|Online Travel Market|
|Travel Industry Online Developments|
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)
The Middle East travel industry is regaining momentum following the wave of protests and revolutions that swept the region in late 2011. After growing just 3% in 2011, the Middle East travel market jumped 12% in 2012 and will sustain double-digit growth through 2014, according to PhoCusWright.
Online bookings will nearly double between 2011 and 2014, when the region's online leisure/unmanaged business travel market will approach US$16 billion.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) dominates the Middle East travel market, accounting for nearly half of the region's gross bookings and the majority of its online sales. With its large, diverse expatriate population, the UAE has the highest online travel penetration in the region, and online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings accounted for nearly one quarter of the country's total travel market in 2012.
Travel dynamics vary dramatically across the Middle East, with cultural differences and technology adoption playing a key role in travel market growth. (PhoCusWright, March 2013)
Fewer tourists are using their computers to access travel information, according to a GiestCentric report and, according to IDC, by 2015 more users will access the internet through their mobile devices than anything else.
Not only are potential customers using their mobile devices to access the internet, but to plan their trips as well. Since 2009 the number of leisure travellers using their mobile devices for travel information has increased by over 450%, according to The 2012 Traveler Study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT.
Percentage of travellers that use a mobile device to search for travel information:
- 2009: 8%
- 2010: 18%
- 2011: 31%
- 2012: 38%
- 2009: 25%
- 2010: 40%
- 2011: 56%
- 2012: 57%
A great deal of these users ends up making their bookings via mobile device. 40% of leisure travellers book using mobile browsers, while only 12% book using apps. 36% of business travellers book using mobile browsers while only 17% book using apps.
Of the seven reasons that led potential customers not to make a booking from their mobile devices, four of them were due to the website's lack of quality, another due to a lack of trust in the security on mobile devices, and the remaining two due to factors outside of hoteliers' control.
In a study conducted by GuestCentric with over 300 hotels, a whopping 60% of smartphone bookings were for same night or next night stay. (TravelDailyNews, January 2013)
Almost half of the mobile hotel bookers surveyed had already left home and were on the road when they made their reservations, according to the findings for Priceline.com's fall 2012 snapshot survey . And free internet access edged out free breakfast and free parking as the hotel perk most important to mobile-equipped travellers.
The survey found that 43% of the mobile bookers who reserved Tonight-Only Deals hotel rooms were in their cars when they booked their room, while 14% said they booked from a remote wi-fi hotspot. Similarly, 40% of those who booked Express Deals rooms said they were on the road when the bookings were made. (HOTELMARKETING, November 2012)
Travel is the largest e-commerce category, led by airline ticket sales, with an estimated $85.7 billion spent online for airline tickets sales in 2012 in the US by business and leisure travellers, according to a study commissioned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) identifying major trends that are transforming the travel distribution landscape. The Future of Airline Distribution - A Look Ahead to 2017 was written by Henry H. Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group.
Key findings of the study show that:
- The typical travel shopper visits 22 websites in "multiple shopping sessions" before booking a trip.
- Passengers are more likely than the general population to own smartphones and tablet devices, with substantial growth expected due to these devices' growing capabilities. Passengers show strong interest in using mobile devices to plan and book flights, illustrating their comfort with these devices.
- By 2017, Atmosphere expects 50% of online direct bookings will be made on mobile devices - with even more ancillary purchases made through mobile, given the devices' portability and ease of use.
According to the study, "distribution is no longer an adequate way to think about how airlines must sell their products" because it implies process - "when airline executives instead are increasingly focused on results. That's why, by 2017, what airlines currently call ‘distribution' will be replaced by a focus on channel-based, value-creating commerce."
Atmosphere believes this new approach will be supported by the emergence of "value creation hubs" (VCH). VCHs will represent an evolutionary "pivot" from the current Global Distribution System approach. (TravelDailyNews, December 2012)
Consumers in Latin America are making more and more travel purchases online as individual markets begin to see higher internet penetration. Latin America is to lead all world regions in online travel sales growth through 2016, increasing by more than 30% on a yearly basis through 2013, according to "Internet & Media 101" from September 2012, Barclays Capital.
Online travel sales growth worldwide, 2010-2016 (% of change):
- 2010: 10%
- 2011: 10%
- 2012: 10%
- 2013: 9%
- 2014: 9%
- 2015: 8%
- 2016: 8%
Online travel sales growth by region (2010 and 2016):
- Latin America:33% in 2010, falling to 18% by 2016
- Asia-Pacific: 22% in 2010, falling to 15% by 2016
- Europe: 10% in 2010, falling to 5% by 2016
- US: 5% in 2010, remaining at 5% by 2016
Of course, this exponential growth is coming from an extremely small base-online travel sales in Latin America will only reach one-tenth of the US total this year, Barclays noted. However, that doesn't diminish the fact that online travel is far outpacing total travel sales growth among consumers in Latin America. While total travel sales are expected to be up only 6% in 2012, online travel sales will explode by 35% this year, after a 38% gain in 2011. By 2013, Latin America will surpass Asia-Pacific in terms of online as a percentage of total travel sales.
Online travel sales worldwide, 2010-2016 (billions):
- 2010: $309 billion (35.9% of total)
- 2011: $340 billion (37.1% of total)
- 2012: $374 billion (38.9% of total)
- 2013: $408 billion (40.4% of total)
- 2014: $446 billion (42.3% of total)
- 2015: $483 billion (44.2% of total)
- 2016: $523 billion (46.2% of total)
Online travel sales by regions, 2010 and 2016 (billions):
- US: $139 billion in 2010 (or 54.7% of total), raising to $182 billion by 2016 (or 53.9% of total)
- Europe: $118 billion in 2010 (or 40.4% of total), raising to $176 billion by 2016 (or 50.2% of total)
- Asia-Pacific: $44 billion in 2010 (17.2% of total), raising to $131 billion by 2016 (or 36.8% of total)
- Latin America: $8 billion in 2010 (or 13.8% of total), raising to $34 billion by 2016 (or 39.0% of total)
(eMarketer, November 2012)
Travellers are increasingly comfortable and savvy at planning, researching and booking trips on the go, according to a study by Expedia Media Solutions and comScore. A third of mobile users are planning on the go. Travellers will continue to use mobile to plan travel, but easy-to-use apps will drive usage.
The study examines consumer behaviour on mobile devices and sheds light on the role of mobile in travel research, planning and booking, as well as the unique attributes of the travel demographic. Travellers frequently turn to mobile devices for travel planning - whether conducting aspirational research, planning an existing trip or booking a last-minute getaway. With one out of every ten dollars spent online occurring on a mobile device, marketers who are ripe to target travellers should be adding mobile into their marketing mix.
Travellers frequently use smartphones and tablets to research and plan trips:
- 48% used a tablet or smartphone to plan their trip - while 44% used a mobile device to dream of their next trip.
- 86% of mobile planners already knew their destination when conducting research on a mobile device.
- 47% relied on friend and family recommendations and 40% relied on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) for destination ideas.
- Deals and promotions (64%), photos (55%) and recommendations (38%) are the most useful types of content for those seeking trip idea.
Travellers are comfortable making purchases on mobile devices:
- Of travellers who own a mobile device, 61% have made a purchase on a tablet in the last six months while 51% have made a purchase on a smartphone, showing that travellers are more likely to purchase travel on tablets versus smartphones.
- Of those who have booked travel on a mobile device, 80% of smartphone users and 90% of tablet users would do so again.
Travelers will continue to use mobile to plan travel, but easy-to-use apps will drive usage:
- Of the 44% who plan travel on a mobile device, 44% used an app.
- Nearly 60% of mobile airline and 56% of hotel bookers used an app to book their reservation.
- Accessibility (43%), ease of use (35%) and app availability (33%) drive travel bookings for smartphone users.
(TravelDailyNews, November 2012)
The online travel industry in the Middle East is flourishing at an unprecedented rate with online bookings growing by nearly a third this year, according to a Travelport co-sponsored study carried out by PhoCusWright.
Findings show that online travel sales in the Middle East will grow 31% from 2011 to almost $10.4 billion in 2012 and are set to reach $15.8 billion by 2014. This means that in 2014, online bookings will make up nearly a quarter (22%) of all travel bookings made in the region.
The research also shows the rapid development of regional Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), which are growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18% between 2010 and 2014. In 2011, 39% of all online bookings in the Middle East were made via OTAs and the gross booking value via OTAs is set to nearly double from $3.1 billion to $6 billion by 2014.
Rabih Saab, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Travelport said that the Middle East is one of the world's fastest growing tourism destinations and source markets, and the online potential is immense.
Air remains the strongest category online, accounting for 67% of all online travel bookings in 2011. Online hotel sales in the Middle East accounted for 32% in 2011 and car rentals made up the remaining 1%. Notably, 59% of all online hotel bookings were made through OTAs as opposed to direct bookings via hotel websites. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, October 2012)
The BRIC countries will have four of the five fastest-growing online travel sales markets during the 2011 to 2016 period, according to an eMarketer report ‘BRIC Travel Markets in Transition: Trends Influence Overall Ecommerce'. India's five-year compound annual growth rate of 30.6% will put it at the top the group.
Online travel sales in BRIC, 2010-2016 (billions):
- 2010: $26.48 billion
- 2011: $40.00 billion
- 2012: $52.91 billion
- 2013: $65.11 billion
- 2014: $75.78 billion
- 2015: $84.96 billion
- 2016: $93.65 billion
Online travel sales Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in selected countries, 2011-2016:
- India: 30.6%
- South Korea: 19.8%
- Brazil: 18.2%
- China: 14.1%
- Russia: 9.8%
- Australia: 7.4%
- US: 7.2%
Online travel sales in these countries anchor an overall shift from offline to online purchasing among consumers in their respective markets. Brazil, Russia, India and China have distinct differences in volume of online travel sales and by marked variations in consumer behaviour.
