Study Snapshot: Business Travel Insights

According to the latest traveller insights report commissioned by Amadeus, 47% of travellers lack full comprehension of corporate travel policy and 34% of travellers went ‘off-plan’ in 2012. It shows that business travel goes online while mobile still has a long way to go, opening up opportunities for travel managers to build a more effective relationship with travellers.

The report, ‘Amadeus Business Travel Insights: the 21st Century Business Traveller’, charts the behaviour and aspirations of business travellers across the UK and Ireland, identifying opportunities for travel departments to introduce new services and technologies that will deliver additional value to travellers.

Business travel

Key findings include:

Technology changing the face of business travel

Tipping point reached in the ability to book online: the data displays new opportunities for self managed travel as two thirds (66%) of travellers are now able to book their business travel through an online booking tool. Only a third of travellers (33%) are able to book travel on a mobile or tablet device, providing a significant area of opportunity for travel managers, TMCs and technology companies to put their knowledge and company policies in the hands of the traveller.

Itinerary change management provides opportunity to add value

Half (51%) of the survey respondents had to make changes to their travel plans in 2012 with 37% having to amend their flights whilst on the road. These statistics indicate a clear opportunity for the travel department to add value as only 30% of travellers said the department had been ‘very effective’ at making the necessary amendments to their bookings.

Clear gap to bridge between corporate governance and user awareness of policy

One third (34%) of travellers surveyed said that they had gone “off plan” during their 2012 business travel. However, this increased to half (51%) for those travellers who made 11 or more trips in 2012, nearly a fifth (18%) of them went “off plan” at least five times during the year.

Convenience is the top priority for business travellers

The report found that convenience is prioritised by business travellers above cost and comfort, with 62% of respondents stating this was the most important factor when travelling for business. Just over a fifth (22%) stated cost as their top priority, with only 15% putting comfort first. 32% of the business travellers who took part in our survey would also like to have the opportunity to extend their business trip to include self-funded leisure travel and 14% would like to be provided with information into local sights.

Ambivalence to the corporate travel department

However, the report delivers some more mixed reading for travel managers. Whilst half of the travellers surveyed said that they fully understand their company’s corporate travel policy (51%), this leaves nearly half who have a more limited or no understanding. Respondents demonstrated an inability to pinpoint the value added by the corporate travel department: nearly half (47%) said that the department neither helped nor hindered the business, 15% said that the corporate travel department hindered their ability to do business.

As Diane Bouzebiba, Managing Director of Amadeus, UK and Ireland, comments: “Putting the [corporate travel departments’] expertise in the hands of corporate travellers and exploring mobile technology to facilitate the planning, booking and amendment of travel arrangements, will go a long way to help keep travellers on plan, safe and better connected in 2013 and beyond.”

The report is based on a survey of over 400 UK and Ireland adults who work for large companies and regularly travel for business and was conducted in December 2012, by ICM Research on behalf of Amadeus UK.

Source: www.amadeus.com

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Global Tourism Survey: Visitors Expect Better Digital & Mobile Experience

Are m-tourism services and apps truly meeting visitors’ expectations?

Based on its reference global benchmarking survey TRAVELSAT© Competitive Index, TCI Research reports that destinations still have to improve m-tourism experience towards their visitors, pointing out that great technology is useless if it does not provide them the right content on the right time.

Image source: The Drum
Image source: The Drum

With a Competitive Index hardly exceeding 100 (meaning just “Acceptable” on the TRAVELSAT Scale), digital hospitality today is not rated higher than the “Staff efficiency in Tourist Info Centers”.

However the survey highlights significant differences according to the destinations, markets and travel segments:

  • North American and Pacific regions tend to offer a better experience than European destinations
  • Digital services and mobile apps are powerful drivers of competitiveness amongst BRIC markets.
  • Tourists coming for special motivations (cultural events, golf, shopping, parks…) tend to be more satisfied with digital hospitality experience during their stay.
  • Apps and digital services quality should be improved for short stays in priority.
  • Web influencers are happier than average with digital services…providing they have more abilities to find their way in the jungle of apps available!

Commenting on the results, TCI Research CEO Olivier Henry-Biabaud adds: “Competitive destinations are those able to find the right balance between digital and human-based hospitality services, each completing the other in a consistent way all along the visit. Paradoxically abounding development of mobile apps in the tourism sector may also loose visitors destinations make so many efforts to guide! Digital hospitality should better take into consideration fluctuant visitors’ information and assistance needs during the stay and Destination Management Organisations have a key role to play for clarifying existing applications available both at trip planning and visit stages. Expected benefits for those providing better m-tourism experience: increasing spending at destination, repeat visits and recommendation levels”.

