|Online Travel Market|
|Travel Industry Online Developments|
Mobile traffic is becoming increasingly significant for the travel industry, and hotels in particular. Google predicted that US hotel searches would be up 24% in 2013 overall, but that includes a 68% uplift in searches from mobile devices against a 4% decrease in desktop queries. Searches from tablets, in particular, were expected to increase by 180%.
Adobe Systems Inc.'s "Hotel Benchmarking Metrics" report found that actual visits are also tipping in tablets' favor. The study analyzed more than 300 million visits to 31 hotel websites worldwide in Q4 2012 (80% of which were for US properties), finding that nearly one-sixth of traffic to those sites came from mobile devices. Tablets garnered nearly 60% of those mobile visits.
Visits to mobile hotel websites worldwide, by device, Q4 2012 (% of total):
- Tablet: 58%
- Mobile phone: 41%
- Other: 1%
With tablet and smartphone usage increasing, consumer behaviors on each device are becoming more distinct. Tablet browsing is much more like PC usage than smartphone research, the latter of which tends to occur in last-minute, on-the-go situations. It shows in hotel research: According to the Adobe study, tablet users spent much more time on hotel websites, viewing an average of 4.9 pages per visit in Q4 2012, approximately the same as PC users. That's compared with hotel researchers on mobile phones who viewed an average of 3.4 pages per visit.
As hotel research goes, so goes travel research in general. Adobe's "Best of the Benchmark" study from January 2013 looked at the percentage of internet traffic to US websites coming from mobile devices across various industries, and found that travelers were inclined to utilize tablets more than consumers of any other product. Travel not only had the highest percentage of internet traffic coming from tablets at 11.2%, but it was also the only industry studied that actually saw more tablet traffic than smartphone traffic.
Smartphone vs. tablet internet traffic to average US websites in selected industries, January 2013 (% of total internet traffic):
- Media & entertainment: 11.6% (smartphone) / 6.9% (tablet)
- Travel & hospitality: 10.9% / 11.2%
- Retail: 10.7% / 10.1%
- Financial services: 7.2% / 4.5%
- High tech: 3.7% / 2.2%
That's not to say travel shoppers aren't using smartphones-10.9% of website traffic to travel and hospitality websites (not just hotels) came from those devices, making travel the industry that saw the second-highest percentage of web traffic coming from smartphones among all industries in Adobe's study. Retail was the only other sector with more than 20% of its overall traffic coming from mobile devices. (eMarketer, June 2013)
Internet users in the US generate 66.3% of global searches for luxury hotel brands with New York securing the No. 1 spot as the most-searched for destination.
Russia saw the most growth in searches since 2012 with 12.8% growth. Also, Britain saw 8.4% growth and China saw 3.3% growth, while the US saw 5% growth.
Markets such as Italy, Brazil and Japan saw a decline in luxury hotel brand searches from last year of 14.3%, 12.1 % and 11.1%, respectively.
Seventy-five percent of the luxury hotel brands studied originate in the US and 85% of global luxury hotel searches are for brands in English-speaking countries.
New York is the most-searched for luxury hotel destination. London, Dubai and Paris are also popular cities in luxury hotel searches. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, June 2013)
Travel companies need to appeal more to female travellers, after a new survey revealed that the vast majority of holidays are researched and booked by women.
The poll of 1,000 international travellers by search site Skyscanner revealed that almost three quarters of women said they do most of the research when it comes to planning a holiday, with just 9% claiming their partner does it.
Of the men who admitted their partner did the research, a third admitted their partner was better at it and could find better deals, while 10% said they were simply too lazy.
Approximately 20% of male respondents said they believe their partners enjoy doing the research more than they do, and a similar proportion thinks their partners are fussier. This was backed up by the fact that less than a quarter of female respondents said they would be happy to let their partner make all the holiday decisions.
But men are apparently happy with this arrangement; 97% of male respondents said they were content with the status quo, while 95% of women agreed.
The Skyscanner survey backs up recent research by Amadeus, which identified females booking travel as one of its ‘Big Four Travel Affects'. Speaking with Travel Daily recently, David Brett, president of Amadeus Asia Pacific, said that the rise in travel websites and social media has led to a shift in the booking dynamic and that women tend to be a lot more detailed, they dig a bit deeper and ask more questions. (Traveldaily Asia, June 2013)
The internet continues to revolutionize the basic principles of hotel marketing, and new data suggest that the impact of social media on the hospitality industry is growing at a pace equivalent to technology itself.
Here are a few key social media trends:
- Word-of-mouth is quickly morphing into word-of-mouth-and-image: Kissmetrics reports that YouTube is second only to Google in internet search engines, attracting 300 million users every week, while Facebook touts 2.5 billion photos uploads a month. Visual information, once reserved for very specific uses, is now common parlance, preferred by millions.
- Travellers never leave home without social media: More than half of today's travelling population (52%, according to MDG Advertising) relies on social media for inspiration when planning a vacation, and even more get social once they arrive; A Marriot survey indicates that 74% of travelers use social media while vacationing. MDG Advertising tags Facebook as the most popular source of travel inspiration, with 29% of users, followed by Trip Advisor, with 14%.
