fact, research shows that Royal Caribbean alone saw its Chinese customers quadruple to 100,000 from 2011 to 2012, and is expecting 100% growth again this year.

The final region covered by the report is India, where social media “really hits the spot”.

With 82 million Facebook users, India shows the third largest social media market, backed by strong growth in its online travel trend.

While the region’s internet users are predicted to grow to 300 million by 2017 – and 75% of these to be social media account holders – the travel industry needs to focus on how to attain these customers through the digital medium.

This article was produced for Routesonline by the editorial team at our the world air service development magazine, Routes News and first appeared on their site.  For more information please click here:

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