Technical note: analysis extracted from the TRAVELSAT Competitive Index Survey based on 25 000+ representative international travellers (leisure, MICE and VFR) realized in 2011 and 2012 in 200+ destinations and markets.

About TCI Research
TCI Research is a Brussels based leading independent research agency specializing in destinations’ competitiveness evaluation. It carries out the UNWTO Innovation Award Winning TRAVELSAT Index, a reference global competitive survey benchmarking countries, regions and cities’  brand experience. TCI Research helps public and private tourism decision makers increase efficiency of their policy, management and marketing by providing global and comparable demand data combining structured surveys and web social media conversations audits. More on http://www.tci-research.com.

abouTourism is the exclusive representative of TRAVELSAT© Competitive Index in Greece & SE Europe/Eastern Med Destinations. For more information you may contact us at: info@abouTourism.com or  (+30) 210 8941610.

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Travelling & Technology: U.S. Attitudes & Expectations

A new survey, “Tech Norms for Travelers” conducted by Intel Corporation and commissioned by TNS to explore American attitudes towards travel and technology, finds U.S. vacationers feel anxious when traveling without their mobile computing device, angry when they cannot access power sources to charge these devices and annoyed when others take uninvited glimpses of their computer screens, potentially compromising their personal information.

The survey exposes the deepening love affair between travelers and their devices revealing Americans feel an emotional bond with their mobile devices to the point of feeling calmer and less stressed when they have access to this technology while vacationing.

  • Nearly half of all travelers feel anxious without their mobile computing device
  • Nearly three-quarters of young Americans admit to suffering “outlet outrage” when traveling
  • “Peeping-tech” behaviors rank amongst travelers’ top peeves while almost half fear device heists

Key Survey Findings

Today’s traveler has increased expectations and views each connected minute as invaluable, desiring to create, consume and share safely with a mobile device that is easy on the eye, and the back, with style and design paired with performance and long battery life.

Tech Turbulence

— Female travelers admit greater travel anxiety than men, being significantly more likely than male travelers to report losing their mobile computing device as very stressful (82 percent vs. 73 percent).

— Three-quarters of all travelers surveyed bring their mobile computing device to stay connected to friends and family (75 percent), bucking the idea that dependence on technology detracts from time with family and friends.

Outlet Outrage

— Sixty-three percent of young travelers admitted going out of their way to secure power for their device including compromising their comfort and hygiene by sitting on the floor (37 percent), searching public bathrooms (15 percent) or choosing a restaurant or coffee house based on outlet availability (33 percent).

— Despite our tech addictions, 52 percent of all travelers are annoyed by the physical burdens traveling with technology brings, including heavy mobile devices, power cords and battery packs, and pulling their device out of their bag to go through the airline security check.

“Peeping-Techs” and the Fear of Device Heists

— Forty-six percent of travelers say their biggest pet peeves about traveling with technology relates to device security, including worrying the device may be lost or stolen and someone glancing at their screen. This concern rises to 62 percent among young adult travelers.

— Despite this reported paranoia, around one-quarter of travelers (26 percent) fail to take basic security precautions and admit to security risks including entering credit card details in public, using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, viewing sensitive documents on their device and even leaving their device unattended.

— “Peeping-techs” are among travelers’ top pet peeves. Half of American travelers (49 percent) admit getting annoyed when the behaviors of others compromise their traveling comfort and security, including screen glancing and viewing inappropriate content, with more than 29 percent of all travelers claiming they’ve caught fellow travelers peeping at their screens.

— Despite “peeping-techs” topping the list of travel peeves, more than half (51 percent) of young adults admit to peeping at someone else’s screen while 33 percent of travelers admitted being a “peeping-tech.”

The survey was conducted online within the United States by TNS on behalf of Intel from May 9-13, 2012 among a nationally representative sample of 2,500 U.S. adults ages 18 and older with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Respondents were asked about traveling with Ultrabook devices, tablets and laptops. 

Full Survey here

Why the Travel Industry Needs to Wake Up to Mobile

61% of online travel companies surveyed in a recent global EyeforTravel poll do not have a mobile friendly website. 71% do not have a mobile app.

There are many articles and presentations circling around at present detailing a multitude of mind blowing statistics highlighting the growth of mobile and the importance of this key trend for the travel industry but why is the travel industry not listening?

It’s no longer just a handful of customers looking for your brand via mobile – it’s millions. Jeremy Copp, VP Mobile Europe, comScore, a speaker at the EyeforTravel Summit event in May, shared that in the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Spain, UK, Italy), 11.3 million consumers accessed travel services via mobile in February 2011 alone. Travel application access grew by 52% YoY.

