, Singapore

Spike in flight searches signals first step in airline recovery: Sojern

People are looking for a change of environment after 20 months, Lina Ang says.

The current spike in flight searches is a sign of the airline industry’s steps toward recovery, Sojern Managing Director Lina Ang said.

Sojern is a digital marketing platform powered by artificial intelligence that targets the travel industry. It covers data on where travelers are moving to.

The latest trends from the company point to an increased search in flights both arriving to and departing from Singapore. In particular, Singaporean travelers show interest in visiting Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands at 61%, 54% and 52%, respectively. Meanwhile, those from Canada, the UK, and the US logged in higher search trends for flights going to Singapore. 

When asked about these trends, Ang said that this was an effect of regaining travel freedom and looking for a change of environment after 20 months. Whether it’s from travelers going out or into the country, she says that Singapore’s status as one of the world’s leading travel hubs, as well as heading home for the holidays are possible reasons for this trend.

According to Ang, the trends would have to take effect over a long term period for the airline industry to fully recover. The return to 2019 trends, says Ang, would not happen overnight. Instead, the introduction of Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) is only the beginning as countries begin to open their borders.

One of the initiatives Ang points to is the push for a globally authenticated framework. Known as common path frameworks, this will serve as a way for travelers to access their test results, as well as keep a more uniform authentication process for vaccination status. This, says Ang, is an idea currently being worked on by the World Economic Forum.

Another explanation for the search trends amongst flights is the observation of shorter booking windows. Whilst the increase of vaccination rates means more stabilisation on a global level, the volatility of travel regulations means that short term planning is more advisable. 

Ang believes that it is because of this and the holiday season that an overall drop in flight searches can be seen after January. 

Despite all of these measures, however, Ang maintains that there is always a risk in the second spike of infections. “With the higher vaccination rate, we are seeing milder reactions to the virus and lower fatality rates. There's always a risk of a spike in terms of infection. As travelers, we just need to take more precautions to adhere to safety and hygiene regulations.”

The director says that despite the efforts to minimise risks, such as the VTL program and higher vaccination rates, travelers should always take into account safety and hygiene precautions. These include handwashing, regular masking, and testing.

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