Among the pronounced trends differentiating the countries:
- In Brazil, there is a narrow choice of travel products, which has limited consumers to primarily domestic travel.
- Russia has by far the lowest online travel sales of the emerging countries, despite high GDP. But consumers there are avid internet travel researchers.
- In India, consumers have been slow to adopt ecommerce generally, but travel is the exception. Online travel purchasing makes up more than three-quarters of overall ecommerce sales in India.
- The number of online travel bookers in China is low in comparison to the number of overall ecommerce buyers. But at $48 billion, according to eMarketer estimates, consumers in China will spend more on online travel in 2016 than the rest of BRIC combined.
While it's clear that the BRIC countries share key characteristics as emerging markets, each has disparate digital and demographic trends affecting increases in online travel purchasing. (eMarketer, September 2012)
Mobile payment systems have the potential to provide significant benefits to business travellers, as well as travel managers. New technologies such as mobile wallets, near-field communication (NFC), along with a proliferation of travel apps, can streamline both the purchase and expensing process for business travelers. But customers' and businesses' lack of familiarity with these new tools remains a significant stumbling block for adoption.
In March 2012, travel management service provider Airplus International and the nonprofit Association for Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) surveyed ACTE's worldwide corporate members. They found that the majority of respondents, 53%, described themselves as beginners on the subject of mobile payments, with little or no knowledge of how they worked. And while 41% said they had moderate familiarity with mobile payments, only 6% described themselves as highly familiar with the technology.
Adoption of mobile payment systems is still not even on the radar of most business travellers. More than seven in 10 respondents said employees were not using mobile phones as a payment mechanism for travel-related costs. Of those that were using their phone to make payments, the most popular action was paying for restaurant meals (42%), followed by ground transportation (33%), airplane tickets (25%) and then rail tickets (17%).
Security is also a potential impediment to the adoption of mobile payment systems by business travellers. Fully 92% of those polled thought that the security of a plastic corporate payment card was either acceptable or excellent. Respondents' lack of familiarity with mobile payment systems may have translated into unease regarding security. Almost six in ten respondents said they either didn't know how safe mobile payments were, or thought they were less secure than traditional plastic cards.
While the adoption of NFC-enabled phones is likely to surge in the next few years, one major stumbling block will be the adoption of readers by vendors. Merchants will probably wait until pressured by consumers to invest in the infrastructure needed to process NFC payments made via mobile devices. Customer demand will certainly rise soon-a February 2012 survey by payment processor Worldpay found that 58% of consumers worldwide were interested in paying for flights in the future using a mobile device. (eMarketer, July 2012)
Price was the main barrier to travel bookers worldwide completing online reservations, according to a Q4 2011 report on worldwide visitors to travel and hospitality websites by iPerceptions.
According to the survey, 30% of those who visited a site to make a booking (but did not complete one) said price was the reason they stopped shopping. But after price, functionality and site design were among the biggest stumbling blocks for prospective customers. iPerceptions found that 12% of those who did not finalize a reservation experienced a booking problem, while 8% gave up after being unable to find the information they sought.
Barriers to task completion on hospitality/tourism sites according to travel bookers worldwide, Q4 2011 (% of total):
- Price: 30%
- Still looking / unsure: 14%
- Booking problem: 12%
- Room availability: 11%
- Ran out of time: 9%
- Could not find what looking for: 8%
- Need more info: 5%
- Technical issue: 4%
- Other: 7%
Of those who visited a travel or hospitality site, 26% said they did so to make a reservation. One in five arrived at a site in search of information about hotels, and the same percentage of respondents said they were looking for price information.
Purpose of visiting a hospitality / tourism site according to site visitors worldwide, Q4 2011 (% of total):
- Make reservation: 26%
- Find hotel info: 20%
- Compare rates: 20%
- View / cancel reservation: 7%
- Other: 27%
When iPerceptions broke down the data, it found that leisure travellers sought out information about hotels or prices more often than did business travellers. Additionally, business travellers were more likely than vacationers to complete a reservation.
The highest percentage of respondents, 28%, said they arrived at a website by typing in a web address. But search was a close second, at 27%.
Path used to get to hospitality / tourism sites by site visitors worldwide, Q4 2011 (% of total):
- Typed in URL: 28%
- Search engine: 27%
- Bookmark / favourite: 17%
- Clicked on ad: 3%
- Email link: 1%
- Other site link: 1%
- Link from friend: 0%
- Social network link: 0%
- Other: 22%
Visitors who arrived at hospitality and tourism sites via search were slightly less satisfied with their experience, but this is not surprising since they were likely to be navigating the sites for the first time. (eMarketer, May 2012)
17% have researched a trip on a mobile app or mobile website, according to INFOGRAPHIC from My Destination.
Some of their other findings include:
- 12% have downloaded a mobile app related to travel.
- 3% have booked their trip on a mobile.
- Two thirds say they are likely to explore, shop and book travel activities ia their mobile devices.
(tnooz, May 2012)
Online travel bookings will represent almost a third of worldwide volume by the end of 2012, according to yStats.com "Global Online Travel Report 2012" report.
The report indicates that the trend to book travel arrangements online will continue in 2012 - especially in emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil. The study found that in 2011, the value of the US online travel market was still higher than that of Great Britain, China, India and Brazil combined.
Online travel arrangements continue to gain in popularity across the entire American continent. Compared to 2011, revenue generated in the US online travel market is forecasted to grow in 2012 by a low double-digit percentage figure, according to Hotelmarketing.com.
Clients who bought travel products online in 2011 made most purchases through online travel agents, amounting to almost 50%, followed by search engines and websites of tour operators. In the category mobile bookings, hotels were booked most frequently, followed by flights and travel packages. (Travelmole, March 2012)
Mobile travel bookings are expected to triple by 2013, according to PhoCusWright. The number of mobile users researching travel via their mobile device in the US alone is expected to grow by 51% in 2012, according to Google. (Travelmole, March 2012)
A Mashable's infographics shows the progression of online travel, from its roots in old electronic booking systems to the newest and shiniest deals websites. It also provides an inside look at how users behave while on online travel sites and where they love to go.
Some of the findings featured include the breakdown of channels used by active travellers to book travel in February 2011:
- Online travel agency: 62%
- Branded supplier site: 46%
- Meta search site: 14%
- Collective buying site: 5%
- Private sale site: 5%
- Offline travel agent: 9%
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, February 2012)
More than half of all leisure travellers and nearly three in four business travellers now own a smartphone, according to a comprehensive analysis of mobile traveller behaviour from PhoCusWright "Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Travel Trends".
The report finds that 28% of leisure travellers who conduct travel-related activities via the mobile Web only use mobile websites to do so, while 72% use some combination of mobile websites and apps (none use apps exclusively). And this channel mix changes significantly, depending on whether consumers employ smartphones to research or book travel, or to engage in post-purchase activities. Owners of smartphones with different operating systems also behave differently. BlackBerry users conduct an average of 4.5 travel-related mobile Web activities per year, while Apple users are typically more engaged with 5.7.
It's time the travel industry got past the idea of mobile as just a piece of hardware. It's a maturing medium, with different travellers engaging in different ways for different reasons, according to Carroll Rheem, director, research at PhoCusWright. (PhoCusWright, February 2012)
The US lead in online travel penetration has come to an end, according to PhoCusWright's "U.S. Online Travel Overview, Eleventh Edition" report.
Online travel penetration in leisure/unmanaged business travel, measured in percentage of gross bookings, stood at around 39% in the US in 2009 compared to around 32% for Western Europe, according to the study. But, by 2013, Western Europe would lead the US 41% to 40%, the study projects.
Online travel penetration by regions, 2011:
- US: 39%
- Western Europe: 38%
- Asia-Pacific: 23%
- Latin America: 18%
It is interesting that online penetration in Asia-Pacific as a whole is still relatively low at 23%, despite strides in mobile adoption.
One of the report's authors, Douglas Quinby, senior director of research, explains that mobile is happening in various APAC countries, although adoption varies widely by country and doesn't necessarily represent smartphone adoption. Increased smartphone adoption in APAC would assuredly boost the region's online travel penetration numbers in the coming years. (tnooz, November 2011)
Errors in areas such as pricing, user experience and product were directly contributing to lost travel sales, according to a research analysing feedback data from nearly 8,000 online travel buyers.
1. Price - The search for lower prices was a constant theme, underlining the need for the best presentation of all pricing options. Meanwhile, feedback was also focused on disparities between advertised prices and those found on the sites themselves.
2. Site functionality - Access to time saving functionality was an important consideration, whether this be features such as records of saved searches or previous bookings.
3. On-site search - Site search for travel companies needs to be able to cope with a broad range of uses, from the first time visitor researching destinations through to a converting buyer looking for specific deals. Search functionality needs to be presented accordingly.
4. Product description - Information about travel products, including text, photos, videos and reviews, is vital in the purchase process and so ensuring it is adequate and well displayed is vital to retail success.
5. Additional charges - Whilst EU law dictates that prices must now be displayed with all additional costs included, the presentation of these costs is still a consideration for many consumers and optional extra charges should be set in line with competitors.
6. Navigation - Complaints around navigation focused on a lack of basic sorting and filtering functionality, enabling consumers to home in on the holiday of their preference quickly and easily.
