Travel, as reconnection 

Five Jobs to be Done of Travel

Why we’re focusing on travel 

Of all the things that we have learned to live without in the last year, travel has certainly been the hardest. At untold, we are travellers at heart having lived in different countries growing up and many of our family and friends are abroad. We can’t wait to get back to exploring our favourite places and visiting family in person before we become far too accustomed to the virtual versions of them we see on video. 

Writing this at a time when travel is still very restricted, we wanted to shift our focus onto the emerging Jobs that customers have as travel restarts. We explore what some of the emerging trends might be as people plan their getaways in the coming months and years following the pandemic. This report contains insights from over 5,000 consumers across 10 markets globally (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, UAE, UK and US) gathered in January 2021, based on which we present our five focus areas for travel in 2021 and beyond. 

Jobs to be Done: a perspective on changing consumer behaviour

At untold, we use the framework of ‘Jobs to be Done’ in our work with clients. Jobs to be Done is a theory of how consumers make buying decisions, which helps us create customer-led product and marketing strategies for digital brands. A central tenet of this thinking is the idea that customers buy products or services to help them make progress with a struggling moment. It’s this struggle, identified, that often drives people to seek out solutions.

This pandemic has caused a complete reshuffle of our collective struggling moments. Although the core Jobs when it comes to travel will remain the same, we may see some become more or less important as we emerge from a period of strict travel restrictions. In our previous post, we looked at 5 trends in wellness which showed the wellness mindset takeover which is driving customers towards products and services which help them to make progress on their wellness goals.

In the following section we explore the impact of the pandemic on our attitudes towards travel, and present a number of key focus areas for the industry.

The wider context:

The impact of Covid has grounded us

Things are not yet back to normal, and international travel is going to remain affected for some time as vaccination rates vary across countries.

We found that 37% of consumers globally say they are unlikely to travel this year either locally or internationally. Many are waiting it out which is to be expected, but they’re certainly eager; 75% are keen to travel again as soon as they can. 
There is a fairly widespread acceptance of the concept of vaccination passports with 2 in 3 consumers thinking this is needed to make travel possible and safe. The added constraints around quarantine restrictions in many countries are making it difficult for people to plan trips and take time off work. 61% of millennials agree that employers should introduce more flexibility into planning time off to account for these difficulties, such as extending the amount of consecutive days off one can take in a single trip.  

So we still have a way to go before travel gets back to feeling how it did pre-pandemic, but it’s not all bad news. The shifting consumer mindsets emerging as a result of last years’ events are surfacing a whole host of new opportunities in the travel space. In the following report we show the importance of reconnection as the lens through which people are coming back to travel; reconnecting with local communities, with loved ones, and with ourselves. As travellers’ priorities will be altered, it will be the brands that are adapting well to consumer needs that will see the biggest gains. This leads us to five key focus areas for those in the travel industry in 2021 and beyond.
Can't wait to travel freely map and stats


Enjoy the best home has to offer 

Yes, we know, the staycation is all anyone has been talking about for months. But it is one that is really worth deep consideration. The opportunities presented will differ substantially by market. The UK for instance typically has high demand for international travel which means that travel magazines, travel agencies and media have primarily focused on short-haul vs. long-haul. This leaves a lot of room to further simplify, glamourise and package up a range of staycation breaks that will give people that ‘going away’ feeling. 1 in 4 UK travellers intend to book staycations more frequently in the coming years. With 29% of households in the UK / US finding themselves with additional savings, there could be room not just for the local ‘budget’ break but for more luxurious self-treat getaways. Creating new habits for domestic travel during this time could have a long-lasting impact, as people return to the local holidays they enjoyed so much in the years to come.  

Jobs to be Done theory highlights how growth comes from identifying the current struggling moments that customers have around a task (such as booking a staycation) and exploring new ideas that look at solving these problems for people. This could include alternative transportation options for off-the-grid destinations if you don’t have a car. Or experiential retreats that integrate food, wellness and activity for a holistic mind and body break. Just a handful of conversations with travellers in your markets of interest could help identify these new opportunities and validate your new ideas. Read more about the power of customer conversations on our recent post.
Increased planning a staycation maps and stat

Job 1 JTBD Showcase

24 hour getaways near where you live. Sign up to their mailing list and wait for the deals to drop on Wednesday for 24-hour stays in the following weekend.

Kip hideaways

It’s a membership site — joining reveals secret content, direct booking with the owners, member offers and gifts when you stay. Plus we’ll plant a tree in your honour.


 Revitalise and recover on a wellness break

Recovery looks a little different these days as we’re not looking to escape the office, the commute and the crowds of city life. Instead it’s about an escape from the same four walls and the local park that we’ve become a little sick of looking at for days on end. As we saw in our previous piece on wellness, Covid has resulted in a mental health crisis which is driving consumers to products and services that can help alleviate stress and anxiety. 

