Industry data defies predictions of post-Brexit gloom | Travel Weekly

Image result for union jackUK Holidaymakers appear unfazed by post-referendum gloom, confounding economists’ forecasts with outbound bookings up year on year since the vote on June 23.

Industry analyst GfK reported summer 2016 bookings in July up 1% on last year, and season-to-date bookings up 5%. But it’s not just last-minute bookings that were up, as July saw a 14% year-on-year rise in bookings for this winter.

Summer 2017 bookings were also up 10% on a year ago, although the numbers are small. The rise in bookings came alongside surges in inbound visitor numbers and domestic trips, which have been widely attributed to the fall in the pound. The Tourism Alliance reported an 11% increase in UK domestic trips in July and an 18% rise in international visitors.

Yet outbound travellers seem undeterred up to now, despite reports of exchange rates as low as €1 to £1 at airport foreign exchange bureaux. GfK data shows family bookings up 14% on July 2015 last month, with mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Rhodes enjoying the biggest growth.

Office for National Statistics figures confirmed the pre-vote trend, with holiday departures for the six months to June up 5% on last year and departures over the past 12 months up 7%.

The booking and departure figures were in sharp contrast to a World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast that UK holiday departures could drop 3% by the end of the year as a result of Brexit and a weaker pound.

WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said: “These are top-line projections. This summer, people probably made their commitment to travel. We’ll see in the autumn whether the exchange rate has more of an impact.”

Source: Industry data defies predictions of p… | Travel Weekly

Online paid search and display ad marketing spend down in travel

A major analysis of the leading websites in the US has painted an interesting picture of some significant changes taking place in online travel.

Web audience metrics provider SimilarWeb examined five categories in the industry – airlines, cruise, accommodation, intermediaries and review/recommendations – to try and understand what is happening around areas such as digital marketing, traffic flows and device usage.

Before the individual sector results, here are some of the overarching findings from the study:

  • Mobile market share has grown year-on-year overall, although some sectors have seen a slight fall.
  • Decrease in spend on paid search, as well as display ads.
  • General fall in social media traffic to travel websites.

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For each of the sectors under examination, SimilarWeb looked at the top 25 brands in each from an overall traffic perspective.

Accommodation

The top 25 websites account for just over half (54%) of all traffic in the sector, although their combined traffic has decreased by 18% between March 2015 and March 2016.

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Airlines

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Intermediaries

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Cruise

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Review/recommendation sites

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Source: Online paid search and display ad marketing spend down in travel

The Boomers Will Dominate Travel for 20 Years | TravelPulse Marketing Author Brent Green:

Millennials are getting more and more attention in the media, and arebabyboomerso no doubt a rising force in the travel industry.

But Brent Green, an expert on marketing to the baby boom generation and author of Generation Reinvention and Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers, says that the baby boom generation will continue to be the main driving force in the travel industry for the next two decades.“For the next 20 years,” said Green, “baby boomers are without question the financial force behind leisure travel.

”What Green calls the “sweetest of the sweet spot” in that market is the market segment he identifies as “leading edge baby boomers,” those born between 1946 and 1955. In 2016 they are between 61 and 70 years of age.

This demographic, says Green, is “where the opportunities are” for travel agents and tour operators. Quoting AARP, Green says that the 50-plus demographic, which includes five years below the baby boomer age group, is a $120 billion-a-year market. AARP says that 97 percent of that group expect to travel domestically on at least one trip this year, and at least 45 percent anticipate taking some type of international trip.Green also referred to a study done by British Airways, which found that the generation boborn between 1946 and 1961 have a newfound interest in seeing the world as they enter into retirement, though not everyone’s prepared for long-haul travel.

“There is a strong propensity and desire to travel and see the world,’ said Green, “a lot of pent-up demand. But it is a surprisingly small percentage that have gone overseas and view that opportunity as a realistic next step.”

The leading edge boomer generation “feels under-satisfied with the amount of travel they’ve done up to now,” said Green, and the generation has a strong propensity to travel, though some of them are feeling they are not going to be able to afford it, which may or may not be accurate.

