More than 50 percent of travelers are looking for help and inspiration when planning a trip
MONTREAL – A new study commissioned by Expedia Media Solutions, the advertising arm of the Expedia group, and conducted by Northstar Research Partners, explores the motives and behaviors of travelers across eight countries to uncover travel trends. Released at the DMAI Annual Convention, the Multi-National Travel Trends study provides a snapshot of the preferences, priorities, attitudes and influences of online travelers from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
The study shows that overall travelers are open-minded about destination choice and seeking information from a variety of sources. Across all eight countries, at least 50 percent of travelers are undecided on a destination and are looking for help and inspiration during the planning and booking process, and more than 65 percent of travelers said they are influenced by informative content from travel brands or destinations. Online travel agencies (OTAs) and search engines are leading resources during the planning phase, and 44 percent or more travelers booked their trip on an OTA.
More than 60 percent of travelers said budget was a primary factor and indicated that they look for deals before making a decision. The study also revealed that loyalty programs are less influential than deals, reviews, brand content, and conversations, and travelers from different countries are seeking inspiration from varying sources during the booking journey.
“While most travelers have a travel budget in mind and are actively looking for deals and promotions, the study reveals variances by country in terms of how and where their budget is spent, and travelers ultimately prioritize activities and experiences over price,” said Andrew van der Feltz, Senior Director, EMEA & APAC for Expedia Media Solutions. “Since more than 50 percent of travelers aren’t set on a destination, they’re seeking inspiration and informative content during the planning process. By looking at the specific priorities, influences and shopping habits of travelers in each country, marketers can understand how and when to reach their target demographic.”
Not all vacations are created equal The number of trips taken each year, and the trip duration, vary widely by country. Australian, French and German travelers take four or fewer trips per year, but maximize vacation time by taking lengthy vacations – lasting on average about 10 days in duration. On the other end of the spectrum, Japanese travelers may be suffering from vacation depravation; they take more than four trips a year, but their trip lasted just over three days, well below the average duration of nearly eight days. U.S. travelers fall in the middle of the pack, with more than four trips per year, averaging about seven days in length.
Relaxing, sight-seeing and visiting family are top trip types Relaxing trips are popular across all countries, except in Japan, where sight-seeing ranked number one with 61 percent of travelers. More than 50 percent of travelers from China, Germany and France took a relaxing trip in the past year. Visiting family was the most popular trip type with Australian, U.S. and Canadian travelers, whereas Chinese and Japanese travelers took more family play vacations than trips to visit family.
Spending big on hotels, or saving for shopping? Despite the growth of the sharing economy, hotels are the top accommodation choice globally, according to the study – at least 50 percent of travelers stayed in a hotel on their last trip. Japanese travelers are the biggest hotel spenders, allocating nearly 35 percent of their budget to hotels, followed by German and British travelers who also spend over 30 percent of their budget on hotels. Chinese travelers allocate less than 20 percent of their budget for hotels and save nearly fifty percent of their budget for shopping, food and attractions. Across all other countries, at least one third of the budget is allocated for shopping, food and attractions or tours.
Advertising strategies are not one-size fits all Over 65 percent of travelers from all countries and more than 80 percent of American, British, Canadian and Chinese travelers are influenced by informative content from brands or destinations, but advertising strategies should be tailored by country. Advertising featuring deals are most likely to influence Americans, Canadians and Australians, whereas Chinese travelers are looking for ads with appealing imagery and informative content. At 48 percent, both French and German travelers place equal value on appealing deals and imagery.
From celebrities and experts to deals and promotions, social media influences vary by country Chinese travelers are by far the most likely group of travelers to be influenced by social media, followed by Americans and Canadians. Only eight percent of Chinese travelers said social media does not influence their decision-making process, which is in sharp contrast to Japanese travelers, where nearly 60 percent said social media is not influential.
More than 50 percent of American, Australian, British and Canadian travelers said that social content featuring deals and promotions influences their decision-making process, whereas Chinese travelers are influenced by travel videos posted by their friends, blogs and articles about destinations, and celebrity travel.