While mobile seems to appear as a key channel in travel industry, it still hasn’t made its mark when it comes to actual bookings, reveals a TripAdvisor study.
Ipsos, a global research firm, conducted a survey (on behalf of TripAdvisor) among TripAdvisor users, hoteliers, and other user profiles to understand the regional and global travel trends, change in consumer spend, travel patterns, and booking habits of travellers.
Travellers are planning to spend more on their holidays in 2014 with the average annual traveller spend rising from $5,955 in 2013 to $6,136 in 2014, an increase of 3%.
This year, 90% of global travellers are planning to travel domestically (the number was 87% in 2013) and 77% are planning to travel internationally (from 65% in 2013).
Key takeaways from the study are presented below:
Deals influence decisions
When it comes to travel spend, South African travellers are planning the biggest increase in their travel budgets this year, an increase of 30% from 2013, followed by three APAC country travellers – Indonesians, Australians and Malaysians.
91% of respondents claim their choice of holiday is often influenced by the availability of a good deal. The other key influencing factors are price (95%) and special offers (44%).
44% of respondents relate their travel plans with the currency fluctuations in market. But, 53% of these travellers are planning to research for the best available price.
While price, deal and currency fluctuations have an impact on traveller decisions, 64% of hoteliers think different by saying that online reviews influence booking decisions, followed by price (50%) and recommendations from friends and family (45%).
The study summarizes by saying that a hotel’s price along with good online reputation will be an influencing factor for traveller decisions.
The other factor that seem to have a high impact (for 74% of respondents) on booking decision is the availability of free wifi during their stay.
Traveller profiles and their travel preferences
The study brings out travel preferences for three types of user profiles:
Millennials – 18 to 34 years old:
- Currency fluctuations have an impact on 45% of this users’ travel plans, but 24% of them will research more to find the best price
- 81% of millennials want to visit a place they have never been before, and 31% choose a destination by local events
- Price conscious
- 52% of this group is highly influenced by travel blogs, and 47% are influenced by travel related pictures on social media sites
Families – 25 to 54 years old:
- Plan to take more international trips (up 5%) and fewer domestic trips (down 2%) in 2014.
- Influenced by deals and special offers
Retirees – 55+:
- Least worried about price
- Books in advance – 43% of this group books three to six months in advance
- 82% are influenced by ratings, 75% are influenced by reviews of accommodation, attractions and restaurants
- When travelling with tablets, 52% of them are more likely to use them for travel related activities
Travel planning happens both online and offline
65% of respondents plan their trip at least three to four months in advance, and 32% respondents book one month ahead of their trip.
While this being the case, 65% of hoteliers estimate that most of their bookings happen within four weeks of the guest’s arrival date, with the length of time increasing slightly for resorts.
Asian travellers are most likely to book their accommodation last minute – 23% book their trip in less than two weeks before their travel data.
When it comes to advance bookings, UK travellers (20%) and Australians (16%) top the chart with an advance booking window of seven to 12 months.
Majority (98%) of travellers plan their travel online, however, 87% of travellers also use offline modes such as word of mouth (55%) and travel guide books (45%) for travel planning.
94% of hoteliers actively encourage or collect post-trip reviews – 48% do so via online services like TripAdvisor and 38% via post-trip emails to their guests.
Asian travellers lead in mobile bookings
91% of respondents use their smartphones on their holiday – 37% use it to find things to do, and 27% use it for searching hotels. Interestingly, the study says that mobile penetration still hasn’t happened much in the booking process.
Among the total respondents, 66% of travellers booked their last trip online, and 31% of them cite pricing as a the influencing factor to book online.
Surprisingly, only 4% of travellers globally booked the accommodation for their last trip via a mobile channel. Chinese travellers (10%) are leading in mobile bookings, followed by Thailand (9%), Indonesia and Malaysia (7%).
In the Asian travel industry, the trend of moving from offline to mobile channels can be noticed, with travellers in this region more likely than others to have booked their last trip either via mobile (6%) or offline (27%).
76% of hoteliers already have a mobile offering, and of those who don’t, 50% plan to introduce it this year.
Below is the infographic about this study.