Out of the EU5, 36% of mobile market now use apps or their mobile browser. Interestingly, Spain is leading the way in terms of smartphone adoption (adopting at a higher rate than even the US) but EyeforTravel found that French travel companies were the heaviest investors in mobile followed by Germany.

For the travel companies that are investing in mobile, experiences have been largely positive. So how are such companies taking advantage of mobile and preparing for future growth in this area? Dan Craig, e-Commerce Director, Hotels.com shared that they invested heavily in mobile in 2009 & 2010 and are now seeing the rewards. This year they saw a 500% YoY increase in bookings via smartphones.

Craig found that investing heavily in native apps has been very beneficial as native apps provide a superior user experience than the web and lead to higher customer engagement and loyalty. From Hotels.com’s experience, customer primarily want to use mobile for last minute bookings and itinerary look up so they have designed their app around these key features .

Craig emphasized a fact that is often not considered when deciding where to allocate app spend – tablets are rapidly replacing laptops and desktops in the home particularly for ‘fun’ and ‘easy’ tasks. As leisure travel surely falls into this category, designing an app for tablets might just be worth that added investment.

Another important consideration when developing your mobile strategy is the fact that travel consumers are likely to be experiencing your brand on various different devices (tablet, desktop, mobile) depending where they are and what’s quickest and easiest for them at that time. A cross device experience for the customer should therefore be considered.

Nathan Clapton, VP Mobile Partnerships, Mobile, TripAdvisor shared that 6 million unique visitors now visit the TripAdvisor mobile site per month. He recommended launching new features quickly and acting fast to fix and improve user experience issues. In the rush to develop mobile apps, many forget to promote the app once it’s launched and in the following months. Clapton’s, emphasized the key to TripAdvisor’s mobile success was their approach to ‘promote, promote, promote’.

Clapton also shared that it’s worth considering whether your mobile app would be suitable to be featured as a pre-loaded app on a device. Pre-load is a powerful discovery channel (with many preferring apps with map features).

Mobile is only going to continue to grow. The rapid development of social networking sites and the consequent need to be constantly connected is fuelling mobile growth. Japan’s social networking site ‘Mixi’ shows how social networking trends can encourage mobile access and overtake desktop access. 84% of their page views are now via mobile (report by Morgan Stanley as cited by Dave Scheine, Director of European Operations, Yelp).

Many travel companies don’t want to hear that they need to invest money into yet another distribution and marketing channel but quite simply, if your customer is searching for travel information online and your site is not optimised for mobile or you don’t have an app then chances are they will find your competitors first.

Source:  www.eyefortravel.com

Online Marketing Survey Reveals Mobile Among Top Priorities for Hoteliers

According to TripAdvisor’s latest Accommodation Owners Survey, owners cited online marketing: SEO, SEM and banner advertising (63 percent); social media (39 percent); mobile (27 percent); email marketing (22 percent); and paid listings on user-generated review sites (17 percent) as the top areas in which they would prefer to increase spending.

With mobile marketing a major focus for owners, 84 percent of survey respondents said it is important to offer a program that allows travelers to book their inventory using mobile devices. However, the results varied by property type: 92 percent of hotel owners, 77 percent of B&B owners and 77 percent of innkeepers said a mobile marketing program is important.

Marketing Budgets Stable or Growing

Of the survey respondents with a marketing budget, 34 percent said their overall marketing budgets have increased this year, 49 percent said their budgets have stayed the same and 17 percent said their budgets have decreased.

What are accommodation owners’ greatest marketing expenses? Online marketing: SEO, SEM and banner advertising (31 percent); dues and subscriptions (16 percent); and online travel agency (OTA) commissions (12 percent) were lodging businesses’ top expenses, according to the survey.

Owners Use Social Media to Reach Travelers

Of the survey respondents with a social media program, the majority (60 percent) said that TripAdvisor is the most effective social media site for marketing their properties. Facebook (22 percent) and Twitter (16 percent) were the next most effective sites for marketing their properties, according to owners taking the poll.

The top reasons owners cited for using social media were posting deals/special offers (54 percent), answering customer care questions (48 percent), promoting events (40 percent), sharing general industry news (26 percent) and promoting contests (18 percent).

Survey respondents cited industry research/reports (46 percent), competition (30 percent) and marketing from social media sites (24 percent) as the top three factors in their decision to use social media as a marketing tool.

Top Deals and Distribution Tactics

According to survey respondents, most owners (76 percent) use their property website to market deals to potential guests. Email (52 percent) and social media (44 percent) were the next most commonly used methods for marketing deals, followed by user-generated review sites (25 percent) and online travel agencies (21 percent).

More on: www.prnewswire.com