- Facebook still reigns, but Instagram holds the key to the kingdom: Now that Facebook has acquired Instagram and integrated the platform, Instagram users, who post a daily 40 million photos, can direct all their "liked" photos to their Facebook feeds automatically; and 98% of the Interbrand Top 100's Instagram photos have been shared to Facebook, according to Simply Measured.
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2013)
Google's integration of user-driven information into its search results is especially apparent in the travel space. Google+ has a growing worldwide footprint, and research shows the network's rising influence during the travel planning phase.
According to TripAdvisor's ‘TripBarometer', which surveyed more than 15,000 travelers worldwide in January 2013, 40% of respondents that had used social media sites to research and plan their last trip looked to Google+, making it the second most popular social network after Facebook for travel research.
Social media sites used to research and plan their last trip according to internet uesrs worldwide, January 2013 (% of respondents):
- Facebook: 76%
- Google+: 40%
- Twitter: 21%
- Flickr: 7%
- Instagram: 7%
- Myspace: 6%
- Pinterest: 6%
- orkut: 4%
- Other: 25%
In addition, 22% of respondents to TripAdvisor's survey said they found Google+ to be the most useful social network for travel planning. By comparison, only 6% of travellers combined said they found Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram the most useful social networks for this activity.
Most useful and trustworthy social media sites when planning their last trip according to internet users worldwide, January 2013 (% of respondents):
- Facebook: 54% (useful) / 48% (trustworthy)
- Google+: 22% / 24%
- Twitter: 4% / 5%
- Flickr: 1% / 2%
- Instagram: 1% / 1%
- Myspace: - / 1%
- orkut: - / 1%
- Pinterest: 1% / 1%
- Other: 16% / 18%
Many marketers and digital industry players contend that the Google+ user base (some 343 million internet users worldwide in Q4 2012, according to GlobalWebIndex) is smoke and mirrors, and that many people are not engaging the site like a traditional social network. Whether that's the case, the site's nomenclature has little bearing on its influence for travel research. Google+ continues to integrate content (including photos from travelers, travel brands and destinations, along with user reviews from Zagat) into an increasingly larger space on the right side of the search engine results pages. When users click in that space, they're rerouted to a Google+ Local Page, and they're "using" Google+ whether they realize it or not. Additionally, Google+ detractors tend to take a US-centric view, and indeed, penetration is quite low in the US, at only 6% of internet users, according to GlobalWebIndex data from Q2 2012. Worldwide, penetration goes much deeper. More than 25% of internet users in 17 different countries accessed or posted on Google+ at least once a month that quarter-that includes more than 100 million users in China, more than 40 million in India, and more than 20 million each in Brazil and Indonesia. (eMarketer, May 2013)
Internet users in urban China led other regions in accessing online travel content
Metro China led other international regions in accessing online travel content, according to an October online survey of 1,000 residents by consultancy KPMG.
When KPMG looked at how urban China's internet use stacked up against other regions surveyed around the world, it became even more evident how engaged this contingent is by the web. Metro China led other international regions in music listening, at an overall 77% penetration rate. International news was also extremely popular, accessed by 69% of internet users, and perhaps a reflection of difficulty finding reliable domestic news sources. Metro China also led in accessing online games, sports content, TV and movie streaming, digital books, editorials and podcasts.
Travel online content accessed by internet users in selected countries/regions, October 2012 (% of respondents in each group):
- TOTAL: 43%
- Metro China: 57%
- Singapore: 54%
- Australia: 44%
- Metro Brazil: 40%
- Europe*: 40%
- North America: 31%
* Germany, Spain, UK.
(eMarketer, April 2013)
With the internet now the preferred booking platform for an estimated one in six Middle Eastern travelers, the majority of discussion and analysis for many attending the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in 2013 will centre on the profiling and engagement of new regional audiences online.
In preparation for the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Wego (one of the leading travel metasearch site in the Middle East and Asia Pacific) is sharing some interesting data on the rapidly expanding Middle Eastern online travel market.
The region's users are young (between 25 and 35 years old), a third are female and most hold a professional or managerial position powered by internet-enabled devices. Travel plans tending to be for family groups are decided jointly, with an enormous appetite shown for new and alternative destinations to the regular hotspots, on the most part for leisure travel.
According to Wego, Google Analytics and Effective Measure - March 2013:
- 32% female
- 46% making joint purchasing decisions with partners
- 40% 25-35 years old
- 57% in households of over 5 people
- 32% accessing Wego from a mobile device
- 3,500 different destinations explored online for flights and hotels
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, April 2013)
An infographic from RedRocketMedia reveals some interesting fact about content influence in travel industry. Some of the statistics they feature include:
- 55% are influenced by online searches
- Websites that publish vacation reviews are most popular amongst travellers based in EMEA, USA, and APAC.
- Holiday pictures are the most shared content on and after vacation
- Half of travellers download these apps before their holiday: Guide books, weather and restaurant
- During holiday, 33% browse the web for trip research
- One-third of travellers would create content if they thought it would benefit their friends/family.
