In general terms, forecasts are predictions based on past and present data and most commonly by an analysis of trends. In the current travel landscape, tourism professionals recognise that the situation can change from one day to another as governments decide who can travel in and out of a country. This results in the issue of being unable to forecast, because, with no historical trends, no forecasting model can truly make accurate predictions. So, how can you gain a picture of the future if none of the traditional travel forecasting models works?

1. Be specific about your business needs

The first question is, what do you really want to know? In some cases, travel forecasts and future-looking data are used interchangeably even though we are talking about two quite different things.

For example, at ForwardKeys we continually monitor if certain policy decisions result in a change in demand, like whenever the United Kingdom puts a destination on the amber or green list. In this case, we look at our Actual Air Tickets and “On the book” data, as these include future bookings and give an immediate overview of the impact.

Another option is to examine the future scheduled airline seat capacity as a proxy for future travel, given that this is what planes the airline companies are planning to fly, when, and where to. A pandemic challenge, however, is that airlines have been extremely fast in changing their flights depending on the current demand, which makes it unreliable as a long-term travel forecast method.

2. K.I.S.S and make it better with one comprehensive data provider

The boom of data providers has not simplified the matter of picking the right fit for your business needs. That is why the K.I.S.S principle is a sage strategy to follow – data providers and data itself should make your life easier, not harder.

ForwardKeys is a reputable data company with firm expertise in air ticketing data offered in various formats and datasets. The flexibility of the datasets means you can monitor live trends as they take place via issued tickets and support long-term planning via the travel forecast tools.

At ForwardKeys, we get many questions for forecasts of the total number of travellers, given that businesses often must make decisions on selecting the right airports and terminals to launch a new product or to find the best touch-points to target specific nationalities

Jérôme Goldberg
Retail & Travel Retail Customer Success Manager

“We get that as there are a lot of data options out there, so it can be overwhelming and confusing,” adds Goldberg.

However, historical data has lost its relevance and importance as Covid-19 volatility has wiped out the predictability built into forecasting models. Therefore, ForwardKeys has now built a state-of-the-art and completely new algorithm that bases its travel forecasts not on these historical trends, but on the scheduled airline capacity and future bookings to make a reasonable estimation of the number of people that will really travel.

“We are applying artificial intelligence to keep improving the forecasting algorithm, as we know that the scheduled airline capacity is quite unstable now with the last-minute changes and flight cancellations,” says Goldberg.

“What we are creating is ground-breaking and a big step forward in accurately displaying future trends – unlike anything else that is available in the market!”


Modelling travel forecasts in the times of Covid-19 has been a challenge with a few glitches in the middle due to airline volatility and global instability, but ForwardKeys is determined to future-proof your business strategy by offering the most trusted and reliable travel forecasts in the market.

From airports to travel retailers, brands, and tourism organisations – understanding what is to come post-Covid does not need to seem so mysterious. To learn more about the full suite of data solutions available at ForwardKeys, contact us or download the PDF that includes a page regarding the methodology.

Download Data Methodology

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