The travel industry has already changed so much in the last 10 years and it is important to understand how the customer journey has evolved. Below are 10 facts on how customers decide their next adventure and what influences their decisions.
1. Travel customers who visit TripAdvisor are more likely to take time over research, with more than 80% taking more than four weeks to complete a purchase. (Sale Cycle 2019).
2. Google found that hotels and flights are booked 12 weeks in advance. Within the 3 months prior to the trip date, people also search more for experiences rather than standard accommodation like hotels. (Google 2019).
3. When weighing up booking options, online ratings play an important or very important role for 83% of "digital natives". 34% rate their own travels with 40% rating as satisfactory and 42% as dissatisfactory. (University of Applied Sciences).
4. When reading reviews, young travellers find an authentic style of writing (73%), detailed information (69%) and ratings that are not older than 3 months (66%) to be particularly trustworthy. (University of Applied Sciences)
5. A report from TrustYou finds strong reasons why hotels should contact customers and ask for reviews: 80% of customers who received a request left a review. Just 22% wrote a review without being asked. (TrustYou)
6. Personal fulfilment sees travellers making their destination choice based on their own development: “Over half (56%) of global travellers agree travelling has taught them invaluable life skills, and 2019 will see a rise in people’s desire to learn something new whilst away, as well as an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations across generations.” (Booking.com 2019)
7. Booking.com research also revealed some interesting differences between types of travellers. “We found that travellers who book their activities ahead of their trip spend 47% more on lodging and 81% more on transportation than those who wait to book in destination, making them a valuable audience, especially for companies like online travel agencies that sell across multiple categories.” (Booking.com 2019)
8. In 2018, the proportion of direct website bookings fell to 66.7% while marketplace bookings (e.g. AirBnB) increased to 9.1%. Bookings made through agents, affiliates and local tourist offices also increased from 17.5% to 24.3% in the same time frame. (TrekkSoft 2019)
9. For hotel bookings, customers particularly trust the ratings on Booking.com (68%), followed by Google (61%), TripAdvisor and Expedia (30% each). (University of Applied Sciences)
10. With DIY Travelling on the rise, it is worth noting that the "near me" searches on Google Maps have grown 150% over the past year. (Skift 2019)
The statistics emerging are suggesting that there is not just one dominant way that people travel today, there is plenty of choice in what to do. They can book an AirBnb or a package holiday. Reviews have emerged as a valuable way for customers to gain information they trust before making a purchase.