|Online Travel Market|
|Travel Industry Online Developments|
Travel sector searches are still in double digit growth although it has slowed but all the growth currently being seen is from mobile and tablet, according to Google UK.
Google UK found that whereas smartphone behaviour remains very different from tablet, the old assumption that tablets were only for affluent was no longer true. On mobile the length of query is much shorter on mobile phone because of the difficulty you have in typing on a phone and there is more geo-specific activity around mapping and timetabling because people are on the move. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2013)
UK internet users spent 2% of their desktop internet time in 2012 using travel sites, according to data from Experian Marketing Services. (eMarketer, April 2013)
Half of all online travel search is driven by 13 words, with search terms dominated by ‘cheap' and ‘discount', according to a survey by digital marketing agency Stickyeyes, forming part of the UK Online Travel and Tourism Intelligence Report presented at the Travolution Summit in London. The findings show that 46% of top keywords contain ‘discount' or ‘cheap'. Single generic terms drive big volumes. However, ‘cheap' can be expensive. Companies at the top of the list are paying tens of thousands of pounds a month to be there.
Some more hightlights:
- Being on page one (of search results) is critical and becoming more so because fewer people are going to page two.
- Are big generic search terms good value? It depends. It is more for big companies.
- Booking.com came top for paid search with 65% more visibility than second-placed Trivago.
(HOTELMARKETING, December 2012)
Data from international research firm Deloitte showed that 86% of overseas and 91% of domestic travel transactions in the UK are now ‘digitally influenced.' That means even if the final purchase wasn't made online, almost nine in ten travel purchases are influenced in some way by digital channels such as websites, social media, peer reviews and smartphone or tablet apps.
According to Google 80% of travel products in the UK are researched or purchased online, the highest figures for any country in the world.
Research also shows that UK travellers that book air travel online often lean toward purchasing directly from suppliers. Approximately 96% of UK consumers book their air travel online, according to Kantar Media Compete's "Online Shopper Intelligence-UK Travel" survey from April 2012. The findings show that more than 65% of those travellers went straight to the airlines' websites to buy tickets, while 31% booked via an online travel agency.
Hotel bookings, however, are much more fragmented. Nearly 30% of UK travellers booked their most recent hotel stay directly from a hotel brand website, while approximately 30% booked from either an online travel agency or an online hotels aggregator.
Methods used to book a hotel according to UK travellers, April 2012 (% of total):
- Hotel website (e.g. Hilton, Marriot, Best Western): 28%
- Online travel agent (e.g. Expedia, Opodo, Ebookers): 17%
- On the phone: 15%
- High street travel agent (e.g. First Choice, Trailfinders): 11%
- Other: 15%
But even though a lower percentage of hotels were booked on suppliers' sites than on intermediaries, respondents overwhelmingly said they believed hotel websites provided better information and researching experiences than online travel agencies. More than 40% said that hotel websites were more reliable than other booking channels for speed, price accuracy, ease of booking, ease of making changes, accuracy of information and experienced travel. In comparison, only about 10% of respondents thought OTAs were better at providing these services.
The only category that was even remotely close was "first-time travel." Thirty percent of consumers believed hotel websites were better for this purpose, while 22% thought OTAs served this function best. This was likely due to OTAs' meta-search capabilities, which allow consumers to compare numerous travel experiences alongside each other as they start to make their travel decisions.
UK consumers find hotel websites' detailed information more agreeable when it comes time to decide on their travel purchases. But despite seeing hotel website information as more reliable, they are still just as likely to book online with an intermediary. With that said, 15% of consumers who responded to the survey booked their hotels on the phone, which is important to note as another form of direct purchase.
These consumer trends are telling for travel marketers, whether they represent a brand or a third party, because they show the importance of catching "lookers" as early as possible within the purchase funnel. Even though they find hotel website information more valuable, it doesn't appear to increase their tendencies to book on those sites. (eMarketer, August 2012)
Less than 1% of people use social media when selecting their annual holiday, according to a survey by online travel agent Directline Holidays carried out by Bristol-based news agency One Poll in June 2012.
The study found that people rely on recommendations by family (30%) and friends (12%). After family and friends, the internet came out as the next biggest influence (10%). Traditional media, such as newspapers, TV and magazines made up 13% between them, proving that they are still important influencers. Another 7% said that work colleagues were their main influence, meaning 'word of mouth' or human interaction made up approximately half of the survey's responses. (Travelmole, August 2012)
Last minute travel products search volume has increased significantly on mobile devices in the UK in Q2 2012 and especially in the first week of July, according to Google UK Data. For certain types of products, up to 40% of all Google UK queries are made on either a tablet or other high-end mobile device:
- Holiday packages: 26% of all queries are made on a mobile device for last-minute queries;
- Air: 41% of all queries are made on a mobile device for last-minute queries;
- Hotels: 33% of all queries are made on a mobile device for last-minute queries.
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, July 2012)
The eDigital Research study shows mobile apps in the UK often do better than the more established online presence for some travel companies. The eDigital Research eTravel Benchmark was conducted in May and June 2012 and compared the usability of 52 leading UK travel websites across seven sectors. The apps research was carried out on 15 services.