(tnooz, March 2013)
20% of destination marketing organisation (DMO) website traffic comes from mobile, that compares with almost 11% in late 2011, according to a research from a Travel 2.0 report on how travellers are engaging with destination via mobile based on Google analytics data on how various tourism organisation websites do for mobile traffic. The report also says DMOs can expect at least a 90% increase in mobile traffic this year and a 180% increase in tablet traffic.
Other findings show that:
- 42% of travellers who use a smartphone to access a DMO site are looking for things to do in destination, 34% event information, 11% contact information and 5% accommodation.
- Nearly 70% of all mobile traffic to DMO sites comes from iOS devices.
When you look at traveller behaviour via mobile on tourism organisation sites, the story seems fairly consistent with overall trends for mobile and travel:
- For example, travellers on mobile phones are looking for what is happening now (within just over a day) while it it less time-sensitive for tablet users (more than 14 days).
- They also plan about 1.7 days in advance on a phone compared to about 20 days in advance on a tablet and the majority of mobile visits to destination sites come from the destination itself.
- They spend more time and look at more pages on a tablet, 2.45 minutes compared with 1.48 minutes, and are also looking at more generic content while via phone usage is, as you might expect, more around instant content such as events. This is supported by the top search phrases in mobile search - things to do in ... and events in ... from phones compared to destination name and state followed by destination name from tablets.
It's hard to assess the impact of optimised mobile destination sites on users because 61% say they move on quickly if they don't find what they're looking for. However, if the information is relevant visit duration is increased by 78% for optimised sites.
The research is based on Google Analytics data for website visits from mobile devices for 42 tourism organisations. (tnooz, January 2013)
The way passengers buy travel services and use self-service along their journey is changing dramatically, fuelled by innovation in IT, according to a report by SITA titled ‘Flying into the Future'. Journeys will take place in a fully mobile and social environment with airlines and airports intelligently using vast quantities of data to deliver real service and operational improvements.
SITA listed some of the major trends that will shape the future of global air travel:
- The way passengers buy travel will change. By 2015, both airlines and airports expect the web and the mobile phone to be the top two sales channels. Passengers are asking for a more personalised buying experience, and the industry is responding.
- Passengers will take more control. By 2015, 90% of airlines will offer mobile checkin - up from 50% today. Passengers will use 2D boarding passes or contactless technology such as Near Field Communications (NFC) on their phones, at different stages of their journey, such as at boarding gates, fast-track security zones and to access premium passenger lounges.
- Customer services will become more mobile and social. By 2015, nine out of ten airlines and airports will provide flight updates using smart phone apps.
- The passenger experience will improve thanks to better business intelligence. By 2015, more than 80% of airports and airlines will invest in business intelligence (BI) solutions. Most will focus on improving customer service and satisfaction, often through personalised services.
(Travelmole, February 2013)
EyeforTravel has produced a short video detailing the latest key online travel consumer trends to watch - view it here. The findings come from consumer research survey of 8,400 consumers from the USA, UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Some of the findings show that:
- The number of people who book last minute in the US is rapidly increasing.
- The most popular way to use social media in the US is to share travel photos and videos.
- Mobile devices (including tablets) account for over 20% of travel bookings in the USA.
- The Dutch are the most organised travellers, with 73% having bought their travel up to a month in advance.
- 57% of Dutch respondents said they are influenced by positive user generated content.
- 55% of travel company directors said that they plan to increase their social media budget in Q3, 2012.
(EyeforTravel, November 2012)
More than three fourths of travellers turn to social networks to find some type of shopping-related deal, and 30% specifically seek out travel-related deals, according to PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel 2012: Social Networks and Traveler Reviews Report.
However, travel suppliers that have implemented booking tools, widgets or full-fledged booking engines within Facebook have so far reported mixed results, citing a range of challenges. Most significantly, travellers do not appear to engage in social networks with the primary intent of shopping or purchasing travel, as they would when using search or travel sites. While internet users are accustomed to using Facebook to share their travel photos and stories, making purchases is another matter. (PhoCusWright, September 2012)
Travel is increasingly about depth rather than breadth of experience. Technologies such as augmented reality (AR), gamification mechanisms and smart mobile devices will transform the travel experience, according to findings from the ‘From Chaos to Collaboration' Report developed by The Futures Company, commissioned by Amadeus.
The report details a shift where service-users become partners rather than customers, and where context is as important as the transaction. At the heart of this new era of collaboration is a set of discrete 'enabling' technologies and innovations.
Other key findings include:
- Payment with memory: All data on payments made before and during a trip will be integrated, acting as a digital memory of expenditure and activity for individuals, groups and travel industry operators. Intelligent passenger records, 'digital breadcrumbs' and contactless technologies could be used to personalise and bundle services delivering higher value and more profitable relationships.
- Intelligent recommendation: As technologies make it easier for people to tag and review all aspects of travel experiences, travellers will be more influenced by peer groups and expert curators. The prospect of personal travel guides and mobile tour representatives will give travellers the tools they need to enrich their experience.