According to Green, the “silent generation,” those born from 1925 to 1945, have dominated the industry for the last 10 years as retirees, but now they are moving into their twilight years and their travel interests are waning. Baby boomers are now entering retirement and are becoming a more powerful force than ever.

Not only are they reaching their heavy travel years, the generation also has a particularly pronounced propensity for travel. The generation is also a large demographic and is in control of a lot of wealth and discretionary income. In addition, that demographic has been a trend setter for its whole life. All of these factors converge to make the market a veritable gold mine for the travel industry.

“The leading edge boomers set up a lot of the trends that became mainstream,” said Green. It was the generation that was in college during the Vietnam War and led the protest against it. It was the generation that championed women’s rights and the generation in which women entered the workplace in larger numbers than ever before.

And it was a generation that pushed the frontiers of travel, with hitchhiking in America and backpacking in Europe during their youth. Now as they reach retirement age, they are eager to get back to traveling, though in a more catered manner than when they were young.

The later baby boomers, aged 52-61, are less of a force in the travel industry now because “they are still actively in their careers, some in the peak demands of their careers, still dealing with college kids or with caregiving of their parents. They will age into the travel sweet spot within 10 years.”

Leading edge baby boomers, between 61 and 70, “are prime time for travel right now,” said Green. “And they have the economic capability of higher end travel. Many are retired, semi retired or within a few years of retirement.”

For those travel agents and tour operators who want to maximize the opportunity presented by the entrance of the leading edge baby boomers into the retiree travel market, Green presents several overarching themes that can help travel marketers target that sweet spot.

1. Creative Experiences. “Leading edge baby boomers are looking for something outside of cookie cutter travel experiences,” said Green. “They want immersive activities. They don’t want to just eat pasta, they want to make it. They don’t want to just make it, they want to see where the wheat is grown that makes the pasta. That’s immersive experience and creative experience. Travel companies that get it and are at the leading edge are doing it already.”

2. Authenticity. “They value experiences that are as close to being culturally consistent with where we’ve travelled as possible,” said Green. “You don’t want to go to McDonald’s in Paris. If you think about why people like to get off the beaten path, it is that they are searching for authentic experiences. They want to see the horse-drawn wagon hauling milk or whatever. They want to travel to destinations that are not over travelled.”

3 Focus on Health and Wellness. “People who fit profile of heavy travellers also tend to be people who are very interested in managing their health and wellness,” said Green. “They travel actively. They rent bicycles and go on a 40-mile day trip. They hike 10 miles in Paris. They want to eat well but don’t want to eat globs of cholesterol. They want a healthier diet.”

4. Community and Family. “They value travel that gives them a sense of community, whether it be a university affiliation, an age affiliation or their families. The leading edge boomers are heavily motivated to travel with their children and grandchildren.” Family travel is a market that will continue to grow.

5. Personal Development. “The leading edge boomers desire to have travel enrich them by increasing their depth of understanding of history, culture or what is involved in a place that makes it significant in history,” said Green.

6. Sustainability and Eco Responsibility. Boomers, as well as other generations, are increasingly concerned with environmental responsibility. An important part of this motivation is the desire to be involved in philanthropy or giving back. “They want to tie the travel experience to doing something meaningful to help others. It may include simply travel with philanthropic organization. Or it may be something like going to Peru to build houses or going to Everest but helping to clean up the trails below. Even if it is a superficial level of contribution, if added to the travel experience it can inspire people who don’t have time to give back if they can combine it with a great vacation.”

Within the leading edge baby boomer demographic, there are many opportunities for development, such as increasing multigenerational travel opportunities; celebration vacations, recognizing rites of passage; solo vacations, 40 percent of the generation is now unmarried; girlfriend getaways, more women are traveling with other women; dating vacations, single people want to meet other single people; and spirituality, as people get older they get more interested in spiritual matters.

Another important trend for travel professionals to note is the growing demand for professional travel services. “The boomers can afford more catered travel,” said Green, “and appreciate professional support. They want someone to help plan their trip so they don’t have to worry about anything but showing up.”