Premier Inn took the top overall spot for its mobile application with a score of 87.3% and the service scored highly for variety of choice of products, range of information and variety of pricing of products. Ironically the budget hotel brand did not score as highly for its website with an overall score of 75.2% slipping one place from the previous research in February. Overall the hotels and hotel agents sector scored higher for search and booking via apps than the airline and online travel agent/operator sectors.
For flight apps, Lufthansa came out top with a score of 79.6% compared with its website score of 76.2% although the airline did manage to climb seven spaces to 30 in the overall ranking. In the flight app category there was a general consumer expectation that they would provide booking and check-in capabilities.
For OTAs/operators the Expedia app emerged top with an overall score of 73.4% which compares less favourably to its website score of 82.1% - second overall in the eTravel Benchmark after Center Parcs. The Expedia app was praised for its level of detail and in general consumers were seeking detailed hotel information and images from OTA apps as well as clearly labelled special offers. Consumers also said they wanted to find holiday inspiration from the mobile services and additional features such as location guides.
Further findings from the eTravel Benchmark:
- Center Parcs achieved the top spot and scored highly for the early stages of the customer journey as well as telephone support
- The hotel agents, holiday camp and self-catering sectors continue to achieve the highest scores across the seven sectors covered in the report
- Live help is increasingly being employed by travel suppliers as an additional support channel and Virgin Atlantic was rated the highest for its service
- Thomas Cook achieved the highest rise in the rankings, coming fifth overall, following a website overhaul earlier this year and improvements highlighted across all elements of the customer journey
- Princess Cruises saw the largest fall in the rankings from 15 to 43 with consumers saying they were unable to find email details or didn't receive a response
- First Choice also lost considerable ground with lower scores across the customer journey particularly for telephone and email services
(tnooz, July 2012)
Travel reviews still encourage holidaymakers to book despite recent rulings about their legitimacy. Travel review site TripAdvisor was told in February 2012 that it could no longer claim to offer "trusted and honest reviews" after an investigation by advertising watchdogs found the site could not guarantee customer feedback was genuine. But according to the eTravel Benchmark study, 75% of consumers still think that the majority of travel reviews are ‘mostly genuine', whilst 61% would be more likely to make a booking after reading a positive review.
The eTravel Benchmark study, carried out by eDigitalResearch, found the highest level of customer satisfaction in over two years.
Holiday camp Haven came highest with score of 84.5% for interactive search features, appealing home page. Virgin Atlantic made the biggest improvement jumping 21 places due to a much more responsive telephone customer contact. ‘Staycation' site Hoseasons and online travel agents Last Minute and First Choice all complete the top five.
The study found that online travel firms achieving lower ratings were criticised for poor levels of telephone or email customer service. (Travelmole, March 2012)
Google has estimated that by the end of 2011 28% of all travel related queries in the UK came from mobile devices. Within that, tablets account for nearly a third. What's more, during the weekend when bookings are typically highest, these devices account for an even greater percentage of total queries. (EyeForTravel, February 2012)
52% of Brits will use internet search engines as their first port of call for researching their main summer holiday 2012 holiday, according to the TravelSupermarket Travel Trends Tracker including a survey of 5,000 Brits.
40% will use review sites to get the opinions of other travellers, and 37% said they would be visiting travel agents' websites to plan their dream break. The poll also found that 12% would be calling in to see their high street agent for advice. (TravelMole, February 2012)
m-commerce has truly arrived in the UK and, when it comes to travel, consumers are already using mobile devices as part of the online booking process, according to a Tealeaf report. Yet, the main application is holiday research, as booking a full holiday on a mobile device is according to the report still too complicated.
Given the mobile nature of the devices, there is a new opportunity for travel-related companies to offer services to ebookers while on a holiday as well as in the run up to it. In the past six months, British adults who own a mobile device used their device abroad in the following ways:
- 57% have used it to send texts
- 45% have made calls
- 32% take video content or photos on their mobile device, with 15% sharing the content on social media and 15% sending video and photos through email
- 14% have researched local information on bars and restaurants
- 13% have researched local tourist attractions
- 24% search on a map or look up directions
- 22% have accessed social media websites
- 14% have checked flight information
And when it comes to travel-related mobile apps in general, over the last 12 months, British mobile ebookers have downloaded the following:
- Apps providing weather reports and updates: 19%
- Apps from hotel providers: 6%
- Apps to find local businesses: 10%
- Apps with tourist city guides: 11%
- Apps for photography for use on holiday: 6%
- Apps for translation: 12%
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, December 2011)
The internet places a massive role in the research process for travel products in the UK, with 71% of consumers having browsed for a flight, hotel or holiday in the last six months, according to an Econsultancy report. Yet, just 56% of people have booked the travel product on the web.
The survey results highlight the importance of the internet for booking, and echo the results of an earlier Econsultancy/Toluna travel survey, which found that the web was involved in 85% of travel purchases, either in the research phase, or for actual bookings.