(Singapore Tourism Board Industry Update - P@SSPORT April 2012 edition, April 2012)
The use of advanced destination selection and content customization tools to attract and inspire consumers earlier in the travel planning process is key to gaining competitive edge in the years ahead, according to a study on online travel shopping behaviour released by Amadeus "Empowering inspiration: the future of travel search".
The Amadeus-commissioned study, conducted by PhoCusWright Inc., surveyed 4,638 travellers in the US, UK, Germany, India, Russia, and Brazil. Although the travellers under review are not representative of the mainstream consumer, they have the most sophisticated shopping needs and represent the early adopters whose current behaviours and preferences are leading indicators of behaviour in the future.
Key findings include but are not limited to:
- The frustrations and pain points travellers face when planning and booking travel: all consumers face frustrations during the destination, shopping and booking process, however, those in emerging markets are more frustrated than their developed counterparts. For example in the shopping process, 47% of US travellers experience frustration online, compared to over 78% of Russian travellers. This is due to information overload and the lack of confidence that they are getting a good deal.
- New ways in which travellers would like to search for travel: in the developed markets, nearly 50% of travellers had a particular place in mind, whereas in the emerging markets, it was only about a third of travellers. More than four in ten travellers across the markets are flexible about travel dates, thus tools that help determine where and which travel dates have the lowest price have widespread appeal.
- How travellers want to use mobile devices and social networks when planning and sharing travel experiences: Three in ten travellers in Europe currently have no interest in using their mobile phones for travel-related activities, but US consumers show levels of interest comparable to emerging markets for mobile features such as alerts, check-in, etc. Mobile device usage for travel is more than twice as common in emerging markets, most notably in India, where nearly 24% of travellers research destinations online on their phones.
Looking ahead, the report also looks at how new technologies may change travel planning in the future, including but not limited to:
- The truly private ¨private sale¨: marketplaces around the world have been flooded with promotions, deals, and now flash sale brands that tout discounts with no context of whether an individual would be interested in the product. As consumer segmentation and behavioural targeting to consumers becomes more sophisticated, sellers will be able to microtarget promotions to specific consumers, offering products that are actually relevant for the buyer.
- Cumulative ¨intelligence¨: with hundreds of options, online shoppers are overloaded. Eventually, programs will learn from an individual's behaviour over time by observing and aggregating common patterns. Micro-segmentation will help companies analyze behaviour and deliver increasingly intelligent results.
- Smart systems and virtual private assistant: devices will become smart and interconnected, and will store and make sense of information consumers look at. The program will recognize and process inputs from the sites consumers visit and what they do on them, and will act as an assistant on the consumer's behalf.
Amadeus commissioned this study to understand how consumers will search for travel in the future. They wish to understand the developments that look set to affect both the future of travel search and the success of travel sellers' business. Stephane Durand, Director Online & Leisure at Amadeus believes that we stand at the forefront of a technological evolution in travel that Amadeus refer to as Online Travel 3.0 which recognizes the power shift from suppliers to retailers and to end consumers. He believes that there are clear opportunities for travel sellers to inspire and convert consumers while alleviating degrees of frustrations along the way. For example, the use of advanced destination selection and content customization tools to attract and inspire consumers earlier in the travel planning process is key to gaining competitive edge in the years ahead. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, February 2012)
Travellers in the US and Europe are increasingly turning to traveller review websites when choosing a leisure travel destination, according to the recent PhoCusWright report, Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2011. But while the influence of travel review websites is growing, travellers in some markets still prefer to get their reviews from online travel agencies (OTAs).
PhoCusWright studied travellers who selected at least one leisure travel destination independently in the past twelve months (i.e., destination selectors). In 2011, a larger share of destination selectors in the US, France, Germany and the UK visited a travel review website when choosing their last leisure destination compared to the previous year.
For example, 21% of both French and German travellers visited a traveller review website in 2011, versus 13% and 14%, respectively, in 2010. In the European markets, travellers were also increasingly likely to rate travel review websites as slightly or very influential.
But while travellers in France and the UK are more likely to be influenced by traveller review websites (the latter by a large margin), reviews on OTA websites continue to dominate in the US and Germany. (PhoCusWright, January 2012)
In late 2010, Mark Mattson (a former university professor now writing software solutions for the travel industry through TravelTools) and his team interviewed 650 destination marketing organizations to determine what they had in the way of tools for delivering web content to visitors. By tools, they mean utilities such as interactive maps, itinerary builders, or calendars of events. They also asked about organizational tool selection processes and who operated new tool purchases after they were acquired. Tnooz published their inventory - Rough Guide to Tourism Websites and Technology - in January 2011.
They found that resources made less impact than they originally estimated. While funding directly impacted the number and sophistication of the tools that a DMO could afford, it had little to do with overall satisfaction or success in reaching organizational goals. As it turned out, dissatisfaction surrounded peripheral issues to funding such as vendor and technology lock-in, inadequate staffing and institutional inertia brought about by policies and oversized egos. (tnooz - talking travel tech, December 2011)
Four out of ten international visitors (38%) choose their destination based on friends & relatives' recommendation in 2011. The viral channel remains the first driver in travellers' decision making, according to global benchmarking survey TRAVELSAT©.