Source: Marketing Author Brent Green: The Boomers Will Dominate Travel for 20 Years | TravelPulse

Luxury travel outpaces the rest of the travel industry, according to new Amadeus report

Global consumers are increasingly spending their disposable income on experiences rather than material goods. And consumers’ desire for these life experiences is spurring a growth in luxury travel that is outpacing the rest of the travel industry, according a new report commissioned by global travel technology company, Amadeus.

The report, Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, reveals the fresh challenges and opportunities that the luxury travel market will face over the next decade. Some key findings from the report include:

  • We have entered a new age of luxury travel, where luxury is curated, real-time and experience-led
  • North America and Western Europe account for 64% of global outbound luxury trips, despite only making up 18% of the world’s population
  • From 2011-2025, Asia Pacific’s luxury travel market will see faster overall growth than Europe’s, but this growth will decelerate from 2015-2025
  • India’s luxury market CAGR of 13% is higher than any of the other BRIC nations, and is the highest of the 25 countries explored in this report
  • A human desire for more rewarding experiences provides an essential catalyst to evolve and improve travel industry quality and service standards
  • A hierarchy of luxury travel needs is identified, ranging from 5-star quality and service standards to exclusive VIP privacy and security

The report was developed with data from Tourism Economics and with dozens of expert interviews with global luxury travel experts across specialist travel concierge agencies, airlines, hoteliers and intermediary suppliers through Connections, a global networking event organizer for luxury travel providers.

In 2015, Amadeus released a report called Future Traveler Tribes 2030, which identified six “traveller tribes” based on consumer behaviour, recognizing that purchasing patterns change depending on the circumstances of each trip. Using similar methodology, Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, identifies six luxury traveller tribes to help travel companies better target and serve the luxury customer market:

  • Always Luxury: luxury is a minimum requirement rather than a perk
  • Special Occasion: luxury travel is a treat, not a given
  • Bluxury: their trip has a business objective, but they will extend it to enjoy a luxury leisure experience
  • Cash-Rich, Time-Poor: likely to seek and pay for third-party travel planning assistance
  • Strictly Opulent: seek the most glamorous experiences and will likely share on social media
  • Independent Affluent: often solo travellers seeking luxury travel to pamper themselves or try something new

“Luxury means different things to different people and this is especially true today. As emergent middle classes seek the material aspect of luxury travel, more mature markets are craving a new, evolved kind of luxury. This is why offering luxury customers a relevant personal and exclusive experience will become even more crucial than it is today – it will be a differentiating factor between old and new luxury,” said Rob Sinclair-Barnes, Strategic Marketing Director at Amadeus IT Group.

“For travel companies, understanding their role in delivering an end-to-end luxury experience for a traveller is key to improving collaboration, and reinforcing an industry-wide push for consistent luxury service. Exploring the latest technologies and innovations for making the industry work better as a whole is key to achieving a new level of luxury that has never existed before,” said Sinclair-Barnes.

You can download a free copy of the Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel report here.

Source: Luxury travel outpaces the rest of the travel industry, according to new Amadeus report

Free Whitepaper: Cross-Cultural Marketing in a Digital Age, Eye for Travel & SDL

SDLWith the right website, content and SEO strategy any travel brand can have a global presence that generates bookings.

However, this is easier said than done as each diverse marketplace requires attention to detail and consistent quality across the brand. History is littered with examples of embarrassing cultural mistakes and slogans that didn’t translate.

This white paper examines why content is important and how companies can get it right for every single target market.

Provided by localisation business SDL it does raise our awareness for the need to consider a localisation strategy for your travel business.

Global Online Travel Market: Trends and Opportunities (2016-2020)

A new report is now available on Research & Markets entitled “Global Online Travel Market: Trends and Opportunities (2016-2020)”.

The report analyses the potential opportunities and significant trends in the global online travel market.  The reports forecasts the value of the global online travel market.  It provides detailed analysis of leading players in the sector including Expedia Inc., The Priceline Group and Hostelworld on the basis of attributes such as business overview, recent developments, financials and strategies adopted by the market leaders in order to ensure growth, sustainability, etc.