If we include mobile and tablets, then 71% of travel research takes place online, making the internet absolutely vital for travel brands. It's no surprise: holidays are the biggest purchase of the year for many people, and it's a decision that can take some time.
While 71% of respondents research online, just 56% of people have booked the travel product on the web, which may suggest that people are seeking reassurance via other channels before taking the plunge, as well as the fact that much travel research doesn't necessarily lead to a purchase. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, November 2011)
A significant 22% of respondents to a mobile device travel survey of over 1,200 British people by TripAdvisor, have incorporated a mobile device into their travel planning process.
Of those using their mobile devices to plan holidays, researching and booking accommodation is the most common activity. Of those who plan travel on their mobile device:
- 29% have booked or researched accommodation
- 27% have researched destinations
- 26% have read traveller reviews
- 23% have researched restaurants
- 18% have booked or researched flights
Nearly half of British respondents (45%) have used their mobile devices to plan and research their trip once they've arrived at their destination. For those respondents who use their mobile device while travelling, restaurant research takes priority:
- 29% researched restaurants
- 28% checked their flight status
- 21% researched attractions
- 18% researched accommodation
- 16% researched tours
Roaming charges remain the biggest barrier to using mobile devices on international holiday. Despite 75% of Brits admitting to using a mobile device when travelling, a substantial 79% of respondents claim to get annoyed by fellow travellers using their mobile devices while travelling.
Although a large proportion of British respondents are already planning holidays on their mobile devices, it seems our European neighbours have adapted faster:
- 22% of Brits have planned a trip on their mobile device compared to 27% of Europeans
- 20% of Brits have booked accommodation using a mobile device, compared to 28% of European respondents, and 32% of French respondents
- 45% of Brits have used a mobile device to research their trip while in-destination, compared to 53% of European respondents
More mobile findings include:
- 39% of British respondents have a travel app installed on their mobile device
- 14% of British respondents have reviewed a hotel, restaurant or attraction using their mobile device while on a trip
- 15% of British respondents have "checked in" to a place using their mobile device while on a trip
(TravelDailyNews, June 2011)
54% of British holidaymakers used social media platforms in the run up to their trip abroad to gain personal recommendations and reviews beforehand, according to a poll by one of the UK's leading online independent travel agencies sunshine.co.uk.
The poll shows that social media platforms play a large part in holidaymakers' decisions about where to visit, with around half claiming to have used sites such as Facebook and Twitter to gather recommendations and reviews from people who may have personal experience of certain resorts.
The poll was carried out by sunshine.co.uk, after the site noticed an increase in traffic directed from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. 1,102 British holidaymakers subsequently took part, each of whom had been abroad in the past 2 years. Respondents were asked questions surrounding how they went about selecting their eventual holiday destination.
Respondents were initially asked, ‘Did you research your chosen destination and accommodation before booking and going on your last holiday?' to which the overriding majority, 98%, said ‘yes'.
These respondents were then asked to select all that applied from a list of possible answers about how exactly they researched their chosen destination and/or accommodation. The results, according to sunshine.co.uk, were as follows:
- Review websites: 62%
- Social media platforms: 49%
- Information from travel agent: 33%
- Word of mouth: 26%
- Travel guides: 19%
- Other: 13%
Of the respondents who selected social media platforms as a means of researching holiday destinations and accommodation before booking, 61% said they used Facebook, whilst 17% said they used Twitter to do so.
When asked, ‘Did your research affect where you went and stayed on holiday?' 96% of the respondents who had done some research said ‘yes'. (TravelDailyNews, June 2011)
Experian hitwise revealed the most popular travel websites in the UK for the week ending May 14 2011 in the categories Agencies; Destinations and Accommodation; Airlines and travel search terms.
Top Agency websites in the UK for the week ending May 14 2011 by % of visits:
1. Thomson (www.thomson.co.uk): 8.24%
2. Expedia.co.uk (www.expedia.co.uk): 6.90%
3. Thomas Cook (www.thomascook.com): 6.37%
Top Destinations and Accommodation websites in the UK for the week ending May 14 2011 by % of visits:
1. Tripadvisor.co.uk (www.tripadvisor.co.uk): 10.45%
2. Booking.com (www.booking.com): 6.21%
3. TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com): 3.47%
Top Airline websites in the UK for the week ending May 14 2011 by % of visits:
1. easyJet.com (www.easyjet.com): 21.63%
2. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com): 16.32%
3. British Airways (www.britishairways.com): 10.00%
Top travel search terms in the UK for the week ending May 14 2011 by % of clicks:
1. google maps: 1.07%
2. easyjet: 0.70%
3. ryanair: 0.67%
(tnooz - talking travel tech, May 2011)
VisitBritain is collaborating with Google to produce a competition to find the best street in the UK to promote Streetview. This is in light of a research which indicated 55% are using Streetview tools on Google Maps to plan their trips around the UK
The competition launched in early May 2011 with voting via the Street View Awards site provided by Google where users can view each street and select their favourite.
VisitBritain has worked with high profile companies and travel specialists, including Lonely Planet, Mr & Mrs Smith and Vogue to establish a shortlist of entries in three categories: Most Romantic Street, Best Shopping Street and Hippest Street.