Review and online opinions are essential to consumers in the travel-planning process and recent studies continue to show the trend that wants active social and mobile consumers preferring peer, independent reviews over the traditional channels and marketing campaigns.
Top ten factors - What mostly prompted your decision to choose this destination? (Provisional 2011 data - 15,000+ international tourists from 30+ markets and visiting a destination for the first time):
1. Friends or relatives recommendation: 38%
2. World renowned must-see destination: 32%
3. Information on the web: 22%
4. Cheap deal / special offer: 15%
5. Geographically close destination: 14%
6. Travel agency recommendation: 8%
7. Article in a magazine / newspaper: 6%
8. Movie realized in the country: 5%
9. Appealing advertising on it: 5%
10. Heard about in the TV news: 2%
TRAVELSAT© Competitive Index is a global and independent survey benchmarking international tourists' experience and satisfaction in a standard way for all destinations, markets and traveller segments. It monitors 80+ Satisfaction Indexes for over 200 destinations, markets and segments, based on representative opinion of tourists who experienced the destination. (aboutourism, October 2011)
A massive 60% of travel industry marketing gurus still rank search as the number 1 way to drive traffic, according to stats from EyeForTravel's "Travel Distribution & Marketing Barometer" report.
Globally, organic search is the most influential marketing channel for online travel marketing followed by paid search, then good old email marketing, social media, meta search and lastly mobile marketing.
There are massive fluctuations across the different verticals within travel and across the size of the organisations. For instance 43% of cruise companies rank email marketing as the most influential marketing channel whereas for hotels it is only 13%.
In companies with a marketing budget of over US$ 51 million, 84% see search as the key, whereas only 44% of small travel companies (those with marketing budgets below US$25,000) rank search as the most influential channel.
In terms of regional differences, the most influential marketing channels are roughly the same across the world. However when we dig into the figures the marketing executives in each country show a huge variation in preference. German marketers love organic search, the Brits love paid, Italian marketers don't like email but are the world's lovers of mobile marketing. (EyeForTravel, April 2011)
For social media campaigns, about 80% of marketers said that they produced Twitter campaigns and social media promotions in-house, but such functions as search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are largely outsourced, according to the results of the study "2011 Travel Industry Benchmarking: Marketing ROI, Opportunities, and Challenges in Online and Social Media Channels for Destination and Marketing Firms" by Cornell Professor Rohit Verma, executive director of the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), and Ken McGill, executive vice president of research for Vantage Strategy.
Accommodation firms are more likely to outsource all social media functions, including pay-per-call, Twitter campaigns, and pay-per-click management. Destination marketers, on the other hand, generally handle more functions in-house. (Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, April 2011)
Google says two-thirds of businesses now plan their travel using search engines, with smart phone bookings rising 69% just in 2010.
Nate Bucholz of Google told reporters at a conference that the internet has overtaken word of mouth as the primary medium for businesses choosing destinations.
He added that 69% of businesses (compared to 63% of consumers) plan travel by searching the internet, visiting an average of 22 sites before deciding on a destination. Meanwhile, mobile travel bookings accounted for 15% of all reservations in 2010, up 69% from 2009, when around nine percent used the medium, according to Corporate & Incentive Travel. (Travelmole, February 2011)
According to many recent studies, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are facing intriguing challenges to provide quality information online in an era of information overload. Insufficient knowledge of tourist's online information preferences and search behaviour has hindered them from effective information management. A local or regional DMO website should help to promote not only the destination as a whole, but also hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, theatre, sports, activities in the destination itself. Ideally it would be possible to buy or reserve this through the DMO website. However, with websites such as Tripadvisor, WAYN, Google Maps, Facebook, etc., many people question the role of DMO/NTO/CVB's websites in 10 years from now. Following the latest developments on the field, it's hard to ignore the fact that DMOs need to go where the consumer is, instead of convincing the consumer to come to them.
To compete with the commercial websites, DMO websites should be comprehensive and give visitors all the tools they need such us mash up maps, live web cams & YouTube video channels and a Flickr image gallery to capture the special elements of the destination. DMO websites also need to act as one-stop-shops for the visitors by providing a wide range of information for the destination's product mix as well as centralized hotel & event tickets reservation systems. Moreover, DMO websites need real time and social content to establish collaboration with people who have a personal or commercial interest in assisting potential travelers to visit a destination.
Five essential principles for DMO websites:
1. Look Good (= nice & simple): Creative web design is all about making a website visually appealing. A visually appealing website is a site that is easy to read, easy to navigate. To create a site that visitors will not click away from immediately, follow some basic design standards, and think about the usability and accessibility of the design.
2. Content (was) is (and will be) the King!: The content on your site is your vehicle to present your message and portray your brand. And if you offer the ability to book online or at least direct customers to contact info, the content might be the last stand between you and a booking. Qualitative & diverse information, trip planning tools, attractive visual material including video & photo sharing applications, multilingual content, B2B & Press sections and efficient SEO saturation/meta-tags are all "must" elements of a successful DMO website.