7. Discounts/sales - In this economic climate consumers are more focused than ever on securing the best price for a holiday. Last minute offers or dedicated bargain sections were sought by buyers, along with loyalty rewards for regular customers.
8. Errors and bugs - Site errors not only cause short term frustration, they can permanently damage a site's reputation with buyers. Simple issues such as browser compatibility can completely exclude some buyers from a site.
9. Speed - The slow loading of pages, and particularly of search results, was a major irritant for travel buyers. Given that most buyers will be looking at multiple sites, a slow loading page can be a significant disincentive to purchase.
10. Availability - Users become frustrated having invested the time into searching for products only to find that these are not available to purchase. Sites need to ensure that unavailable products are flagged as such at an early stage.
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, November 2011)
Whilst mobile services are still emerging in the travel industry, it is apparent that travellers are clearly beginning to expect, demand and adopt them with 16% of travellers surveyed currently using smartphones to book trips, according to an Amadeus Report entitled "The always-connected traveller: How mobile will transform the future of air travel". That figure rises to 18% amongst the 18-35 age group and to 33% amongst frequent travellers. In addition, 3.4% of all travellers use their mobiles today to check-in for their flight, with this figure rising to 7.4% in Asia.
Julia Sattel, VP, Airline IT, Amadeus commented that mobile continues to shake-up how companies interact with and meet the needs of customers. It provides travellers with a personal, always-connected device that offers unlimited potential to transform how people travel. The challenge for the industry is to deliver an intuitive and compelling mobile user experience and services that help travellers get the information they want and buy the things they need. (Amadeus, June 2011)
PhoCusWright estimates that in 2012, Europe will become the largest online travel sector, while Asia-Pacific will account for roughly 20% of the market worldwide, according to PhoCusWright analyst Clement Wong at the WebinTravel conference in Singapore. (tnooz talking travel tech, October 2011)
Accommodation owners cited online marketing (63%); social media (39%); mobile (27%); email marketing (22%); and paid listings on user-generated review sites (17%) as the top areas in which they would prefer to increase spending, according to TripAdvisor's latest Accommodation Owners Survey.
With mobile marketing a major focus for owners, 84% of survey respondents said it is important to offer a program that allows travelers to book their inventory using mobile devices. However, the results varied by property type: 92% of hotel owners, 77% of B&B owners and 77% of innkeepers said a mobile marketing program is important.
Of the survey respondents with a social media program, the majority (60%) said that TripAdvisor is the most effective social media site for marketing their properties. Facebook (22%) and Twitter (16%) were the next most effective sites for marketing their properties, according to owners taking the poll.
The top reasons owners cited for using social media were posting deals/special offers (54%), answering customer care questions (48%), promoting events (40%), sharing general industry news (26%) and promoting contests (18%).
Survey respondents cited industry research/reports (46%), competition (30%) and marketing from social media sites (24%) as the top three factors in their decision to use social media as a marketing tool.
According to survey respondents, most owners (76%) use their property website to market deals to potential guests. Email (52%) and social media (44%) were the next most commonly used methods for marketing deals, followed by user-generated review sites (25%) and online travel agencies (21%). (abouTourism, June 2011)
Google projects that 8% of mobile users will be booking travel from their smartphones by 2012. The travel industry believes that with the way bookings have migrated from offline to online over the years, one can expect to witness migration of a certain percentage of online travel bookings to move from desktop to mobile in the time to come. Also, it would not come across as a surprise if many travellers who currently use offline channels go directly to using primarily mobile devices to make their bookings.
The industry expects travellers to continue to adopt smartphones and tablets at a rapid pace in 2011. As mobile payment instruments continue to gather steam, there's a huge opportunity for developers and suppliers to remove friction for travellers, and, as a result, shift a significant purchase volume from the desktop Web to mobile devices.
Travellers are going to feel more empowered than ever as 2011 progresses. Google reports 300,000 new Android activations per day and eMarketer notes that 50% of all new internet connections worldwide are coming from mobile devices. The number of searches in the travel category via a mobile device continues to rise this year; the percentage of queries coming from mobile devices now makes up 19.5% of all hotel queries. Quite notably, people aren't just searching with mobile; they are actually completing transactions from their devices. The number of mobile bookings in the travel space has accelerated from $20 million in 2008 to over $200 million in 2010. (eyefortravel, May 2011)
When considering online travel penetration, bigger isn't always better. In fact, travel companies seeking the highest growth opportunities should look to travel markets with online penetration below 35%, according to PhoCusWright's Global Online Travel Overview Second Edition. Once a travel market's online penetration passes this point, growth in online travel share is likely to slow to single digits.
PhoCusWright analyzed 18 individual markets in four major regions - Europe, US, Asia-Pacific and Latin America - and found only three travel markets with penetration rates above the critical 35% level. While the US, UK and Scandinavia have reached the tipping point, the remaining fifteen markets have significant growth potential, including those in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
In Scandinavia, which broke the 40% penetration mark in 2010, online penetration is projected to grow just two percentage points over the next two years. In comparison, one of the fastest growing markets, Colombia, has online penetration of just over 4%. With growth rates likely to slow as more countries surpass the 35% tipping point, the global online travel opportunity is clearly not limitless. However, a majority of global online travel markets have a long way to go before reaching maturity. (PhoCusWright FYI, May 2011)
Travellers will book one third of the world's travel sales online by the end of 2012, according to PhoCusWright's Global Online Travel Overview Second Edition report.
Online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings will grow twice as fast as the total market, to surpass US$ 313 billion by 2012.
The report compares four major regions - the US, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America and reveals that the global travel industry is still recovering from the 2009 recession, which triggered a 13% decline in global sales.
PhoCusWright projects that global travel bookings will increase 6% in both 2011 and 2012, at which time the market will recover from 2009 losses.
Among the four regions studied, the US and Europe represent more than three fourths of all online sales, but less than two thirds of total travel sales. As online travel bookings in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America accelerate, combined share for Europe and the US will fall to 73% in 2012 and continue to decline thereafter, according to the report.
As online penetration growth in the more mature US and European travel markets slows, travel companies are looking to the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions for the next pot of gold. In these emerging markets, macro-economic gains, increased travel and growing technology adoption will continue to fuel significant growth in online bookings. (Travelmole, April 2011)
Online travel and tourism is poised to "experience solid growth" over the next five years - with the Middle East and Africa leading the way in percentage terms, according to a report by Euromonitor International at the World Travel Market (WTM) Vision Conference-Dubai in May 2011.
Air remains the strongest online category, accounting for more than 50% of sales by value in North America and Australasia in 2010. For the Middle East and Africa, air represented around 10% of value sales in 2010. However, between 2010 and 2015 air will experience a 13% compound annual growth rate in the region, alongside Eastern Europe, the strongest online growth figures in the travel and tourism global overview report.
Online hotel sales in Middle East and Africa over the period will grow by more than 12%, sharing the top slot with Latin America, which sees the same growth rates for accommodation.
The growth figures for North America are in single digits for air and hotels at 6% and 4%, respectively.
The Middle East is one of the world's growing tourism destinations and source markets and this growth is replicated online over the next 5 years with web sales across both air travel and accommodation increasing dramatically, according to Euromonitor International Travel and Tourism Industry Analyst Nadejda Popova.
In the mature online market of Western Europe, hotel sales still represented a worthwhile opportunity. Social media is another opening, particularly as airlines such as Delta and easyJet now have transactional Facebook pages.
However, the study also identified potential negative factours. Popova warned the trend for suppliers to focus on direct sales could "increase conflict" between distribution channels. The report also outlined that high profile bankruptcies and subsequent consumer protection issues could impact consumer sentiment for dynamic packaging operators.
Furthermore, online travel agents' inability to offer "the personal touch" during the holiday sales process, and ongoing technical difficulties in arranging complex itineraries, are seen as other headwinds. (eTN Global Travel Industry News, May 2011)
More than half of business customers now use mobile technology when it comes to searching and booking hotels, indicating a rapid increase in the use of mobile technology in the business travel sector, according to research by Travelport.
The survey, which polled over 600 corporate travel buyers, agents, hospitality and travel professionals globally, explored hotel experiences and expectations of the modern business traveller. Notable response findings from the 150 respondents were:
- 80% would like to see mobile applications offering suggested restaurants and bars around the hotel location
- 67% would like similar apps offering suggestions for recreational activities.
- 71% rank Wi-Fi as one of the most important technology solutions that should be included as standard in hotel rooms - 82% of travellers expecting this service to be in all rooms within five years.
- 54% wanted more transparency and choice when it comes to charges for optional extras
- Many in the poll commented that they should only have to pay for the services they really want or use when travelling for business
- There was limited appeal for mobile apps which could record TV channels remotely or convenience solutions like the ability to adjust the temperature of the room when away.
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, March 2011)
The growing complexity of travel web sites in the past two years was cited as a major reason why more travellers would use a travel agent if they could find one, according to a Forrester Research study. Time-stressed consumers are other reason for the shift.
In 2008, 23% of leisure travellers in Forrester's Technographics Travel Online Study agreed with the statement, "If I could find a good offline travel agent to work with, I would." That number increased to 28% in 2010. Perceived value was another reason for the change.
Most leisure travellers are telling us that websites are not helping them find the value they are looking for, according to Henri H. Harteveldt, vice president and principal analyst of airline and travel research for Forrester. (Travelmole, December 2010)
People go on holiday for a variety of reasons, but research shows the kind of holiday we want is linked to our personality type, according to Graham Jones, an internet psychologist and author specialising in how customers interact with the web.
People who are introverted, who tend to be fairly fixed in their job and who have what you might call a "solid" home life are the ones who seek a "get away from it all" kind of holiday. But individuals who are dynamic, who socialise a great deal, who are often out and about, are faced with so many new experiences every day, they want something more daring, exciting, thrilling.