The poll closes on May 22 2011. The winning streets will be awarded a Google Street View Award trophy in June 2011. (tnooz talking travel tech, May 2011)
VisitEngland has commissioned a first of its kind pilot in five destinations around the country (Shrewsbury, Rochester, Chester, Leicester and Rutland ) using 2D bar code technology in the form of QR codes. These 2D barcodes can be scanned by most smartphones using a QR reader application to transfer information. Based on the type of code it is, it can direct the viewer to a website, audio, text or video content.
VisitEngland's ambition is to be more dynamic and inspirational in this field by producing one minute videos offering deeper insights about the destination or attraction that the QR Codes are positioned. The aim of the pilot is to give visitors sound-bites of information, describing lesser known facts or ‘hidden gems' within the vicinity where there is little or no information or guide. Their goal is to inspire visitors to spend more time in the area they are visiting and encourage them to explore further opportunities and dwell longer within the destination. The codes will be installed at the end of May 2011 and will be in place for six months.
In May 2011, VisitEngland also launched the official Enjoy England app, a mobile planning tool offering over 1,000 fresh ideas and information on places and attractions to visit in England. Users can personalise their search according to indoor or outdoor activities, or the most popular ‘must-see' things to do, and those sticking to a budget can be inspired by hundreds of free ideas. Each result comes complete with a Google Map location. Users are encouraged to share their experiences and upload suggestions to the interactive map. The Enjoy England iPhone app also includes free access to travel content and readers' tips from The Guardian newspaper and great ideas from enjoyengland.com. (VisitEngland eNews: May 2011, May 2011)
A new partnership agreement now allows VisitBritain.com users to benefit from user-generated content provided by TripAdvisor(R), the world's largest travel website. In the new partnership, TripAdvisor content relating to key British tourist destinations is available on VisitBritain.com - a family of 30 websites in 21 different languages. Users of the website can now see the top ten attractions and restaurants for popular British cities and holiday destinations, as decided by millions of TripAdvisor travellers.
This announcement follows successful TripAdvisor partnerships with other official tourism bodies in London, Scotland, Germany, Austria and more, further highlighting the importance and trust of user-generated content and its growing presence in the travel industry. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, April 2011)
Booking.com topped the overall league table for the first time in the latest eTravel Benchmark that compares the customer journey of 51 UK travel websites, using a panel of internet users. The latest eTravel Benchmark was carried out during February through to March 2011. Booking.com has a consistently strong performance across the entire online customer journey and an overall score of 83.4%.
Key findings of the latest eTravel Benchmark include:
- Overall, holiday camps and self-catering were the top performing sector, providing industry best practice for customer service. European holiday site Center Parcs topped the telephone customer service table with a score of 92.3%. Butlins, Canvas Holidays and Haven also made it into the top five for telephone contact, with Keycamp topping the email customer service league.
- On average, hotel chain sites were the lowest performing sector, with many sites lacking fundamental basics like FAQs and a reliable and responsive phone and email customer service.
- Budget travel brands also performed poorly across the customer journey.
- Many more travel websites are encouraging customers to engage with them via social media and developing apps for use on the move. But sites are failing to capitalise on the full potential of social media by not suggesting site visitors share the ‘product' they have found.
(Travelmole, March 2011)
UK travellers remain most influenced by travel web sites and traditional media like television, rather than social media sites like Facebook, according to a report called Mapping the Travel Mind, carried out for Conrad Advertising by YouGov.
The research found that while UK social media sites may be extremely popular, they are still some way from being considered the best source of holiday recommendations, according to Travolution.
Instead, consumers turn to time-tested sources of information like travel company web sites and travel review sites. These are seen as both the first and best sources when looking for travel advice, concludes the survey. Conrad said the finding that television, newspapers and travel websites are still the most important media does not mean companies should discount social media, but it should not be the dominant force in a campaign.
The research found that:
- Online access and skills are more important than a person's age when determining their holiday planning preferences
- Online media are important for all age groups and that older people who do use the internet are just as likely, if not more so, to use online media sources when planning a holiday
- The most used media sources of holiday ideas and inspiration remain TV, newspapers and the travel sections of media-owned websites
- To achieve consumer awareness and influence we need to continue to use these media to target prospective customers at the beginning of their holiday planning process
- Price comparison is the main purpose of online searching and research - 70% of all adults (and all age groups up to 70) say they prefer to book online. Their reason relates to their belief in finding ‘the best price' (54%) more than it does convenience (31%).
The YouGov survey interviewed 1,340 respondents, with 1,040 completing an online questionnaire and 300 interviewed in person. (Travelmole, February 2011)
Using its popular Love UK Facebook page (close to 50,000 fans and counting), VisitBritain is asking fans to check-in using Facebook Places at two of any one of the 300 tourism spots around the country tagged in the system. Once a user has completed the task they are automatically entered into a draw to win a holiday worth £2,000 and £1,000 worth of shopping vouchers.
