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Visually speaking: How to meet a flight shopper’s needs in 2022


Results from annual flight shopping survey

The results have landed from our annual survey! With a focus on visuals and sustainability in this year’s survey, our questions for flight shoppers were designed to give insight into what elements are going to create a better shopping experience in 2022 and beyond. Want to find out how you can better serve those needs?

We surveyed 350 people from around the globe who had flown at least once per year prior to the pandemic, as well as made at least one flight booking on an online travel booking site.* Here’s what we learned.

Visuals + Sustainability = Better flight shopping experience

The two big themes of this year’s survey were how visuals and sustainability impact flight shopping. The survey clearly showed that flight shoppers prefer to see visuals when booking a flight, seat and sustainability remain the most important type of visual content, and sustainability as a whole is a big priority for most. Let’s explore each of these.

Show, don’t tell: flight shoppers want visual content

80% of shoppers are more likely to book if they see targeted visualsVisuals add unbelievable value to the flight shopping experience. 80% of shoppers said visuals influence them to make a booking, compared to no visuals at all. Most prefer to see between 4 and 6 images per flight.

63% of shoppers prefer to see images of actual in-flight products rather than illustrationsWhen it comes to these visuals, 63% of shoppers want to see actual images of the in-flight products rather than just illustrations. This is a significant increase compared to just 47% in 2020’s results. Showing the seat, in-seat power, aircraft layout, and other amenities available on the aircraft with real-life photo examples can make a big difference to flight shoppers.

If there are no images to use, at least use an illustration, which is preferred by 37% of shoppers. Using an illustration to represent the type of power outlets on board, for example, is better than no image at all because it helps to clearly communicate what a flight shopper can expect once they board the aircraft.

Mobile users need more images

96% said images would enhance their flight shopping experience on mobileThe need for visuals is not just for desktop and laptop flight shoppers—mobile users need more images, too! Using images would enhance the experience for flight shoppers by an overwhelming amount, as seen by the 96% of flight shoppers who said that images would make the experience better. Using a combination of text and images can lead to a better all-around mobile shopping experience.

Seats are still the superior amenity

Seats remain the most important on-board amenity shoppers look for when booking flights

If you only consider adding one visual, make sure it is seats. Out of seats, entertainment, power, aircraft layout, sustainability, and other, seats were ranked as the most important type of visual content and on-board amenity when booking a flight by 26% of respondents.

Sustainability followed closely behind with 25% ranking it as an important amenity, too. Aircraft layout, followed by entertainment, and then power, were each ranked less important than both seats and sustainability.

Sustainability is making a serious impact

Fuel efficiency was ranked as the most important sustainability factor when selecting one airline over another

Now more than ever before, environmental awareness and sustainability has become an important factor when shopping for flights. In fact, 53% of shoppers will select a flight that is more expensive than another if it has the lesser carbon emissions impact. On average, flight shoppers are willing to pay between USD 21-30 more to offset carbon emissions. Additionally, 62% of flight shoppers think it is extremely important to compare carbon emissions when flight shopping alongside fuel efficiency, which was ranked as the most important sustainability factor when selecting one airline over another.

Seriously, sustainability matters to flight shoppers

63% claim that aircraft-specific sustainability practices would influence the flight they bookWith 88% of flight shoppers researching sustainability for specific flights or airlines in the past six months at least one to three times, the importance of including this information visually cannot be overstated. It falls right behind seats as the most important on-board amenity when booking flights, and 63% of respondents say that aircraft-specific sustainability practices would help them determine their final booking.

Showing images of sustainability measures an airline is taking is also important to flight shoppers. They want to see realistic images of the aircraft rather than just images of forests or nature to communicate sustainability. For example, when an image of a calendar with the year 2050 to communicate a zero emissions goal was shown next to an image of the actual aircraft with sustainability goals, almost 75% of shoppers preferred the image of the aircraft. To support sustainability goals and measures, airlines need to accompany text with images to credibly convey these messages to flight shoppers in a way that resonates, and they can trust.

Start meeting flight shopper’s needs

With a visual and sustainable experience in demand for flight shoppers today, it is crucial to start implementing these strategies now. ATPCO’s Routehappy content can help you meet and exceed these flight shoppers’ expectations by communicating targeted information, messaging, and visual content about your airline’s fares, products, and services.

Start differentiating your offerings, improving your conversion, and increasing your customer satisfaction today.

*ATPCO surveyed 350 respondents ages 26 and up from various regions countries across North America, Middle East/Africa, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and Asia Pacific in February 2022.

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Alex Snape

About Alex Snape

Alex works with airline clients to create accurate, relevant, and inspiring merchandising content that captures the uniqueness of each airline’s brand. He focuses on delivering quality digital messaging and visuals that enhance the flight shopping experience by providing customers with highly targeted information about the exact product that they’re buying. Alex is an experienced writer and aviation enthusiast. Born and raised in New Jersey, he has traveled to various countries around the world, speaks French, and now calls London home.