That kind of basic difference between holiday makers is also reflected in the kind of experience they want online when booking their travel. The introverted individuals want to see something that is clearly "get away from it all", but the extroverts, the dynamic people need to have an exciting website, with lots of different stimulation. These people live life in the fast lane, and they want their websites to be the same.
Holidaymakers want one of two things - an escape or a new experience. Online, the website must match those desires if it is truly to connect. But it must do more than that. Travel websites also need to enable trust and confidence - which are powerful motivators in ebookers. Equally, travel websites need to establish social proof and provide a method of potential customers gaining social acceptance. (tnooz - talking travel tech, November 2010)
One in five people are booking their holidays just five days before they stay, according to a survey undertaken by hotelbook.com. It is thought that the reason for this is because more and more people are looking for better deals and are waiting until the very last minute to do so.
The results, provided by hotelbook.com, also suggested that many people often book their flights early to secure a lower price but choose to wait until closer to the travel date to secure accommodation at discounted rates. (TravelDailyNews, November 2010)
China, India and Brazil are emerging online travel marketplace as demonstrated by those data put together by PhoCuswright for comparison purpose:
% of population online / Mobile penetration / % travel booked online / value of online travel market:
- China: 32% / 58% / 18% / $11 billion
- India: 4% / 36% / 25% / $4 billion
- Brazil: 38% / 92% / 20% / $4 billion
- USA: 74% / 91% / 40% / $93 billion
- UK: 74% / 129% / 47% / $26 billion
Online travel spending rose during the first? half of 2010 after dropping for the first time ever last year. Consumers' online travel spending in the first six months of 2010 rose 5% from a year earlier. Online travel spending fell 5% for all of last year; the decline was a first since ComScore began tracking online travel.
ComScore said there was a rebound in travel demand, plus the internet increased its share of the overall travel pie. Online spending growth for travel and non-travel purchases regularly topped 15% during the years up to 2008, when growth slowed to 7%. In 2009, online spending fell 2%, according to ComScore.
ComScore tracked about 2 million internet users last month for its poll. The company tracked spending at online agencies and supplier websites. (Travelweekly.com, August, 2010)
16% of people booking travel on Expedia sites booked on Monday, particularly between 7-9pm, according to an Expedia Travel Bookings Report, based on search and booking data across 19 Expedia sites worldwide. Only 1 in 10 waits until the weekend and book on a Saturday, while Sunday is the quietest day for activity on the site. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, June 2010)
Europe's travel market took a hit in 2009. Total spending on non-business travel was an estimated €214 billion ($300 billion) in 2009, down from €239 billion ($335 billion) in 2008, according to the most recent "European Online Travel Overview" by PhoCusWright and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC),
These losses were limited to offline channels, however. Online sales fared far better, rising 0.4% to remain at about €68 billion ($95 billion).
As a result, the internet accounted for about a third of European spending on leisure travel in 2009, up from 28% in 2008. Despite this healthy rise, Europe still lags well behind the US in the proportion of non-managed travel revenues realized on the internet. Online transactions were expected to contribute at least half of the US total in 2009, according to earlier projections by PhoCusWright.
Online travel revenues in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US, 2006-2010 (% of total travel):
- 2006: 49% (US) / 23% (Europe) / 9% (Asia-Pacific)
- 2007: 52% / 27% / 11%
- 2008: 51% / 33% / 14%
- 2009: 56% / 37% / 18%
- 2010: 59% / 43% / 21%
One reason that online travel spending in the European region has not kept pace with US spending is that consumers' habits have varied widely among countries in Europe, according to PhoCusWright and PwC. While an estimated 44% of all leisure travel by UK residents was bought on the Web in 2008, the proportion was much lower in Germany (24%), Spain (19%) and Italy (14%). The average across the European countries surveyed was 28%.
Similar variations were seen in specific sectors, such as sales of airline flights. Here too the UK topped the table, with an astonishing 71% of spending on flights taking place online in 2008. In Scandinavia (considered as one entity) the Web claimed an estimated 50% of airfares, compared with 44% in Germany, 31% in Spain and 28% in Italy. The European average was 43%.
Overall, figures from the report suggest that during 2009 Web users in some European countries may have been more likely to plan travel on the Internet than their US counterparts. For example, 60% of survey respondents in France said they went online "always" or "often" to compare travel prices, while 56% researched accommodation and 54% used the Web to choose a destination.
By contrast, Ad-ology Research found that relatively low percentages of US Web users ages 18 and older went online to investigate travel-related subjects in 2009. Airfares were the most popular travel-related topic, with 34% of respondents saying they had recently checked out flight costs online. But less than 31% of internet users said they had searched for information on rates and availability at hotels and motels.
We should avoid reading too much into data from a single year, though. For most Americans, 2009 brought the greatest pressure on individual and household budgets in living memory-and many people cut back sharply on leisure travel to economize. (eMarketer, January 2010)
Travel Industry Online Developments
Booking.com has seen its total transaction value of mobile hotel bookings rise from $1 billion in 2011 to over $3 billion in 2012.
Booking.com's mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows 8 devices have been downloaded more than 20 million times over the past three years.
The on line mobile hotel and accommodation bookings referred to above were made through the Booking.com family of hotel booking apps including native apps for iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Kindle Fire devices, and through Booking.com's mobile websites. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, April 2013)
In addition to pre-installing the app, Samsung is using TripAdvisor content (millions of photos and over 100 million reviews and opinions) to power its own travel apps. TripAdvisor is the only travel app that will be pre-installed on Samsung's latest smartphone.
The following Samsung apps are powered by TripAdvisor data:
- Travel Widget - Designed to inspire, the Travel Widget will showcase TripAdvisor images of popular travel destinations and attractions around the world. Users can touch the on-screen star icon to save places to their "Saves" list on TripAdvisor, or tap the image to see details in the TripAdvisor app, which include reviews, opinions, photos and contact information.
- Lock Screen Slideshow - When the phone enters "locked" mode, users can opt to see beautiful travel photos of the world's most visually striking destinations on the device's high-definition display.
- City Information in Samsung Story Album - Samsung Story Album helps build a digital photo book by seamlessly connecting travel content to user's travel photos. TripAdvisor lets users add more enriched city information into the Story Album.
TripAdvisor has added exclusive features to its application, including Single Sign-On with a Samsung ID, the ability to load details of hotels and flights found on TripAdvisor into the phone's native calendar app; and the ability to load contact information for a hotel or attraction to the GALAXY S 4's Contacts list. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, March 2013)
The number of people who view TripAdvisor content on sites other than TripAdvisor has doubled since last year to over 300 million per month, as brands around the world (including Best Western International and Thomas Cook) now partner with TripAdvisor to display TripAdvisor traveller content on their sites.
To date, more than 500 companies, including hotel chains, Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), airlines and online travel agencies, have entered into an agreement to feature TripAdvisor content on their sites and enhance their offerings with valuable user-generated content. In addition, over 50 of those organizations including Wyndham Hotel Group have partnered with TripAdvisor for Review Collection Services where TripAdvisor powers their review collection process.
TripAdvisor offers an array of services for travel brands to syndicate TripAdvisor content and encourage more traveller reviews, including content syndication; review collection services; free tools. (HOTELMARKETING, December 2012)
Dubai International Airport is one of the first to take delivery of 3D virtual assistants that are being designed to interact to some degree with people are being developed.
The high definition assistant stands in the departure area of the airport's Terminal 3 and greets passengers with relevant messages as they idle past. "She" also shows videos on a screen with details about flights and security measures, etc. But the real novelty is the interactive element. Passengers can select a range of FAQs and their primary language (programme at this stage for Arabic and English) and the assistant will respond accordingly. Passengers are able to search for the information or select a specific service and then the assistant delivers a specific message or asks the traveller for more information.
The assistant's creator, Tensator, says the device has been well received by passengers so far as it offers a new way of communicating information to visitors. (tnooz, December 2012)
The ability for mobile to make consumers' lives easier will have a dramatic effect on their travel experience. One of the most interesting responses dealt with access to on-board entertainment via their own devices, which provides new interactive advertising opportunities. Nearly 45% of survey respondents had no plans to offer this type of entertainment service, but a third of the respondents were evaluating it.
In-flight entertainment packages, while wildly popular with consumers, are expensive for airlines to install and update, and therefore have varying adoption rates, even within individual airlines' fleets. Allowing customers to access curated entertainment through their personal devices opens the lines of communication in flight beyond a purely utilitarian interaction with flight attendants. This allows airlines (and advertising partners) to target messages based on what individuals are doing at that particular time (i.e. traveling to Paris, watching a live sporting event, etc.).
The value of mobile devices to the travel experience lies in their ability to create unprecedented touchpoints throughout the customer travel journey. Customers interacting with mobile devices in transit-and specifically, in-flight-are a captive audience in what previously was a black hole for customer communications. (eMarketer, September 2012)
The EyeforTravel team consider the most pertinent emerging themes in online travel and consult some of the events most exciting speakers for their expert insights and predictions.
1. Get ready for a mobile-only world: By 2015, IDC is forecasting that smartphone sales will reach 982 million and all research points to mobile use surpassing traditional desktop use within the next few years. Against this back drop there are numerous emerging trends the industry needs to keep pace with:
- Even greater rise in the same-day mobile booking trend. Expedia reports that 65% of hotel bookings within this last 24-hour window are via mobile, and 15% for flight bookings.
- Increasing numbers of mobile-only companies entering the marketplace. Mobile specialist HotelTonight has already done so and its mobile app recently hit the 3-million download mark.