One of the interesting social element to the campaign is that fans can be entered into the competition if their friends have visited one of the listed destinations. The Love UK page has a list of the top 50 activities or attractions and automatically includes details of any friends that have checked in beforehand.
Online satisfaction with travel websites is steadily beginning to improve, according to the eTravel Benchmark by eDigitalResearch. However, despite a strong performance online, overall results are still suffering with poor customer service and after sales care.
The study shows that overall online satisfaction with travel websites is slowly rising compared with the last wave, with the overall top score now standing at 83%. Yet, 48 out of the 51 sites surveyed are still providing telephone and email customer contact that requires urgent attention.
Lloyd Viney, Associate Director at eDigitalResearch explained that what sets apart sites that consistently perform well in their study time after time are those that not only provide consumers with a fantastic, user-friendly website, but reinforce this with excellent customer services.
Hotel agent, Laterooms.com topped the league tables for the first time with a good performance across all areas benchmarked, providing an exceptional example of industry best practice with a logical search process and responsive customer services. Overall, hotel agents were the highest performing sector, with rival Booking.com coming a very close second but let down by the sites booking process and navigation.
Leading UK airlines Virgin Atlantic and British Airways both cemented their positions in the top tier of the table with an increase in satisfaction across all areas of the study. However, the airline sector saw their overall results dragged down by budget carriers, with Ryanair, EasyJet and BMI Baby all failing to provide a strong brand message and adequate email and telephone contact.
Expedia have made the most dramatic improvement since the last set of results, jumping an impressive 29 places and into the top 5 after a 17% satisfaction increase with their email customer service. Princess Cruises also made a similar improvement, moving 24 places up also largely due to their email contact, cementing the vital role these touch points play.
The holiday camps and self catering sector entered the study for the first time, providing competition for other top websites. Center Parcs, Hoseasons and Butlin's all scored particularly well finishing in the top half of the table due to informative customer services. However, given the recent popularity with ‘stay at home' vacations, UK based companies still have some way to go to suitably rival their international counterparts online.(eDigitalResearch For informed direction, December 2010)
VisitBritain's main Twitter feed @VisitBritain is at number 42 in the latest international league table of companies listed under Influencers in Travels' "50 Most Influential Travel Related Companies Online" with a "Klout Score" of 63-The highest for a national tourism agency in the world.
The Klout score has been derived from Twitter activity around @VisitBritain and how it engages with the online travel community and its influencers. Importantly the score is based on a lot more than raw follower numbers, and includes a whole raft of engagement metrics that measure who you are talking to in terms of influence, what you are saying and how much people are talking about you.
VisitBritain is ahead of major leaders in the Twitter sphere such as @GoogleTravel, @VirginBlue, @LATimesTravel and travel influencers @Jaunted. It is also one of only two public sector bodies to feature in the table published on http://ht.ly/3oODi.
The highly influential position achieved by VisitBritain comes as the organisation plans to deliver the best global marketing campaign ever seen from the host country of an Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will build awareness of Britain amongst those who have never visited and revitalise Britain's appeal in the important American and near European markets. Social media will be core to this campaign and VisitBritain has developed a range of social media platforms including LoveUK on Facebook and @VisitBritainBiz its corporate news feed on Twitter. (TravelDailyNews, December 2010)
The UK's online shoppers show very little brand loyalty when it comes to booking holidays online, with 90% using a different travel provider every time they book, according to a report by Tealeaf, ‘The ebooker: understanding how travel customers use the web'.
The report contains a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, looking into their habits and motivations when booking holidays online. It suggests that providing excellent customer experience online can be the key differentiator.
The internet is now a key part of the holiday research and booking process. 37% of British adults said they conduct all of their holiday research online, and 26% make their booking online.
Holiday research online can be a lengthy, and most start their search two to four months in advance of purchase, visiting an average of four different travel sites during the process.
Online holiday bookers also require plenty of reassurance, as they revisit the website three to four more times before completing the transaction to double check details and build confidence in their choice. This suggests that travel websites need to make details clearer, and also provide clear contact details so they can answer any customer questions. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, November 2010)
VisitBritain's main Twitter feed, @VisitBritain, is in the top 20 in the latest league table of companies operating on this popular social media network, ahead of major commercial firms such as Virgin Media, LoveFilm, Dell and TopMan. Compiled by branded content agency Sutro Digital, the rankings are determined by the number of people who have signed up as "followers" receiving all the "tweets".
It is an invaluable way for VisitBritain to keep in touch with their customers, track what they are thinking, inform them about new events and launches and have fun while inspiring the world to explore Britain. In September 2010 alone, VisitBritain reached more than 720,000 people. (VisitBritain eNews - 10 November 2010, November 2010)
A study from London-based digital agency Total Media looked at how social media was influencing travel search and booking behaviour in the UK. The study was carried out among nearly 1,400 people to understand how smartphone devices were being used during the planning stages, pre-travel and during a trip. Some of the findings indicate alarmingly low usage still.