The online travel industry originated in the 1970s in the United States market.

Today, from a regional perspective, Asia Pacific, Western Europe and the US market are seen to be similar in size and collectively accounting for 80% share of global online travel market in the year 2015.  In the upcoming years, emerging markets are expected to outperform growth in advanced regions due to improving of socio-economic factors. In addition to this, emerging markets also have a high proportion of Millennial population.

The growth of the global online travel market is driven by growth in global tourism industry, rise in internet penetration and increasing mobile presence. Increasing internet penetration and rise in use of smartphones especially in emerging economies are providing impetus to online travel industry globally. However, presence of certain factors are also posing barriers to growth of the industry and the ability for new entrants to get a foothold. Some of these factors are the threat from alternative accommodation providers, regulation and compliance in the industry and the required high marketing expenditure for companies operating in the segment. Key trends prevailing in the industry includes organic expansion of core brands and increasing capital investment and supply in the hostel space.

Source: Global Online Travel Market: Trends and Opportunities (2016-2020)

Despite Fear of Terrorism, Traveler Sentiment Reaches All-Time High

MMGY_200x190It will take more than a little Zika virus or terrorism to stop people from traveling, apparently. A brand new MMGY study shows U.S. traveller’s interest in travel is at an all-time high.

The latest travelhorizons survey of 2,300 active travellers conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global shows that the overall Traveller Sentiment Index (TSI), which measures U.S. adults’ interest in travel, time for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of service, and safety of travel, now stands at 120, the highest level recorded since its inception in 2007.

That’s not to say they are not mindful of the risks that always come with stepping outside your comfort zone. The perceived safety of travel (97) rated the lowest score, down two points from one year ago. The five other factors that determine the TSI increased between two and six points each.

Overall, slightly fewer respondents said they plan to take a trip in the next six months, but those who do expect to spend more; 63% plan to take at least one overnight leisure trip, down slightly from the 68% percent in October 2015, but 30% expect to spend more, while just 14% expect to spend less.

Fear of flying
Four in ten active leisure travelers (42%) agreed that what they see in the news affects their interest in traveling, and 53% said the news affects their choice of destination.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half (52%) said they don’t feel safe traveling to international destinations, and 26% said they changed some aspect of their travel plans because of the recent terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East. Ten percent switched to a destination they considered safer, and 9% postponed a planned trip, purchased travel insurance, or canceled a trip entirely.

Source: Despite Fear of Terrorism, Traveler Sentiment Reaches All-Time High

What Financial Marketers Can Learn From the Travel Industry

The travel industry has proven how access to individual transaction-level data can enable highly contextual marketing activities, resulting in consumer loyalty, engagement and market growth. Can the banking industry follow the same model?

According to a report from Forbes Insights, organizations that are “leaders” in data-driven marketing report far higher levels of customer engagement and market growth than their “laggard” counterparts. In fact, leaders are three times more likely than laggards to say they have achieved competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty (74% vs. 24%) and almost three times more likely to have increased revenues (55% vs. 20%). Leaders in data-driven marketing are also more than six times more likely than laggards to report achieving competitive advantage in increasing profitability (45% vs. 7%) and five times more likely to have succeeded in customer retention (74% vs. 13%).

The report, Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organization , found widespread agreement that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy. “Effective data-driven marketing draws on resources from across the enterprise, not a single department,” says Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice for Forbes Media. “And without data, marketing is not based on customer intelligence.”

The Forbes study also found that the travel industry was a clear leader in achieving competitive advantage through data-driven marketing. Sixty-seven percent of travel executives said they have achieved a competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty, 56% in new customers and 59% in customer satisfaction.

The question is, can financial marketers learn from the travel industry?

Advancements in technology — specifically the mobile device — and in data analytics greatly enhance the ability for all firms to connect with consumers. Similar to the banking industry, the travel and hospitality industry was forced into digital transformation because of disruption that initially took place almost two decades ago.