- You can't really talk about mobile without thinking about social and of course local. If any further proof is needed: in March 2012 350 million Facebook users (who are also consumers) had accessed the social network via a mobile device.
2. Four ‘C's to think about: convergence, commerce, content and how these impact customer behaviour will be an ongoing theme
3. Big data, personalisation and being relevant is key in the marketing battle
4. Revenue management
5. Think new markets. Think new customers: the face of the global traveller is changing and Asia is leading the pack. Unsurprisingly the biggest growth is in China where the number of outbound tourists rose by 70% in the first six months of 2012. Other outbound travel markets like India, Brazil and Russia are growing too. By 2020 about 50 million Indians are expected to travel overseas, according to estimates drawn up by Tourism Australia which has been actively targeting this market.
(EyeForTravel, September 2012)
Google announced it will acquire all the assets of Frommer's for $23 million. Frommer's bills itself as "the most trusted name in travel today" and notes that its website, Frommers.com, is "an essential online destination for those planning the perfect travel excursion".
Both purchases are efforts by Google to cement its place in the online travel space, which encompasses hundreds of billions of dollars in bookings each year in the US alone. Google may use the brand names and review content from these purchases to drive traffic to the Google travel tools. For example, Zagat reviews are included on Google+ Places/Pages. They may also use the names and sites as forums for social media to complement professionally written reviews. Google also has the opportunity to drive traffic from Google to Frommers.com and Zagat.com, both of which generate some of their revenue from advertisements.
Many see the Google buys of Frommer's and Zagat as ammunition in an all out war against TripAdvisor through leveraging the Frommer's and Zagat brand names and review content with Google's unmatched online footprint.
Over the past 24 months, TripAdvisor has had 21 times the unique visitors of Frommers.com (and 38 times zagat.com's). More specifically, TripAdvisor has averaged 14.1 million unique visitors each month to Frommers.com's 675,000. (compete pulse, August 2012)
Destinations (and those charged with promoting cities or countries) do not understand how to exploit the vast array of technology and techniques to attract visitors, according to findings from a major academic study by the eTourismLab at Bournemouth University in the UK and the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse after the pair analysed the online presence of 30 destinations (cities and countries) around the globe.
The research examined a variety of factors such as ability to search and book on destination websites, types and range of content, ability to interact on sites and through other social media channels, and - perhaps most importantly - appealing to visitors not only before but during and after a trip.
Some destinations are utilising technology to a certain degree, the study found, with the leading ten destinations identified as:
The results illustrate that even the best DMOs and tourism boards are not taking advantage of web tools and other forms of technology, the study claims.
Leading the study, Professor Dimitrios Buhalis from the eTourismLab, says most of the 30 destinations concentrate only in providing information for "before travelling phase" and that few destinations use any technology for the during the travel period at the destination, or after the trip. Only a fraction of the available technology tools are used worldwide for promoting destinations online and the vast majority of destinations do not exploit all technological capabilities.
The average score across the 30 destinations in the study (ranked on a scale of one to five) was 2.4, Buhalis says.
As a result of the study, officials have put together a list of key recommendations for DMOs and tourism boards to consider when putting together a digital strategy for promoting services, products and the actual destinations:
- Concentrate on the inspire-before-during-after phases of travel for consumers
- Create more interactivity
- Include trip planners and itineraries and make them more visible for users
- Support SMEs and "manage by jealousy" by encouraging the best to do better
- Create clusters of innovative users and support them
- Produce theme microsites and use social media to address niche markets
- Implement news feed of social media channels
- Integrate strategic marketing/online marketing/social media/PR
- Utilise user generated content as a major strategy to inspire prospective travellers
- Take advantage of geo-tagging and prepare for location based services
- Develop video and multimedia content and drive websites with visually attractive multimedia
- Integrate virtual reality applications, 360-degree tours or webcams to increase transparency of tourism product
- Improve current technologies and applications constantly to maintain standard
- Develop consumers as advocates/ambassadors of a destination brand
(tnooz, July 2012)
Travel review site TripAdvisor features 50% more reviews than a year ago and the number of registered users has rocketed to 32 million, up from 20 million this time last year.
The rate of contributions has doubled in the past year, rising from 25 to 50 per minute, said TripAdvisor, which now claims to be the largest travel site in the world. It claims it has 56 million visitors a month, features more than 610,000 hotels, 880,000 restaurants and 200,000 attractions, a total increase of 50% over a year ago.
TripAdvisor chief marketing officer's Barbara Messing believes that by reaching 75 million reviews and opinions on over one and a half million businesses, TripAdvisor content is even more comprehensive and current for travellers who rely on the site for travel planning. (travelmole, July 2012)
Apple has received a major Granted Patent that relates to transportation check-in and, more particularly, to employing near field communication for identification and ticketing by transportation providers.
The timing couldn't be better for this patent as Apple recently announced that a new feature called "Passbook" was coming to iOS 6 this fall. Scott Forstall, Apple's Senior Vice President of iPhone Software, stated that Passbook would include travel services such as a boarding pass and express check-in which today's iTravel patent covers. The Near Field Communications (NFC) aspect of the patent will also be important for Apple's future iWallet application.
Apple's iTravel check-in system will work with Macs, but more importantly, with iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Ticketing and identification information will be stored on the iOS device and transmitted, such as via near field communication, to another electronic device. The handheld device may be used to check into flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, trains, buses, and so forth. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, July 2012)
65% of travel professionals polled worldwide planned to increase their social media marketing budget in 2012, a higher percentage than for any other digital marketing tactic, according to Frommer's and Tnooz's "2011 Digital Marketing and Content Survey".
Percentage of travel professionals worldwide expecting to increase their digital marketing budget in 2012, by tactic (% of respondents):
- Social media marketing: 65%
- Content: 55%
- Mobile apps/development: 54%
- SEO-natural: 52%
- Video: 46%
- Advertising-online display: 43%
- Advertising-paid search: 41%
- Email marketing: 41%
- Advertising-mobile: 39%
- SEO-paid: 36%
- Meta-search: 22%
More than half of US fans of travel brands and companies "like" or "follow" such brands and companies because they want something in return-specifically deals or information about deals, according to ROI Research's April 2011 survey "S-Net: A Study in Social Media Usage & Behavior". (eMarketer, June 2012)
Virgin Holidays is the latest to tap into the Aurasma augmented reality platform to try to bring the holiday retail experience to life. The operator has unveiled a new iPhone application with special offers, a store locator for its 100 retail outlets and the augmented reality feature.
The AR feature can be used with brochures as well as a number of other triggers within stores to deliver customers to the destination with video and sound. Offers, accessible via the feature, will be hidden within stores and users can also access the operator's new ‘You Are...Here' campaign.
The augmented reality app, is in addition to Virgin Holidays brochure app which the company says has received a 100,000 downloads. Android and iPad versions of the new service will be released in the coming weeks.
The operator's foray into augmented reality comes on the heels of other travel companies including Kuoni and Saga Travel who have also worked with Aurasma on similar functionality. (tnooz, May 2012)
A survey of nearly 200 international hotel operators found generally favourable results for those that had offered a daily deal (also known as a flash deal), according to a study by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration entitled "Emerging Marketing Channels in Hospitality: A Global Study of Internet-enabled Flash Sales and Private Sales".
Findings of the survey show 42% of the operators had tested a flash deal, and many of them were relatively large hotels (more than 150 rooms). At the same time, 46% of the hotel operators said they had no intention of offering such a deal.
For the hotels that were highly satisfied with their daily deal, the study found that they had carefully managed the details of the deal. The study found that Groupon and LivingSocial were the two sites used most heavily by these respondents, and their top reasons for offering a deal were branding, customer acquisition, and boosting occupancy in shoulder periods. Ironically, the hotels that were avoiding daily deals were especially concerned about compromising brand standards. Indeed, some international chains have banned their properties from offering such a deal.
To assist operators and brand managers in crafting effective deals, the study gives a checklist of daily deal guidelines. Item number one: carefully define the deal's purpose. Other suggestions include negotiating every facet of the deal and starting small. (The Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, February 2012)
Travel agencies' use of the Web has changed dramatically since they began putting up websites in the 1990s. No longer are most agencies trying to drive online bookings and lead generation. Today's agents are focused on using Web 2.0 and social media for networking and marketing, according to conclusions from the findings of the ASTA's 2011 Technology and Web Usage Report.
Apparently travel agents underestimated the investment of time and money needed to make online booking and lead generation a success. That's one reason they have shifted to a less-costly and more-productive online strategy via Web 2.0. The changes in internet strategy also mirror agents' revised understanding of their value to customers - as consultants, not mere order-takers. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, January 2012)
Social, local, and mobile are lending a new dimension to plans of travel marketers. To get started, travel brands must have a mobile website optimised with fresh, local content and location-based offers; accurate and optimised listings on local mobile directories; and mobile engagement via SMS and social platforms.
HeBS Digital believes that 2012 is going to be The Year of SoLoMo (Social, local, and mobile). In travel marketing, there is a major convergence of channels, and social, local, and mobile will work as part of an integrated initiative.
These three initiatives speak to key components of a travel consumer's behaviour. Social speaks to what we do as human beings and how we share our travel experiences, mobile speaks to our "always on-the-go" nature, and local speaks to the need for information from our immediate environment. The power of these initiatives combined, fills an inherent need for consumers and allows the hyper-interactive travel consumer to stay hyper-connected with brands.