1. Search for holiday ideas using your mobile internet service? Male - 10.3% / Female - 5.5%
2. Search for travel prices using your mobile internet service? Male - 8.8% / Female - 4.8%
3. Search for travel information using your mobile internet service? Male - 9.3% / Female - 4.5%
4. Book travel using your mobile internet service? Male - 6.8% / Female - 5.5%
5. Check in to a flight using an airline's mobile internet website? Male - 10.3% / Female - 4.8%
6. Download an app to use on a trip? Male - 9.6% / Female - 4.8%
7. Signed up to text alerts from supplier website? Male - 8.8% / Female - 5.4%
8. Text friends to ask their opinion? Male - 28.4% / Female - 23.2%
9. Phone friends to ask their opinion? Male - 33.6% / Female - 32.8%
During an actual trip itself:
1. Search for places to go? Male - 10.5% / Female - 4%
2. Search for consumer reviews on places to go? Male - 8.5% / Female - 3.5%
3. Search for local events? Male - 7.5% / Female - 3%
4. Book additional travel? Male - 8.5% / Female - 2%
5. Check in to a flight? Male - 9.5% / Female - 3%
6. Checked flight times via airline website? Male - 10.5% / Female - 3.5%
7. Used maps? Male - 12% / Female - 6%
8. Checked sports scores? Male - 19% / Female - 6%
9. Checked news stories? Male - 14% / Female - 6%
10. Checked work emails? Male - 11% / Female - 4%
11. Check personal emails? Male - 19% / Female - 11%
12. Taken a photo? Male - 48% / Female - 56%
13. Uploaded a photo online? Male - 15% / Female - 13.5%
14. Taken a video? Male - 23% / Female - 23.5%
15. Used an app for destination information? Male - 10% / Female - 3%
16. Used an app for translation services? Male - 6% / Female - 3%
17. Phoned home? Male - 49% / Female - 56%
18. Sent an SMS home? Male - 45% / Female - 59%
19. Updated a social network profile? Male - 9.5% / Female - 6%
Some of these figures are extremely low - but mobile advocates around the industry would probably argue that the opportunity is already being illustrated, so to ignore it even at this early stage and with low take-up is dangerous.
Interestingly, when it comes to what types of features consumers would like to have in the future, destination information apps and sites and in-resort activity booking facilities were among some of the preferred uses. (tnooz - talking travel tech, November 2010)
VisitScotland has launched the world's first free ‘days out' iPhone app dedicated entirely to Scotland.
Produced in association with Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, the VisitScotland Days Out app capitalises on the Scottish staycation trend and the increasing popularity of days out on your doorstep. Recent research by Deloitte estimated the value of the Scottish days out market at £4.49 billion.
The pilot project is part of VisitScotland's latest Winter White campaign which closely targets the domestic markets - including people who live in Scotland already. Available for free from the iTunes store, the app offers inspiration to visitors and locals alike with an ‘Inspire Me' button which allows the user to type in their location, give the phone a shake and, fruit-machine style, the app will spit out ideas for things to see and do in the local vicinity. Launching well in time for Christmas, the new app comes at a time when Smartphone ownership has surged by more than 80%.
Alongside extensive information on days out from partners Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, VisitScotland Information Centres, ASVA attractions, and a selection of Quality Assured visitor attractions are all pre-loaded on to the app, as well as various seasonal offers from tourism businesses nationwide. And ‘aptly', in the Year of Food and Drink, 300 Eat Scotland venues are also hooked in with the initiative. (travelmole, November 2010)
Nearly 10% of Brits use Google Street View before choosing their holiday destination, according to a poll by coupon code and discount sites, www.CouponCodes4U.com, the figure reaches 34% among Americans.
Nearly a third of Americans said they had previously used the internet service Google Street View to check out the destination before deciding. The poll found:
- 21% of Americans said that it gave them a good idea as to whether they would like it
- a further 42% admitted they thought they would be able to tell if it was "good value for money" based on location and surroundings
- 51% said they would often compare destinations and prices before they made a decision
- 1 in 10 said they would wait for a last minute deal before booking a holiday, as this would make it cheaper
In contrast just 9% of Brits admitted using the service for their holidays, of these over half admitted that it wouldn't be the deciding factor and was merely a way of getting an idea of where they were going. Just fewer than 75% of Brits said that they thought that the weather was the most important factor in deciding where to go on holiday.
Mark Pearson, chairman of CouponCodes4U.com said that Google Street View can most definitely be a good way to pick a holiday destination, although he doesn't think anyone should ever base their decision purely on what they have seen on the site.
The company asked 6,286 Americans and 1,287 Brits how do they decide where they will go on holiday. (Travelmole, October 2010)
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, has launched a new website that gives customers from around the world a unique opportunity to be inspired to visit Britain. The site, in development for a year, is a key part of VisitBritain's digital strategy using social media, online content and mobile to enthuse potential visitors to Britain.
VisitBritain.com will be its main platform for communicating with its customers, focusing on serving up dynamic and personalised content tailored to the country the visitor comes from and written in their own language.
With 95% user generated image content throughout, the new version of visitbritain.com will provide an immersive, multilingual online experience, including the latest social media platforms and magazine-style travel features.