3. Engage Your Audience!: Identify your visitors' social activities:
- 57% of DMO website users read travel written reviews
- 32% of DMO site users post ratings and reviews
- 43% of users visit travel-related forums
What we want to accomplish:
- Promote your brand
- Increase site visitation
- Increase bookings and online transactions
- Encourage repeat visitation
How this will change your relationship with customers?:
- Forge and strengthen connections with users
- Customers will know your destination much better
- Improved perception of authenticity of brand
- Empower users to become brand evangelists
4. Don't Forget SEO: In search engine marketing, travel business is a well known category which is vast with a big competition in online marketing. From bookings of flights to hotel reservations, it is estimated that 70% of all flights are booked online through websites. So, we can easily assume this big on line competition. There are many DMOs and travel companies having websites on web offering online travel deals and holiday offers. Every website has its own unique range of products, services & travel solutions and likes to be in top search engine placements with their offers.
There is a big challenge here for an SEO as searches on travel related keywords and phrases are very high, even a small travel key phrase has a big amount of search counts on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Msn (Live). So, a travel website requires more hard work, good strategy and regular implementations for getting high search engines rankings. read more at: Search engine optimization for travel websites
5. Convert!: Conversion strategies are the plans needed to convert a looker into a buyer! Your Website Design & Content, the Use of Social Media and your SEO strategy should all be part of your overall on-line marketing strategy. Without one, the typical conversion rate for a website is about 2% of visitors. This is not only about selling hotels, tickets to cultural events, tourist attractions, museums, sport activities etc but to sell your own products as well (city pass, walking tours, souvenirs etc).
The Jamaican tourism board says it has created the world's first destination video filmed entirely in 3D, a project which has been in development for most of 2010.
Due for release in January 2011, VisitJamaica enlisted UK-based travel video content production company Exposure4 to create a three and a half minute clip to showcase the island from the viewpoint of the country's iconic national bird, Doctor Bird.
Originally conceived in January this year, Exposure4 eventually spent three weeks on the island using two synchronised cameras mounted on a new 3D double camera rig. The footage follows the bird from sunrise to sunset, taking in the beaches, rainforest and some of the activities available to visitors to the island.
In a neat marketing idea from the tourism board, visitors to the website can pre-order some Jamaica-branded 3D glasses ahead of the film's release next month. The film will be shown in cinemas around the world, but in a technique known as anaglyph 3D the film will be viewable on any screen, laptop or mobile with the glasses.
VisitJamaica says the project was "incredibly challenging and rewarding" but is extremely pleased with the "visually stunning" results. (tnooz talking travel tech, December 2010)
Online search engines continue to dominate the travel industry with two out of three leisure travellers (66%) and 59% of business travellers using them to research travel, according to a Travelport report "The Well Connected Traveller - the changing face of today's travel consumers". Airline websites are the second most frequently visited (40% of both business and leisure travellers), followed by hotel sites (36% of both business and leisure travellers). Destination sites are popular with both leisure and business travellers, with 40% of leisure travellers and 32% of business travellers using these sites to book their last trip.
Type of website used by online business and leisure travellers worldwide to research their last trip, 2010:
- Search engine: 59% (among business travellers) / 66% (among leisure travellers)
- Airline website: 40% / 40%
- Hotel website: 36% / 36%
- Websites of the destination visiting: 32% / 40%
- Travel websites (eg TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide): 29% / 31%
- Online travel agency: 26% / 25%
- Website of a high street travel agent: 16% / 15%
- Car rental website: 14% / 11%
- Social networking website: 11% / 10%
The appeal and popularity of destination websites may stem from the fact that they have invested in search engine optimisation or perhaps it is because they provide portals with links to many other sites. Travellers are looking for a mix of inspiration about what they might do, along with practical information about climate, customs and more. Destination sites wisely offer this type of navigation, connecting visitors with all a destination has to offer. The philosophy behind destination sites is subtly different from that of commercial travel websites in that its aim is to guide or simply provide direction but not capture and retain customers. This approach could be a profitable service option for other travel providers.
Travelport engaged The Futures Company to conduct global research into the whole end-to-end travel process consumers undertake from inspiration to shopping and booking to post trip evaluation. The survey was conducted in early 2010 among more than 12,000 people in 12 countries around the world.
More respondents indicated willingness to adopt new ways of communicating in order to reduce some travel, and also to enhance productivity and efficiency while on the road, according to findings from research produced by American Express Business Travel in collaboration with the Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM). 90% of respondents also believe North America and Western Europe are leading the way with adoption of webcasts, telepresence, and video-conferencing.
The research shows variation when it comes to how, when and why to use it:
- 48% of travellers say ROI from face-to-face is significantly higher than conducting a meeting via alternative methods
- 59% of travellers are offered options for internal meetings, as buyers aim to help employees stay within policy and achieve business objectives
- 63% of buyers cite cost reduction as the number one reason to adopt new technology within business travel over the past three years, and 32% of travellers say continued cost reduction to bottom line will have biggest impact over the next three years
- 34% of travellers and 27% of buyers believe productivity was a key component in the decision-making process to offer technology alternatives to travel over the past three years
(Travel Industry Wire, September 2010)
Google recently reported that 64% of leisure travellers and 65% of business travellers use search engines to begin their travel planning, exemplifying just how key search marketing is. (tnooz - talking travel tech, September 2010)
According to travel market research firm PhocusWright, social networking is one of the most powerful forces driving travel planning today. The firm found that social media use among travellers is growing far faster than the travel industry itself. Unique monthly visitors to social travel sites jumped 34% between the first half of 2008 and the last half of 2009.
comScore recently announced that TripAdvisor, with 35,382,000 unique monthly visitors, has become the #1 most popular travel website, surpassing Expedia by over 2 million visits.