This transformation continued as new digital only players competed with traditional travel firms. These disruptors that set consumer expectation ranged from Expedia, a full service booking agency that entered the marketplace 20 years ago, to the more recent phenomena in car service, Uber and lodging with Airbnb.

The Digital Revolution Began 20 Years Ago

Expedia entered the marketplace in 1996 offering online travel options to consumers. The transparency and online price comparison tools yielded an overwhelming customer acceptance to this new way of booking travel. Consumers now had the ability to book their travel online with all information a travel agent had at their own fingertips.

In November 1996, a Wall Street Journal ad announcing Expedia hit the streets. There was little notice from the travel industry since travel agents around the world did not think online, self-serve booking would take away any of their direct business. Within 4 months after introduction, Expedia was already booking $1 million a week in travel revenue. Today, the digital transformation continues with mobile usage.

Mobile Enables On-the-Go Booking

Depsite the small screens of smart phones, mobile adoption for booking continues to be on the rise. In a recent analysis by eMarketer, online travel bookings are decreasing while mobile bookings continue to rise. In 2016, 51.8% of all digital bookings will take place on a mobile device, which is up from 43.8% for 2015. In fact, eMarketer has had to continue to adjust mobile usage predictions upwards because the travel industry continues to make self-service booking swift and easy on the mobile device. A study by Expedia similarly found that there were 156 million US consumers that engage with digital travel content and 90% of monthly travellers do so on their smartphone or tablet.

Mirroring the challenges found in the banking industry, the travel industry was faced with the challenge of effectively mining essential data points from multiple silos within their organization and across product lines. The airlines, car companies, lodging firms and cruise lines were tasked to determine a means of consolidating their data across bookings, payments, loyalty programs, operations, complaints, & social media.

Not only were these firms needing this insight internally, they needed to make it available to the consumer as well — on their smartphone. For example, a typical airlines app contains loyalty information (rewards data), reservations — past, present and future (bookings), a view of payments (finance), boarding passes (travel operations) and provides the option of real-time alerts regarding flight status. This data is being effectively pulled from disparate systems, with the mobile device being the critical delivery channel for the traveller.

Keys to Digital Transformation Success

The Selligent Trend Report, Digital Transformation in the Travel Industry, commends the travel industry stating, “Since travel vendors have staked out their digital real estate, networked their owned properties across online channels as well as partner sites, and built a loyal customer base, they are perfectly positioned for the next wave of change — big data combined with intelligent analytics.”

Integrated digital optimization that is heavily reliant on data and analytics is a must to effectively engage the customer. Banks can learn from the digital transformational success of the travel industry as the challenges travel faced are very similar. Let’s take a rearview look at the digital struggles travel organizations were facing 5 years ago, according to Aditi report, What’s Keeping the CEOs of Hospitality Companies Awake at Night.

  • The mobile app not being a priority
  • Old technology and platforms hindering transformation
  • Lack of a single view to the customer

The Aditi report highlighted 3 power moves working together as attributes for digital transformation success:

1. Business Transformation — Embracing new technologies by transitioning from physical to digital services for travellers.

2. Customer Experience — realizing the value of the travelers personal data across all touch points, to help build consistent and personalized experience throughout their journey by using a predictive analytics approach and knowledge from social channels.

3. Digitizing Operations — building digital products that include agility in the platform build to assist with easy rollout of new products and ideas

The Glistening Diamond in the Big Data Rough

When we take a look at what is important to the traveller, it is similar to what is wanted by the banking consumer. The compelling take away is that the consumer is crystal clear in letting us know exactly how to better engage with them. Consumers in both industries want their business partners to know them, to look out for them and to reward them.

The glistening diamond in the big data rough is to connect with customers on an individual, real-time and contextual basis. This requires sifting meticulously through internal and external big data to grab the relevant insights. The missing link is then to use these insights to build the best consumer experience.

Source: What Financial Marketers Can Learn From the Travel Industry

Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Digital Trends [Infographic]

 Just as travelers plan their trips to make the most of their stays, travel marketing experts need to plan their digital budgets and strategies to make the most of their spend. But with a new year come new choices, channels, and chances for online success.