VisitBritain recognises that social media has become crucial in the way people decide which holiday to go on, and so syndication and aggregation are enabled within the site so that all content is available across a wide range of travel sites and blogs. (eyefortravel, June 2010)
VisitBritain has launched a new British Film Location app across all smart phones, including the iPhone. This coincided with the gala screening of Robin Hood in Nottingham. The new app includes a Google maps and Facebook integration system so users can find their favourite film locations, take a picture, and then post it on their social networking sites.
The app can be downloaded at http://visitbritain.com/robinhood. (VisitBritain eNews - Issue 45, 12 May 2010, May 2010)
VisitBritain has also launched their corporate Twitter account, @VisitBritainBiz. VisitBritain will provide regular tweets on the latest research and statistics, press/PR activities, industry events and opportunities. (VisitBritain eNews - Issue 45, 12 May 2010 and VisitBritain eNews - Issue 46, 26 May 2010, May 2010)
People in the UK searched for nearly 60,000 distinct search terms containing the word ‘luxury' over the 12 weeks ending 15/05/2010, according to Hitwise Intelligence. The company was expecting the list to be dominated by fashion related terms, but was surprised to see that three quarters of the top 20 terms were actually travel related, with ‘luxury holidays', ‘luxury cottages', ‘luxury hotels uk' and ‘luxury hotels' taking the top four places.
Although many of the people searching for luxury travel products end up on mainstream travel sites, specialist luxury travel sites do exist. They only account for a tiny proportion of total UK internet visits to travel websites (less than 1%), but the proportion has been gradually increasing over the three years. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2010)
Young people would rather sightsee from the comfort of their own homes than actually visiting other places, according to "The Future of Free Time" report commissioned by lastminute.com. The report says that young people are more likely to play computer games and indulge in social networking than enjoy leisure activities outside.
The report also indicates that perhaps worryingly, a new generation will reject travel altogether in favour of gaming, social networking and 'always on' media. The report worries that as in-home leisure is becoming more engaging, a group of young people will emerge who do not go out any more.
Futurologist Dr. Ian Yeoman reported that what they've seen in the last ten years is young people spending more time now on in-home entertainment and technology rather than travelling the world.
Patrick Hoffstetter, vice president at lastminute.com, believes that we all have a natural inclination to travel and explore, but the travel industry must remain innovative and embrace technology to remain exciting for a younger generation. In the future, in-home games will expand and compete more intensely with out-of-home free time.
The report concluded young people found out-of-home activity too "action poor". (travelmole, May 2010)
Online travel companies need to invest in consumer engagement to match retail expectations, according to the latest eTravel Benchmark Study from eDigitalResearch. The study featured online mystery shoppers to evaluate the end-to-end customer experience of 45 leading travel websites.
Customer service was the lowest performing category in the study. Low cost airlines were among the poorest performers, displaying basic booking sites supported by minimal human contact, while cruise operators and cross-channel ferries scored highly for customer service with customer queries dealt with quickly and effectively.
The highest rating was 80.1% (weighted average across all key customer journey measures) for Premier Inn, a new entrant into the Benchmark study with the inclusion of hotels. Premier Inn scored highly for first impressions, its easy and precise search function and overall booking process, but was weaker at initial research and telephone contact, with customers preferring more information and a quicker human response. Despite it being the best overall travel performer, its rating was still 7% below that of the highest scoring online retail brand, M&S.
Results of the study indicate that online travel organisations need to better engage with their customers in order to improve and match the performance of other sectors like the retail sector, according to Lloyd Viney, associate director of eDigitalResearch.
The biggest climbers from the last Benchmark study in November 2009 were Monarch and Eurotunnel, which both climbed 18 places. Monarch has made major improvements to its customer service with its telephone and email services rated 25% higher than the previous study. Eurotunnel has invested more in the front-end with large improvements noted for first impressions and initial research.
Online travel agents provided best practice in website performance, combining functionality with engaging content and using customer reviews to provide additional confidence in holiday selection. Virgin Holidays came second overall due to a good balance between informative content and inspirational imagery, backed up by a good customer star rating system.
Despite the overall improvements in website functionality, the online travel sector still has some way to go to catch the retail sector, which is the best cross-sector performer. While customer service is a key element that will help to close the gap, travel companies also need to better engage their customers.
The leading retailers are capturing and using consumer opinion to their advantage via online communities and product reviews. This is where online travel brands can gain ground, as this will dictate where further investment is needed, according to Viney. (eyefortravel, April 2010)
Holidaymakers are now booking trips based on online travel reviews rather than glossy publications, according to a survey conducted by TotalMedia, a UK-based media planning and buying agency.
Findings of the survey highlight that the traditional glossy brochure was expensive to produce and the travel industry has embraced e-commerce as a way of making the booking process far more cost effective.
Reviews written by strangers on independent websites such as TripAdvisor, search results on Google and word of mouth advice from family and colleagues are more influential than brochures, advertising, media reviews and advice from travel agents when it comes to booking holidays.
The survey of 1,375 consumers found that:
- About 25% now used online reviews by strangers to determine their travel plans
- 13% used travel programmes
- 11% used magazines and newspaper supplements.