PhocusWright also found that Facebook users who are referred to travel booking sites are far more likely to book travel than those who are referred via search engines like Google.
As many as 86% of travellers using search engines in their planning efforts, SEM and SEO still play a critical role in creating awareness and driving traffic to travel sites. But they are more of a gateway than a decision driver. (Mediapost.com, August 2010)
A survey conducted by travel social network WAYN for the World Travel & Tourism Council shows an interesting picture of use of digital in travel. The study, carried out in conjunction with Frommer's Budget Travel magazine, asked nearly 3,580 people (780 US, 2800 non-US) a range of questions about how they plan, book and use technology with travel.
Which of the following do you use most frequently when travelling?
- Mobile maps: 56% (US) and 63% (non-US)
- Social networks: 38% (US) and 64% (non-US)
- Virtual/3D tourism: 30% (US) and 27% (non-US)
- Blogs: 32% (US) and 22% (non-US)
- Podcasts: 9% (US) and 7% (non-US)
- Virtual worlds: 0% (US) and 10% (non-US)
- RSS feeds: 7% (US) and 11% (non-US)
When planning a trip, how many websites do you usually visit?
- 1: 1% (US) and 5% (non-US)
- 2-5: 34% (US) and 48% (non-US)
- 6-10: 35% (US) and 27% (non-US)
- 11-15: 10% (US) and 7% (non-US)
- 16-20: 4% (US) and 3% (non-US)
- 20+: 16% (US) and 10% (non-US)
Which of the following do you use when travelling overseas?
- Onboard wifi: 11% (US) and 31% (non-US)
- Twitter: 3% (US) and 17% (non-US)
- Facebook: 21% (US) and 63% (non-US)
- Phone booking: 3% (US) and 16% (non-US)
- Metasearch engines: 41% (US) and 8% (non-US)
- Digital guides: 12% (US) and 24% (non-US)
- Location GPS apps: 12% (US) and 25% (non-US)
- Read/update blogs: 28% (US) and 22% (non-US)
Which of these services would you try with a trusted provider?
- Booking via mobile: 53% (US) and 76% (non-US)
- Paying for in-flight web: 37% (US) and 43% (non-US)
- Barcode check-in: 66% (US) and 43% (non-US)
One of the interesting elements of the survey is that the US respondents came from the Budget Travel audience, whereas the non-US were all WAYN members, perhaps signifying the differences in adoption on the social-type questions. (tnooz.com, August 2010)
According to travel market research firm PhocusWright, social networking is one of the most powerful forces driving travel planning today. The firm found that social media use among travelers is growing far faster than the travel industry itself. Unique monthly visitors to social travel sites jumped 34% between the first half of 2008 and the last half of 2009.
The company found that Facebook users who are referred to travel booking sites are far more likely to book travel than those who are referred via search engines like Google. That's the power of "wisdom of friends," which was a key factor behind TripAdvisor's new Trip Friend initiative. TripAdvisor, which attracts 34 million unique users a month and houses more than 35 million traveler reviews, worked very closely with Facebook to create the Trip Friends application. Trip Friends harnesses the concept of Facebook's social graph to enable trip planners to get travel reviews and ask questions of trusted friends. The company reasoned that you'll pay a lot more attention to the advice of like-minded acquaintances than complete strangers. (eTN eTurboNews - Global Travel Industry News, June 2010)
The team at Ideahatching.com has pull together the following quick tips for Twittering in travel and tourism.
The Twitter Do's:
1. Use Twitter. Google indexes Twitter Feeds and drives traffic to your website!
2. Strategize. Plan ahead with an editorial schedule to tie in with planned events, promotions, etc.
3. Be consistent with profile information i.e. using brand "http://www.twitter.com/acoupleofchicks" or "http://twitter.com/HfxNovaScotia" as name, URL, descriptor.
4. Use your ‘brand' as graphic background; see ex: http://twitter.com/BayOfFundy.
5. Use 3&3 rule - three tweets and three re-tweets per day. (but make sure it is authentic)
6. Tweet smart; tweet at different times throughout the day; use ‘pending tweets' functionality to schedule tweets outside of your work day but in time zones relevant to potential target audiences.
7. Use auto-welcomes i.e. "Thank you for following Tourism Fredericton - your source for things to see and do in Fredericton, the Provincial Capital of New Brunswick. Want to find out even more about what's happening? Check out our other Twitter feeds...." note: auto follows are not always a "do" but for Destinations a good practice
8. Tweet using your targeted keywords.
9. Use pics and website URL's (remember to use URL shortener like tinyurl.com).
10. Proper Twitter etiquette is to follow those who follow you - but be cautious of "cleaning" your list of who you follow regularly.