To make the best digital decisions, travel marketers need to know the top trends, tech, and tactics that will matter to marketing in 2016. Rather than track down all of this data, your ticket to the latest travel insights is a fact-packed infographic created by MDG Advertising called Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Trends.

It pinpoints the five key strategies for making the most of your travel marketing budget and business over the next 12 months. To arrive at the right budget decisions, check out this informative infographic.

1. Spend on Your Website

Investing in your website is one of the wisest decisions you can make. With more and more people looking and booking on travel brand websites than third-party sites, your website delivers the first impression of your travel brand. And an optimized, user-friendly website can create a lasting impression and drive visitors to book without a second thought. The infographic shows:67% of travellers think it’s simpler to book on a travel brand website than a third-party site.

Almost two-thirds of travellers think it’s less expensive to book on a travel brand website.

Top Takeaway: To make the most of this mind-set, view your website as an important digital hub that gives online users everything they want and need.

2. Optimize MobileMobile has become a must in people’s lives, especially when researching and reserving travel. In 2016, even more travellers will be searching for travel online. According to the infographic, you can expect: 49% increase in mobile search for hotels and cruises. 47% rise in mobile search for car rentals and tours and attractions.

Top Takeaway: To serve this mobile market, make sure that all of your digital offerings, experiences, and communications are optimized for every mobile device.

3. Expect to Welcome More Millennials

Millennials already make up 40% of leisure travellers who book travel online. In 2016, their share of both the business and personal travel market will increase even more. To target these young adults, it’s essential to understand that Millennials have specific travel tendencies, such as:  They frequently book travel and share their experiences on mobile devices and digital platforms.

They tend to extend and blend business trips into personal vacations.

They spend more each day on trips than other age groups.

Top Takeaway: Use these Millennial insights to develop your digital properties and target your online messages.

4. Revisit Reviews

In 2016, online reviews and review sites will matter more than ever to travellers. According to the infographic:64% of travellers visit travel review sites like TripAdvisor for vacation ideas.

Almost half of travellers have been compelled to write a review after a travel experience.

Top Takeaway: Since these reviews are so important, travel brands need to regularly revisit and review all guest reviews to learn what they liked and lacked in their experiences.

5. Keep Your Eye on Video

Digital video is becoming more and more popular with travellers, especially on social networks. The infographic reveals these stunning statistics:

Top Takeaway: In 2016, video is a vital investment that must be incorporated with social media to reach and resonate with travellers.

 

Source: Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Digital Trends [Infographic]

Research reveals most-used search keywords for travel industry: bizreport

Analysis from digital marketing intelligence firm SimilarWeb has revealed the most popular search terms used by U.S. consumers searching for information to book their next vacation.

Between the months of January and November, 2015, the most popular online keyword search in the travel industry was ‘Expedia’. The term generated a whopping 32.7 million organic searches during the 11 months.

In fact, instead of generic travel terms, the names of leading airlines and online travel agents all featured in the top spots for organic online travel searches, accounting for 15.3% of all keyword searches. Behind ‘Expedia’ came ‘Kayak’, ‘American Airlines’, ‘TripAdvisor’, ‘South West’, ‘South West Airlines’, and ‘United Airlines’. In eighth place was ‘Airbnb’.

Non-branded, or generic, travel keywords played a much smaller role in generating website traffic for the travel industry.  ‘Flight tracker’ was the highest generic keyword accounting for 0.41% of all searches, followed by ‘hotels’ (0.31%), ‘flights’ (0.17%) and ‘restaurants near me’ (0.11%).

“In any industry, organic searches are a major barometer of brand recognition and trust,” says Pascal Cohen, SimilarWeb  Insights Manager. “In the travel industry this is particularly evident with many of the biggest online sites now front of mind whenever we book a trip.  In an industry where more than 40% of travel companies generate traffic from search, companies not getting searched for are unlikely to generate bookings. Understanding the right keywords driving traffic to sites can make a major impact on a company’s success in this competitive market.”