The survey also found that almost half of travellers over 45 are using websites to recommend or warn fellow travellers by posting a review of their travel experiences online. Surprisingly, the age group least likely to use the internet to exchange views on holiday destinations were the "digital natives", 16 to 24 year olds, which means that middle age Britons, are shaping our views of the best hotels and holiday destinations at home and abroad. (See article on EyeForTravel and article on eTN eTurboNews Global Travel Industry News, March 2010)
The IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops list provides a unique insight into the top 50 UK e-retailers. The sixteenth quarterly edition, based on February 2010 rankings, saw a number of travel sites move up the rankings.
It's steady again at the top of the latest Hot Shops List, with the leading four brands retaining their dominance of the UK online shopping scene: Amazon.co.uk (1), Argos (2), Play (3) & Apple Computer (4). Amazon.com (5), Tesco (6) & John Lewis (8) all moved up one place with Easyjet (10) entering the top 10 by moving up 2 places. Marks & Spencer (7) fell two places and Next (9) dropped a single place.
The biggest movers this quarter were: Thomas Cook (15) moving up 31 positions, British Airways (31) moved up eleven places, The Trainline (24) and Thomson Holidays (11) both climbed ten.
Robin Goad from Experian Hitwise comments that with Christmas and sales shopping mostly out of the way and snow covering much of the country, during January British consumers turned their attention to planning and booking their summer holidays. Seven travel companies moved up the rankings, and easyJet re-entered the top 10. The big travel agencies did particularly well, with Thomas Cook moving 31 positions to 15th and Thomson Holidays 10 positions to 11th, one ahead of Expedia. There was minimal movement elsewhere in the top 10 and the top four remain unchanged. (Hitwise United Kingdom Newsletter - March 2010, March 2010)
An interactive online movie has been created to encourage more visitors to Blackpool. Users can upload their favourite pictures to The Movie's microsite www.blackpoolthemovie.com and automatically share their virtual adventure with friends and family online.
Blackpool: The Movie has been designed by Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board to encourage potential holidaymakers to visit the resort and to maximize internet chatter on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Youtube.
The trailer provides a tour of Blackpool's top attractions accompanied by a voiceover by the X Factor's Peter Dickson, allowing them to experience their family snaps transformed into a truly personal Blackpool trailer. By entering their family name and home town, users will see their personal details become an integral part of the trailer, appearing on billboards, posters and lighting up the sky alongside a pyrotechnic firework display. All entries will be entered into a prize draw and for one family to win annual passes to Blackpool attractions.
Mike Wilkinson of Lancashire Tourist Board said that Blackpool has made a name for itself as a destination which uses leading-edge technology to encourage tourists to visit Blackpool and Blackpool: The Movie marks an exciting venture into the new world of virtual tourism. (Travelmole, March 2010)
Britain's national tourism agency, VisitBritain has partnered with FindsYou.com, the UK-based online ‘find engine'. From April 2010, the FindsYou.com service will be available to VisitBritain users as part of the product search facility on the website www.visitbritain.com.
The new find engine allows accommodation seekers to post a ‘wanted' advert on the site, outlining exactly what they are looking for. FindsYou.com then matches the request with suitable accommodation providers who are then able to contact the user directly.
For the first six months, accommodation providers are being offered the service completely free of charge.
FindsYou.com CEO Guy Walker indiacted that their recent research shows that although the majority of people use the internet to source accommodation, they're increasingly disillusioned with faceless booking systems. The Findsyou.com service re-introduces the personal contact that most customers prefer. (EyeForTravel, February 2010)
Google UK has seen stronger growth in travel searches in January 2010 than in January 2009, according to the search engine reporting a 21% increase in queries and a 7% increase in clicks.
Google UK has also reported branded holiday queries such as ‘Thomas Cook holidays in Turkey' are growing at double the rate of non-branded. The trend demonstrates how consumers are looking for the reassurance and security of long-standing brands when looking to spend their holiday money.
Growth rates for luxury travel queries have caught up with budget travel terms in the past year, according to the figures. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, February 2010)
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, announced a free British Film Location App for iPhone and iPod touch is now available from the App Store. The app allows iPhone and iPod touch users to discover and photograph the most iconic British film locations in cinematic history. It also shows the most famous film scenes on Google maps and allows users to search by film title.
Users can plan an entire British film tour from the app, whether they're looking for Harry Potter's Hogwarts or one of the Braveheart battlefields. Each film location is accompanied by a detailed synopsis and description of how to find it.
VisitBritain has harnessed the power of films to enthuse visitors from around the world to explore Britain for many years. The agency's research indicates that 40% of potential visitors would be very likely to visit places they have seen in films or on TV.
The Great British Film Location App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at http://itunes.apple.com/app/british-film-locations/id341442910?mt=8.
The launch is part of VisitBritain's digital campaign around the forthcoming Sherlock Homes movie supported by a dedicated microsite. The Sherlock Holmes movie, starring Robert Downey Jr and directed by Guy Ritchie premiered in London on December 14 2009. (VisitBritain eNews - 6 January 2010, January 2010)
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 14:15