The future of SoLoMo looks promising. Local data drives better engagement and conversions and 1 in 3 mobile searches has local intent. As for future trends, SoLoMo is changing the way consumers access information. Instead of researching attractions during a hotel stay, mobile applications will detect a traveller's location, what they are looking for, provide directions, push specials based on geo location, and even allow guests to share their experiences in real time. SoLoMo will ultimately provide more customer service solutions to enhance the travel experience.
Mobile applications such as Foursquare, will be more deeply integrated into a mobile strategy and a key touchpoint in the mobile brand experience. SMS marketing and geo-location offers will become key in how hoteliers target travellers not after but during their travel experience. Hoteliers and travel brands need to begin thinking local and immediate. (eyefortravel, January 2012)
Technologies and evolving social values and trends will combine to establish a new era of collaborative travel over the next decade and beyond, according to "From chaos to collaboration: how transformative technologies will herald a new era in travel" a report developed by The Futures Company and commissioned by Amadeus.
The report demands increased partnership across the travel industry. This will, in turn, remove the stress, uncertainty and chaos which is usually associated with travelling in the 21st Century, the report says, 'as well as providing much richer, deeper and more personal travel experiences at the same time'.
The report details a clear qualitative shift where service-users become partners rather than customers and where context is as important as the transaction. The study explores six key areas in which future technology and innovation could be deployed. Key findings include:
1. The next generation of experience: Travel is increasingly about depth rather than breadth of experience. Technologies such as augmented reality, gamification mechanisms and smart mobile devices will transform the travel experience.
2. Automatic transit: Checking-in could become the exception rather than the norm, with the rise of faster and more efficient identity management systems. Chips, biometrics, long range fingerprinting and near field communications (NFC) can be deployed in a more integrated way to fast-forward how people move around.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Taking the stress out of travel: The wellbeing agenda and changing demographics will place greater emphasis on removing travel stress. Intelligent luggage tags and tickets will give greater reassurance whilst m-Health (mobile-Health) applications will allow travellers to manage and monitor their health and wellbeing as if they were at home.
6. The business tourist: Continued emphasis on work-life balance and wellbeing at work may see the rise of the business tourist which will demand speed and efficiency as well as a home-away-from-home.
(TravelMole, January 2012)
On December 10, 2011, Singaporean company 3rd Planet will be unveiled as the first interactive 3D online travel portal. Harnessing interactive media for global travellers and enabling experiential learning, 3RD Planet users will be able to explore the world's most famous sights with the click of a mouse.
With interactive 3D CGI scenes incorporating genuine sounds to replicate the environment, 3rd Planet serves as an experiential educational tool for all ages, as well as a consolidated source of information for those planning trips. Users will be able to navigate streets, explore buildings, and gather information about some of the world's most iconic locations.
- Virtually "fly" around the planet, zooming into specific locations
- Discover new places of interest
- Check out the world's most famous tourism sights
- Walk through streets and interact with buildings and monuments
- Experience, educate and explore
The first taste of 3rd Planet will be available globally on December 10 with the launch of the inaugural experience - "Journey to Everest." The first 1 million people around the world to log on to www.3rdplanet.com will be able to sign up for free and immediately explore this first incredible journey, a snapshot of what is to come as 3RD Planet develops.
3RD Planet chose to launch with "The Journey to Everest" as it is one of Earth's great wonders; 3RD Planet unlocks the mystery and enables people all over the world to explore and discover. Working together with the Nepal Tourism Board, 3RD Planet has brought the key sights of Nepal to life in interactive 3D CGI. Users will virtually embark on the journey towards Mount Everest, discovering the highlights of the country and unearthing knowledge on route.
Prachanda Man Shrestha, CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board, explained that as a national tourism office, they place a strong emphasis in presenting their tourism attractions to the global market in a unique way. The beauty of Nepal cannot just be described in pictures and words, and 3rd Planet has an amazing technology that enables us to showcase our country in a totally new dimension.
3rd Planet will offer end-users an unparalleled experience to better visualize tourism destinations and equip them with more knowledge of what the locations have to offer before they travel. A new frontier for the travel industry and global travelers, 3rd Planet will launch on December 10, with further locations rolled out over the months to come as 3rd Planet truly comes to life. (ForImmediateRelease.Net, December 2011)
According to Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer at TripAdvisor, the "next big things" for the online travel industry are:
1. Travel is becoming more social: People are using technology and social networks to tap into the wisdom of friends to make good travel decisions.
2. The travel category is changing (dramatically) with mobile: Mobile is incredibly exciting - and changing both the travel planning period and the in-trip experience. Particularly during the in-trip experience there is still a ton of opportunity to make the traveller better informed, allow her to find the right restaurants & attractions tailored to her interests and time, and even provide special location-based features that can only be delivered via mobile. If only we can get rid of those roaming fees for international trips!
3. The power (and omnipresence) of the review: With TripAdvisor having over 45 million visitors last month reading some of our 50 million reviews and opinions, we know reviews are essential to consumers in the travel-planning process.
4. Green-friendly and sustainable travel are gaining importance: Travellers want to know more about the green practices and environmental reputation of the hotels, and travellers seek to understand whether the hotel is part of the problem or the solution in promoting better environment practices. And a growing set of travellers want to see how their tourism dollars are benefiting the local community in certain destinations.
(tnooz, August 2011)
The feedback on how visitors react to the presence of Facebook "Like" button on travel sites has been "overwhelmingly negative across the board", according to a report on the user experience and usability similarities and differences of websites in the travel industry.
The Usabilla's User Experience In The Travel Sector report features 18 travel websites and found that some people approve of Facebook 'Like' buttons, but "most participants disliked the buttons with a passion".
The findings show that users really hate the pushy appearance of a company asking for an endorsement. Of course, people use 'Likes' differently as well: it is easy to stay updated on good content though the Facebook news feed. This can be communicated more clearly, as well as any other benefits one could get from 'Liking' the page (such as deals only for followers, for example). One might ascertain that companies in the travel sector are simply putting the Facebook 'Like' button on their homepage because "everyone else is doing it", however doing so without a clear social media marketing strategy is counterproductive if you alienate site visitors and come across as pushy or 'begging' a user to 'Like' your company or brand. (eyefortravel, August 2011)
In July 2011, TripAdvisor has announced it has reached the 50 million reviews and opinions milestone.
In January 2005, TripAdvisor reached 1 million published reviews and opinions, then grew to 10 million in June 2007, 25 million in July 2009 and in July 2011 features 50 million reviews and opinions - more user-generated content than any other travel site.
TripAdvisor Content Fun Facts:
- The first review on TripAdvisor was published on December 11, 2001 on the Roost Lodge in Vail, Colorado;
- The most reviewed property in the world is the Luxor Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, currently with more than 6,100 reviews;
- The total word count of reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor is equivalent to the word count of 9,420 volumes of the novel "War and Peace".
(HOTELMARKETING.COM, July 2011)
Amadeus is now offering online travel agents an intuitive search solution that revolutionises the way consumers search for travel online. The tool, Amadeus Extreme Search, focuses on the traveller and their natural thought process, allowing travellers to shop by their desired travel experience. It is based on flight search, and in the near future, other travel components such as high-speed rail and low cost carriers will be added.
Nordic online travel agency European Travel Interactive (eTRAVELi) is the first pilot to benefit from the solution. Later this year, MakeMyTrip.com, India's leading online travel agency, will also pilot the solution.
According to Amadeus, travel sellers are able to capture the traveller's attention early in the search process due to the unique search experience, by inspiring and engaging them into a booking. Amadeus Extreme Search lets travellers ask open questions in real-time such as "where can I go on a beach holiday in Europe for less than €600 per person?"
Consumers no longer need to enter origin and destination information, but can inspire their search by budget, type of activity or geography all on a single page and receive relevant responses immediately.
The underlying technology, leveraging the Amadeus Massive Computation Platform, processes billions of results based on the traveller's query, according to Amadeus. The traveller receives practically instant results which are based on real-time availability and price.
The launch builds upon an industry first in 2009, when Amadeus launched the Extreme Search solution for airline websites with Lufthansa. (eyefortravel, June 2011)
Groupon and Expedia have joined forces to create Groupon Getaways with Expedia.
Groupon Getaways with Expedia will offer consumers deeply discounted, highly compelling travel deals from among the more than 135,000 hotels worldwide that work with Expedia. Starting in the US and Canada, with plans to expand to other countries, Expedia and Groupon plan to also include package deals, airline tickets, car rentals, cruises and destination activities.
The deals will follow the proven Groupon model, in which customers have a limited time to buy a discount voucher good for future travel. Discounts will be significant - typically around 50% off retail rates found at other online travel sites. Once a customer purchases a voucher, they can redeem it at a later date of their choice within the redemption period. There is no pressure to plan immediately; the dates are flexible.
Groupon Getaways with Expedia represents a new and powerful marketing channel for hotels to reach more than 50 million combined Groupon and Expedia members in the US and Canada, many of whom are highly engaged in social media and often share great Groupon deals with their networks. Participating hotels and other travel suppliers will benefit from unmatched exposure, incremental customers and revenue at their property, and cash up front after the voucher sale closes, all at no cost to participate.
Groupon Getaways with Expedia is expected to launch in late June. (TravelDailyNews, June 2011)
Bing has recently created a travel application for Facebook - "Bing Wish List", illustrating the edge that the search engine has against its rival Google in the travel market.
The application includes the ability to create a wish list, but it also has a strong social element - with friends of the user being able to suggest new locations, add comments, and share their own wish list - and a number of promotional gateways for the Bing site itself.