11. Follow your competitors and their followers.
12. Speak and engage with your audience; Differentiate yourselves from being broadcasters (i.e. online newspapers on Twitter) to rich content providers. (this is a key point!)
13. Link to your Twitter feeds (& show them on your site) from all that you do online & offline; see: http://www.travelportland.com/visitors/twitter.html and http://www.halifaxsociable.com
14. Follow other DMO's or destinations and don't be afraid of some back and forth conversation - could spark something interesting!
15. Follow partners in your communities; Hotels, attractions etc already on Twitter and reach out and engage with them
16. Have fun! Bring out your inner quirky-self. (the Chicks certainly have!!!) Check out some of our other Chicks on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hrmchick - we are a quirky bunch!
Twitter Don't Do's:
PCMag's Top 13 Don'ts:
1. Don't live-tweet TV shows.
2. Don't say anything that could get you fired or prevent you from getting a job.
3. Don't be boring.
4. Don't forget the Twitter lingo: RT is retweet, and @name is how you respond or give props to someone.
5. Don't tweet more than ten times a day, or more than five times an hour.
6. Don't reply to every single tweet.
7. Don't tweet drunk.
8. Don't tell us about something cool or life-changing without a link or picture.
9. Don't retweet something and leave off the original Twitter poster.
10. Don't ignore people who send you a direct message or a reply.
11. Don't #hashtag every topic.
12. Don't whine about people not following you.
13. Don't tweet your bathroom habits.
Ideahatching.com also added the following other Twitter don't do's:
14. don't respond to everything too quickly (although tempting) think and then tweet.
15. don't twitter stalk (don't be offended if you don't get a response to every tweet you send or RT you offer up).
16. don't tweet and drive.
17. don't tweet marketing messages unless your audience is ready to receive them from you.
(Ideahatching.com, May 2010)
The future of online travel is that the industry is moving from a transaction fulfilment model to platforms, systems, content and technology that cover the whole spectrum of the travel cycle/funnel/bow tie, according to a Tnooz article by Tim Hughes. This is to incorporate inspiration, recommendation and discovery into the online consumer experience as much as transactions.
After 15 years of online travel being about online transactions, we are moving from answering closed questions ("How much for a ticket to New York?") to answering open ones ("Where should I go next?").
For consumers to get an answer to an open-ended question it will be necessary for them to use a booking or query widget that does not require the customer to know where they are going. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2010)
For wired travellers everywhere, Twitter is increasingly becoming the go-to site for everything from getting hotel recommendations to finding midtrip dinner companions, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The travel industry, it seems, has good reason to count on tweeters; while only about 46% of all internet users report using social networks like Twitter, a recent survey by travel-research firm PhoCusWright found that the figure jumps to 60% when you count just people who buy travel online. With the economy still keeping many would-be vacationers at home, getting in front of so many proven travellers is a no-brainer for companies.
What's more, Twitter gives providers a chance to spot unhappy customers and, ideally, to fix the problem before their griping has a chance to spread through cyberspace.
But by all accounts, travelling by Twitter remains a bit unclear. To begin with, the technology is so new that travellers and companies alike are still working out the best ways to use it. Too many companies are missing the chance to engage travellers with tips or news, according to PhoCusWright, and instead are using the site only for self-promotion. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, April 2010)
Travellers conduct their travel research via the internet more than any other source, according to a study by Google and OTX published in 2009 and entitled "The Traveler's Road to Decision". Logically, these consumers are checking reviews before making reservations. The report finds that 41% make leisure travel plans and 50% make business travel plans according to the reviews they read. Taking it one step further, more consumers are now submitting their own reviews to share with others.
The study also finds that slightly more travellers use general search engines, instead of travel search sites or online travel agencies, when planning trips. 64% of consumers surveyed use search engines for personal travel and 56% for business travel. The travel sites also fared well, but don't have quite the traffic, with 52% using them for personal travel and 55% for business travel. Talking hotel specifics, 81% of business travellers depend on the search engines, compared to 67% of leisure travellers.
The study indicates that YouTube is the most used site for travel videos, with 81% looking there for business travel and 79% for personal travel. Yahoo was second with business at 44% and personal at 32%. At every step of travel research, consumers are turning to online videos to help them make decisions. When considering a trip, 63% watch videos for personal travel and 66% for business travel. And as much as consumers are creating reviews, they're also starting to upload their own travel videos - personal at 6% and business at 16%. A picture is worth a thousand words, and online hotel videos can help your property capture more guests.
For the last few years now, the research to booking window has expanded, but the booking to travel timeframe has significantly decreased. While travellers are often holding out until the last minute for the best deals, thanks largely in part to the poor economy, Google's tools indicate that it doesn't mean hotel internet marketing efforts are failing. Another study by Google supports this finding by showing that average research to booking time runs as far out as 18 weeks out, especially with leisure travellers.
Every area of travel was included in the study, including hotels, flights, business, leisure and more, with over 5,000 consumers, who travelled at least once during a six-month period, surveyed. (TravelDailyNews, January 2010)
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 June 2013 20:20