The other byproduct of working or studying from home and socially engaging only through video calls is constant connectivity to devices. We’ve found that people are suffering from ‘zoom fatigue’ and the pressure of feeling always-on and connected. This need to get away from it all could also extend to digital devices and the opportunity to switch off for a while. 

We all need some time to find our focus again, and reconnect with ourselves. 
hate having too many video calls*
*Data from UK, US and Australia

Job 2 JTBD Showcase

Malabar Retreats

Malabar's philosophy is one of healing and offering holistic solutions for revival and wellbeing.

Costa Rica Tourism

Wellness Pura Vida is a product that materialized that feeling of wellbeing that our country causes in visitors. Mauricio Ventura, the Tourism Minister said.


Enjoy social connection

The third area of focus for consumers as they get back to travelling internationally will be reconnecting with family and friends who live abroad. The increased hassle associated with travel could result in more combined holidays which involve visiting family or friends and then tagging on a mini-holiday. A sense of making the most of every trip. This could drive some interest in tailor-made holidays which encompass a variety of activities and tick off many boxes. 23% of millennials have expressed that they’d be more interested in tailor-made holidays in the next 2 years. 

Aside from connecting with family and friends, many are keen to reconnect in general - looking for travelling experiences that facilitate meeting new people such as group tours. 17% of consumers globally would now put the ability to meet new people in their top 3 most important considerations when booking a holiday. Rising to 27% amongst millennials in China and 22% of millennials in the US. 

The data suggests that it will be important for businesses in the travel space to consider the role of human reconnection as part of travel. Enhancing our experiences and highlighting all the benefits of travel beyond just ‘getting away’ which we had come to take for granted.
Visit family and friends map and stats

Job 3 JTBD Showcase

G Adventures

The official site of the world's greatest adventure travel company. We offer a wide selection of small-group tours, safaris and expeditions.

Modern Adventure

A new way to travel. We seek the brave, the joyful, and the curious. Join us in using travel as a force for good.


Travel sustainably and mindfully

One of the benefits of grounded planes and grounded people has been its positive impact on our planet, with a reduction in emissions from commercial airlines and some much needed breathing space for the typically overcrowded tourist destinations around the world. Our 2019 report about sustainability showed its increasing influence in products and services in a range of sectors from food to skincare to fashion. In many cases sustainability is becoming less an ‘add-on’ benefit and more a hygiene factor. It should be considered, and if it isn’t that gives people a reason NOT to buy something.

Our data suggests that sustainable travel is going to be a key consideration for many travellers following the pandemic - it is on the radar for 80% of consumers globally. And it’s not only about carbon footprint but also about taking in the local culture and giving back to the wonderful communities that host us. Sustainable and mindful travel is about connecting to the destinations we visit and the wildlife, people and ecosystems that surround them.      
Can't wait to travel freely map and stats
Travelling Whale hopes to lead the way in building a more sustainable travel industry. Travelling Whale embodies the message that travelling more sustainably is possible and is committed to creating positive change in the collective quest to protect the planet and use travel as a force for good.
Hattie and Annabel - Co-founders of Travelling Whale

Job 4 JTBD Showcase

Travelling Whale

An online travel agency that specialises in creating sustainable tailor-made travel adventures around the globe.


Intrepid Travel was founded by two friends who believed travel could benefit travellers, and the communities they visit.


Find ways to integrate work and leisure

Another big shift for many travellers in the last year has been the transition to remote home-based work. This has enabled people to move out of cities, in some cases even to other countries to live and work remotely. Pre-pandemic we already saw how remote work was starting to enable increasing numbers of people to become digital nomads, or to decouple their working lives from the location of the work itself. This ties in with a growth in independent workers, entrepreneurs and freelancers who are seeking an alternative lifestyle. For this growing but still niche population, there could be opportunities to deliver bespoke experiences that combine work and leisure. Priorities for this group could include access to co-working hubs, networking opportunities, and a great WiFi connection. We find this area super interesting, so if you’re building something in this space we’d love to hear from you.

Job 5 JTBD Showcase

Second Home

A workspace and cultural venue for entrepreneurs, innovators and social impact organizations.


Find holiday rentals, cabins, beach houses, unique homes and experiences around the world – all made possible by Hosts.

Wifi Tribe

Work Remotely and Travel. Welcome To Our Coliving & Coworking Expedition Around the World


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Around the world it’s clear that many of us are desperate to get back to the joys of travelling after a hiatus that has lasted so long. The pause has given us all moments to reflect, and we’ll be coming back to travel with a slightly different mindset than before. Initially, there will be a focus on reconnection - whether it’s locally through staycations, reconnecting with ourselves and our loved ones or mindfully enjoying every moment more fully than we did before.   

Our research shows that priorities for travel have changed. Some of these changes will be short-term and some longer-lasting. Businesses must take the time to understand the mindset of their target audiences and to identify and serve their most important Jobs. This is how businesses will stay relevant, thrive and grow in 2021 and beyond.

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Untold Insights Ltd 2021