For example, Bing Travel images are displayed for locations, allowing users to view enticing pictures of foreign locales. Users who click on the image will be redirected to the Bing "Places" page for the area, which provides for information. Once users want to get going on actual trips, Bing Travel resources are linked in the app, allowing users to quickly go to the flight data, hotel booking, and other parts of the Bing Travel site. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2011)
TripAdvisor has added augmented reality to its mobile and iPad apps. An upgrade to its existing smartphone and iPad applications gives users the opportunity to use a device's camera and GPS technology to pinpoint points of interest and other markers contained in the TripAdvisor system.
Similar to other AR-enabled services, users see a label overlay on the screen of the device, with snippets of information such as name, overall rating and a link to the main TripAdvisor site. The labels automatically move or change to another item as the user moves the camera view around a location. A map also shows the location of the user and the direction they are looking in.
TripAdvisor first added Google StreetView services into the app in February 2011. The app (iPhone, iPad2 only and iPod Touch) also features Virtual Tours, allowing travellers to preview a travel destination with TripAdvisor reviews and opinions superimposed over Street View from Google. (tnooz talking travel tech, April 2011)
With the idea that the best way to find the right hotel is to ask people that you know and trust, social travel planning service Kukunu is introducing Hotel Me, a hotel app hat essentially creates a poll of your Facebook friends. Hotel Me is a Facebook application, presently in a limited beta, that essentially creates a poll of your Facebook friends. All you do is enter the area where you're traveling, the dates you'll be staying, then add a customized message.
The idea behind Hotel Me isn't to take away from Kukunu. Rather, for shorter, faster trips, Hotel Me is an ideal choice over the more in-depth version available from Kukunu. The results are great, as long as your Facebook friends decide to click the blue button. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, December 2010)
At the 39th International Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Afilias announced that it has been selected by dotHOTEL as the registry services and DNS provider for its application to ICANN for the .hotel new top-level domain (new TLD). dotHOTEL is supported by the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, the world's largest association of hospitality providers.
dotHOTEL will apply for the .hotel Internet extension when ICANN begins accepting applications for new TLDs, expected in the second quarter of 2011. The mission of dotHOTEL is to create a namespace of security, trust and credibility for the global hotel industry and its customers. dotHOTEL also plans to develop products and services to enhance the efficiency and convenience of marketing and e-commerce for hotels and their organizations worldwide. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, December 2010)
Travel community TripAdvisor has taken several mobile-related initiatives in 2010. Be it for launching its mobile website in 17 countries to its new iPhone application, the company says all such initiatives are related to revolutionizing how consumers get travel advice.
In late July 2010, TripAdvisor formed a partnership with Nokia, which resulted in an Ovi app for Nokia's Ovi Store and integration of the TripAdvisor service into Nokia's Ovi Maps. The TripAdvisor for Nokia app allows travellers to search for popular hotels, restaurants, and attractions in their vicinity, as well as find the cheapest airfares available. Nokia users can find and filter hotels and attractions by rating, distance, and price. With such applications, users get immediate access to the latest user reviews of the restaurants, hotels, and attractions in their immediate area or anywhere else in the world they may want to discover while on the go.
Mike Putnam, senior product manager, Mobile, TripAdvisor indicated that mobile is a great fit for TripAdvisor, allowing travellers to plan trips and get travel advice wherever they are. Since December of 2009, they've launched their mobile website (which works on thousands of phones in 15 languages), and released downloadable apps for iPhone, Android, Nokia, and Palm.
TripAdvisor announced that 3 million unique users visited TripAdvisor Mobile in the month of August 2010 alone.
TripAdvisor wants to help travelers plan the perfect trip, no matter how they are getting to us. This is why they launched a mobile website in December 2009, very quickly ensuring that it would work on any phone with a web browser. On the iPad, consumers can simply go to TripAdvisor.com and they'll instantly have access to more than 40 million traveller reviews and opinions. (eTN eTurboNews Global Travel Industry News, October 2010)
TripAdvisor has experienced tremendous growth in site traffic, with more than 40 million unique monthly visitors, according to comScore Media Metrix July worldwide numbers for TripAdvisor sites, up 60% from the beginning of the year. TripAdvisor additionally features 20 million registered members, up from 15 million in January 2010.
TripAdvisor, already the world's largest travel site, celebrates becoming the first travel brand to have more than 40 million unique visitors in one month.
TripAdvisor is now available in 14 languages, across 23 countries worldwide. In 2010 alone, TripAdvisor has launched new websites in eight markets globally - Turkey, Denmark, Mexico, Poland, Norway, Australia, Singapore and Thailand.
To put TripAdvisor's popularity into context for the UK market, the TripAdvisor.co.uk site on its own boasts 4.5 million unique visitors per month. That's more than Expedia.co.uk (3.4 million), HSBC.co.uk (4.1 million), and on a par with BT.com (4.5 million). (HOTELMARKETING.COM, September 2010)
Japan's largest e-commerce retailer Rakuten is looking for a move into the European travel search space following its €200 million purchase of France's Price Minister in June 2010. Price Minister runs voyagermoinscher.com, France's number one price comparison site in the travel sector.
Price Minister has been live in the UK since 2009, although the UK site currently does not have a dedicated travel channel. A Spanish version launched two years earlier and features a travel channel in partnership with govolo.com.
In its Japanese home market, Rakuten sells over $3 billion worth of products online. In 2009, its dedicated travel business saw an operating profit of YEN8.8 billion (£65 million) on revenues of YEN19.3 billion (£142 million). Total transaction value for the year was YEN300 billion (£2.2 billion). The site booked more than 30 million room nights. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, June 2010)
Through a new agreement, Travelocity will remain Yahoo! Travel's exclusive booking provider for all air, car and hotel packaging options, and the new exclusive provider for cruise and vacation packages, previously supplied by Orbitz.
Since 1997, this strategic alliance has served as a means of arming travellers with best-in-class services and pricing. Combining strengths, the two companies will continue to provide consumers with an enhanced booking experience by giving users direct access to Travelocity's popular products and money-saving planning tools through a trusted source like Yahoo! Travel.
The ability to combine networks through this agreement will allow users to view and share content, such as travel reviews posted to both sites, and open the door for additional joint marketing opportunities. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, June 2010)
TripAdvisor is to tap into the vast array of connections already in play via Facebook to launch its first personalised recommendation system for hotels.
TripAdvisor has long promised a system that is more helpful to the user by providing recommendations and tips from those that may have the same requirements or preferences. And now it looks to have done it - but perhaps not in the way many would have expected, using the vastness of the Facebook population and its existing Cities I've Visited application rather than building some kind of complicated profiling system within TripAdvisor itself.
The way it works is actually very simple: Users can search for a particular destination or hotel page on TripAdvisor. In a prominent module on the page the user can log into their Facebook account via Facebook Connect. If the user has connection through the Cities I've Visited application (it currently has five million active users, so a fairly high chance that a friend will have used it), the profile will be displayed. The user can then post a question about the destination or hotel direct to their wall from within the system or send a message to those that have signalled they visited. Once the question is live the usual Facebook tools take over, allowing friends to respond via private message or as a comment on a user's wall. These messages are not only displayed in the user's Facebook profile but back in the TripAdvisor system, as long as the user is still signed in with Facebook Connect.
This system is a significant addition to the TripAdvisor platform and is a smart integration of a consumer's existing use of Facebook to help customer's get a better understanding about a destination or hotel.
The system is tapping into the social graph now seen as the number one growth potential of Facebook and will probably evolve into a wider use of the Facebook Questions project already in development. (tnooz - talking travel tech, June 2010)
According to Expedia, this can be anything from translating a menu using Google Goggles to putting the guidebook to one side and using a virtual reality layer on your phone to picture the street in front of you and get links to restaurant reviews or travel information.
Nigel Pocklington, VP Global Marketing and Strategy, Expedia, says virtual reality is likely to have a big impact on travellers in the near future.
In an interview with EyeForTravel, Pocklington referred to an offering from layar.com. The Layar Reality Browser shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of the real world as seen through the camera of your mobile phone. This technology is called Augmented Reality. The company augments the real world as seen through your mobile phone, based on your location. The idea is simple: Layar works by using a combination of the mobile phone's camera, compass and GPS data to identify the user's location and field of view, retrieve data based on those geographical coordinates, and overlay that data over the camera view. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, June 2010)
Apple filed another US patent in support of its possible Apple iTravel plans. This time a very powerful new concept for a location based application service, demonstrated as a restaurant seating/ordering iApp in the patent filings.
The idea is simple. Deliver a location based service to information savvy iPhone users that wish to receive temporary retail and service-based applications. Imagine standing at the entrance of a restaurant and viewing their menu on your iPhone. The minute you leave the front of that restaurant, the app disappears so that you don't clog up your iPhone with hundreds of local business apps.
The patent even goes as far as showing the estimated wait time in the restaurants iApp before being seated, as well as viewing and placing orders from the restaurant's menu electronically.
Again, all this is currently still at the patent stage. No signs, dates or even evidence that this will ever go live. But if it does, it would certainly play perfectly with Apple's iTravel plans. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2010)
The key card could become a thing of the past after a hotel chain announced it would allow guests to access their rooms using their smartphones. The technology, to be trialled at two hotels in June 2010, would mean that guests could choose to avoid the hassle of checking in at the front desk. Instead, they would download an application to their mobile device that would enable them to open their door simply by holding their phone to a sensor.
Testing will take place for at least 60 days at the Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, May 2010)
Travelocity has introduced a new Travel Insider tab on The Roaming Gnome's Facebook page. "Friends", according to the company, have now access to deals and promotions not available anywhere else. The first offer gives customers $75 off when booking a vacation package of three nights or more to California.
