Nearly half of holidaymakers spend longer researching a holiday than the duration of the trip itself

25/10/2019

There is a big opportunity for marketers to reach holiday markers during their online research stage, with many shoppers using social media influencers to reach a decision, according to a new study.

Headlines surrounding Thomas Cook’s collapse serves to highlight how the travel industry has witnessed dramatic changes to customer behaviour in recent years. Due to the high price tag often associated with holidays, new research by Fresh Relevance, the real-time personalisation platform, has revealed that 43% of holidaymakers actually spend longer researching and booking a holiday than the duration of the trip itself. This is particularly the case for younger holidaymakers, with 60% of Gen Z (16-24) and 58% of Millennials (25-34) admitting their holidays are often shorter than the time spent researching and booking.

The “Digital holidaymaker trend report,'' which surveyed 2000 UK holidaymakers in collaboration with Censuswide, indicates that 42% are using review websites, such as TripAdvisor, when researching a holiday. Comparatively, just one in five holidaymakers use a travel agent and 12% other ‘old school methods’, such as travel publications. The adoption of travel agents varies across generations, with Gen Z (25%) and Millennials (24%) more likely than the average traveller to leverage the holiday experts when looking for their next holiday destination. Social media is a popular option among holidaymakers with a household income of over £75,000, with almost a third (29%) of those surveyed using social networks when researching a holiday.

Key findings include:

• 42% of consumers are using review websites, such as TripAdvisor, when researching a holiday
o Comparatively, just one in five consumers use a travel agent and 12% other ‘old school methods’, such as travel publications
o The adoption of travel agents varies across generations, with Gen Z (25%) and Millennials (24%) more likely than the average traveller to leverage the holiday experts when looking for their next holiday destination.

o Social media is a popular option among holidaymakers with a household income of over £75,000, with almost a third (29%) of those surveyed using social networks when researching a holiday

• When it comes to social commerce, over a third (36%) of holidaymakers would book a trip through Facebook. Gen Z is almost as inclined to book a holiday on Instagram (52%) as they are to make a retail purchase using the social network (49%). The most likely demographic to book a holiday through Pinterest is affluent holidaymakers (43%)
• While holidaymakers are interested in using more technology as part of the booking process, only 11% of respondents have used a travel app

o Conversely, the research showed that one in three consumers would be comfortable using streaming services, such as Netflix, as part of the research process. 24% of vacationers would be comfortable using chatbots or virtual reality (VR) if given the opportunity. Again, the role of technologies varies across generations, with 32% of Gen Z and 31% of Millennials interested in using chatbots or VR.

While holidaymakers are interested in using more technology as part of the booking process, only 11% of respondents have used a travel app. Conversely, the research showed that one in three consumers would be comfortable using streaming services, such as Netflix, as part of the research process. 24% of vacationers would be comfortable using chatbots or virtual reality (VR) if given the opportunity. Again, the role of technologies varies across generations, with 32% of Gen Z and 31% of Millennials interested in using chatbots or VR.

When it comes to social commerce, over a third (36%) of holidaymakers would book a trip through Facebook. Gen Z is almost as inclined to book a holiday on Instagram (52%) as they are to make a retail purchase using the social network (49%). The most likely demographic to book a holiday through Pinterest is affluent holidaymakers (43%).

Mike Austin, CEO & co-founder of Fresh Relevance comments: “Recognising customer preferences and delivering a relevant booking experience is critical. With vast amounts of data and new technologies now available to capture the interest and attention of holidaymakers, there is no longer a place for a one-size-fits-all approach.

We found that leisure travelers are comfortable using new technologies to research and book their next vacation. Whether or not travel providers have the financial means to invest in new channels, there are proven ways to harness holidaymakers’ favourite sources of inspiration in your marketing. Including social proof tactics, such as user generated photos, ratings and reviews, in email and website marketing in real-time, helps customers filter through the noise and guides them at each stage of the customer journey. Retargeting with triggered emails or ads on social networks can re-engage customers who already browsed your holiday deals.

In such a competitive space, providing tailored experiences that resonate with the individual should be at the heart of all travel marketer’s strategies in order to successfully reduce the length of decision making, inspire and ultimate secure the booking.”

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