How has the consumer journey changed for travellers?
Overview: ABTA’s latest Consumer Holiday Trends Report has suggested that travellers are booking holidays differently. We look at the changing trends.
ABTA have released their Consumer Holiday Trends Report for 2014. This annual survey of holidaymakers has highlighted certain changes in how travellers are researching and booking their holidays.
Shift towards travel agents
The most notable change is the shift towards booking holidays with travel agents. The number of people booking directly with service providers (hotels and airlines, for example) has dropped.
In 2013, 41% of travellers booked a holiday with a service provider, compared to only 34% in 2014. This shift is even more pronounced in the booking of domestic holidays.
In 2014, 10% booked a domestic holiday with a high street travel agent, compared with 7% in 2013. Furthermore, 16% of travellers booked a domestic holiday with an online travel agent in 2014, compared to 12% the previous year.
This all points to a growing trend for booking holidays through an agent, whether online or on the high street. There has also been a slight increase in holidays booked with tour operators.
Age and regional differences
The report also points to very clearly defined trends amongst certain age groups. For example, high street travel agents are especially popular with the 35 – 44 age group.
This suggests that those with young families prefer the reassurance of a face-to-face meeting with a travel agent. Similarly, travel agents are also popular amongst the youngest travellers. In the 16 – 24 age group, 18% of holidaymakers use a high street travel agent and 36% use an online travel agent to book at least one holiday a year.
This may indicate that those holidaying on their own for the first time also prefer the advice of a travel agent. In addition, the report indicates regional differences in how travellers book holidays. Those outside London, for example, are far more likely to use a travel agent. This could reflect the less personalised lifestyle of the metropolis.
The section of report that looks at sources for travel inspiration is especially interesting. The most notable trend is that the youngest age group utilises an ever more diverse range of sources for travel ideas.
Predictably, social media is the most popular source of inspiration for the 16 – 24 age group, 44% of who use platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to inform their travel choices. On average, across all age groups the use of social media to plan holidays drops drastically to 18%. This clearly indicates the greater popularity and influence of social media amongst younger holidaymakers.
Perhaps a more surprising statistic is the relatively small number of travellers who use travel company websites. An average of 15% use these websites to help them decide where to travel, rising slightly to 25% amongst 16 – 24 year olds. Travel companies will, no doubt, be attempting to engineer a rise in this number.
Recommendations from family and friends remain one of the most powerful influences on travellers.
It is the single most popular source of inspiration for the 16 – 24 age group, exerting a greater influence than even social media. The most popular source of travel inspiration across all age groups, however, is general internet searching, with 41% of all travellers using the likes of Google to help them decide where to travel.
Wherever and however you decide to travel this summer, don’t forget to take out Avanti Travelcare.