There are many reasons why travellers become friends with The Roaming Gnome on a social network like Facebook, according to Troy Whitsett, vice president design and innovation, Travelocity. Many just want to keep up with The Roaming Gnome and his adventures, but Travelocity also know that people want access to travel deals and this is a great way to reward their fans for their loyalty.
There are other new upgrades, too. Users are being allowed to use Travelocity's popular "Deals on a Map" feature to shop for their next vacation within the Facebook environment. Friends can access this from the "Travel Deals" tab. Once friends find a flight, hotel or vacation package and are ready to book, they will be directed to Travelocity to complete their purchase.
The company also shared that "Friends" of the Roaming Gnome can insert a personal photo into one of nine different Travelocity Roaming Gnome costumes and then share the image with their Facebook friends. Friends have the option of taking a photo with a Web cam, uploading a picture from a computer or selecting a Facebook photo. (eyefortravel.com, April 2010)
Google Inc. is in talks to acquire ITA Software Inc., a maker of travel programs used by companies including Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and Microsoft Corp., according to Bloomberg News.
ITA Software, based in Massachusetts, may seek about $1 billion, according to sources close to the negotiation. ITA has a reputation as a company that is on a quest to solve some very big problems in the travel industry, according to PhoCusWright Inc. (travelmole, April 2010)
Lonely Planet has launched a 1,000 Ultimate Experiences app for the iPad, which went on sale in Apple stores in the US in April 2010. Lonely Planet's 1,000 Ultimate Experiences App allow iPad users to explore its recommendations through images, video and insights from its leading travel authors. Just two days after the launch, the company had to cut the price of its new app after hefty criticism from users.
Inspired by the Lonely Planet book of the same name, the app replaces the traditional book reading experience with a deck of 1,000 cards which users can swipe, flick and thumb their way through, bringing together the top 1,000 ideas, places and activities to inspire their next trip.
Lonely Planet's Discover guides are also in development for iPad in the iBook format. Titles will include Great Britain, Italy, Spain, France and Ireland.
The iPad is a ground breaking device that gives us the flexibility to publish content in extraordinary ways we would never have thought possible a year ago, according to Matt Goldberg, Lonely Planet chief executive. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, April 2010)
InterContinental properties in New York, Atlanta, London and Hong Kong will use iPad devices to provide guests with directions through interactive maps, show destination-specific videos for activity recommendations and make instant bookings at restaurants and other activities.
InterContinental Hotels will begin equipping concierge teams at select properties with Apple's iPad mobile device.
They are also preparing to pilot state-of-the-art Google Maps technology as well as other enhancements, and the Apple iPad will be a revolutionary way of showcasing some of these features. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, April 2010)
The difference between rich media and standard banner ads can mean a big difference in click-throughs and conversions for advertisers in the travel industry, according to research from Eyeblaster.
Web users were more than 2.6 times as likely to click on a rich media ad than a static banner, based on the study of billions of impressions of airline ads. Conversion rates were also up, by 198%.
Airline online ad conversion rate worldwide, Q4 2008-Q3 2009:
- Rich media: 3.4%
- Standard banners: 1.7%
Airlines account for about 29% of display ad impressions in the travel industry.
Placement also had a significant effect on direct response. Ads served against lifestyle sites, homepages, instant messaging and weather sites performed above average, while click-throughs on travel sites themselves were slightly below average. Dwell rates, an alternative measure of engagement, were highest on news, travel, finance, and instant-messaging sites.
Airline online ad click-through rate owlrdwide, by type of placement, Q4 2008-Q3 2009:
- Lifestyle: 0.52%
- Homepage: 0.40%
- Instant messaging: 0.36%
- Weather: 0.27%
- Travel: 0.24%
- News: 0.20%
- Mail: 0.19%
- Finance: 0.09%
- Sport: 0.08%
- Entertainment: 0.06%
- Other: 0.19%
Eyeblaster found that most Web users are exposed to an airline display campaign only a single time, but increased exposures lead to more clicks and conversions. According to the "Airline Advertising: Preparing Your Online Media for Takeoff" report, four exposures is optimal for advertisers, meaning internet users are underexposed to airline campaigns and not clicking as much as they could be. (eMarketer, March 2010)
TripAdvisor officially launches its mobile website. Now available in 17 countries and 11 different languages, the beta version of the mobile website has already attracted more than 1 million unique monthly visitors, more than any other mobile website in the travel industry, according to TripAdvisor.
Travelers can visit the mobile TripAdvisor website on their cell phones or smartphones at tripadvisor.com. On TripAdvisor's mobile site, travelers can find nearby restaurants, hotels and attractions, and directions to them - all with the smartphone's GPS capabilities. Travelers can also post reviews and opinions while traveling, when the experiences are freshest in their minds.
TripAdvisor's mobile website is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The mobile website will soon be available in additional countries and languages. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, March 2010)
The Green Travel Finder globe directory announced passing the milestone of 8,000 lodging establishments. Travellers can search and book directly with hotels, resorts, guest houses (B&B), hostels and even British pubs who have participated in one of the dozens of local, regional and international "green certification programs" worldwide which follow sound standards for certification.
In order to enable mass engagement with sustainable travel and tourism the Green Hotel Finder directory was developed in conjunction with the Global Sustainability Index, which provides travellers and the travel industry one common trusted international program and brand to further the global understanding and demand for green and sustainable destinations, travel industry and their supply chain. (Travelmole, March 2010)
AT&T Interactive and Expedia have signed a distribution agreement to complement local information with hotel-booking features. The two companies will help travellers in checking hotel rates, room availability and also book rooms on AT&T Interactive's yellowpages.com and YP.com local search websites.
In addition to AT&T Interactive's business listings, user reviews, and video profiles, the new hotel booking functionality supports AT&T Interactive's ongoing content growth. The booking feature is co-branded with hotels.com, a subsidiary of Expedia.
The online travel company mentioned that this partnership will provide it with a way to reach consumers who are already looking for local hotel information.
For its part, AT&T Interactive stated that this agreement creates a natural extension to the travel and hotel information already available on yellowpages.com and YP.com. (EyeForTravel, February 2010)
Ebookers believes it has stolen a march on its rivals by taking a first strategic step into mobile with a new site designed for customers to use on their handsets, according to TravelWeekly UK. The European online travel agency hopes the new site will help customers research, plan and prepare to book while on the move, saving them time and effort.
Unashamedly simple, the site has been developed with Handy Group over the last six months and initially will offer three paths to search flights, hotels and car hire separately. In the search results it offers users the chance to either email the chosen results to themselves, or someone else, or call to book. Property photographs are available in the hotels path, but only one, although once a deal has been selected the page lists more that are available to view. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, February 2010)
More consumers than ever are turning to travel mobile sites to access information, book flights and hotel rooms, and rent cars, according to research from The Nielsen Co.
Travelocity leads the pack, with 1.263 million unique monthly visitors in October 2009, according to Nielsen. That's up a sizable 32.3% from 955,000 in October 2008. Expedia was close behind, with 1.258 million visitors in October, up only 4.7% from the same period the previous year.
Following are the top 10 travel mobile sites and apps gauged by unique monthly visitors, according to Nielsen:
1.Travelocity: 1.263 million (+32.3% compared to October 2008)
2. Expedia: 1.258 million (+4.7%)
3. Priceline: 1.2 million (+39.5%)
4. Orbitz: 1.12 million (+23.9%)
5. Delta Airlines: 995,000 (+20.3%)
6. American Airlines: 982,000 (55.1%)
7. Southwest Airlines: 956,000 (+2.4%)
8. Hotels.com: 725,000
9. Continental Airlines: 669,000 (+24.1%)
10. United Airlines: 554,000 (+43.2%)
(Travelmole, January 2010)
Hostelworld.com has launched its iPhone application in order to offer flexibility and convenience to customers booking hostels and other types of budget accommodation ‘on the go'.
Key features include: city map view of hostels, showing users current location; advanced sorting and filtering accommodation options in line with user requirements; ability to compile a list of favourites and save personal preferences all in one place; offline mode allows users to access downloaded properties for chosen destinations; ability to book multiple room types simultaneously; users can store bookings, allowing them to generate a history of previous bookings that can easily be referred to.
87% of Hostelworld.com's customers bring a mobile phone with them on their travels, demonstrating how its customer demographic is much closer to their mobile phones than a lap top, according to a recent survey conducted by the firm. (EyeForTravel, January 2010) has worked on a mobile online reservation service. The company indicates that all content on the mobile hotel.info portal has been designed for use on the go. Users can now book a hotel in their desired location using their mobile phones through m.hotel.info.
hotel.info has worked on a mobile online reservation service. The company indicates that all content on the mobile hotel.info portal has been designed for use on the go. Users can now book a hotel in their desired location using their mobile phones through m.hotel.info.
Room reservation can be completed using any mobile phone. Also, the usual international classification with stars, as well as the evaluation by hotel.info users, facilitates choosing the right hotel. Mobile users can additionally also use the portal to obtain information on hotel facilities and services, view photos and find the hotel using a map. The simplified search function allows users to search for specific hotels or hotels in specific price categories.
Best Western International has released its free iPhone application, allowing users to book Best Western accommodation anywhere around the world. Called Best Western To Go, the iPhone application allows users to find and book Best Western accommodation at more than 4,000 hotels in more than 80 countries.
It also includes GPS maps when searching for a Best Western hotel, lists of local attractions and restaurants, and the opportunity to 'push' information directly from the Best Western app to a Facebook page, email or to other iPhone users. ?
Best Western plans to release upgrades to its iPhone application throughout 2010 and introduce applications for other platforms including Blackberry. (TravelMole, January 2010)
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 14:31