Location Based Information & The Mobile Traveler

With mobile travel research and bookings still emerging and expected to grow rapidly, brands have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. According to eMarketer estimations,  16 million people in the US will book travel on a mobile device this year, with that figure set to more than double to 36.7 million people by 2016.

Part of mobile’s appeal to travel consumers is its ability to draw on location-based information, aiding customers on the move who are looking for car rentals, hotels and other services on short notice.

A Q1 2012 report by mobile-local ad network xAd found that almost half of all local travel searches completed on a mobile device in the US were related to transportation. Travel agencies accounted for another 25% of searches, tours and attractions constituted 14% of searches and 12% of searches related to lodging and resorts.

Relatively high clickthrough rates were found for all three subcategories of hotels and lodging, car rentals and airlines. The CTR for ads shown after an airline search was an impressive 17.8%, followed by 17% for car rental searches and nearly 10% for hotel and lodging searches.

According to the report, the leading secondary action—the user’s next action after an initial click—for both car rental and airline searches was the placement of a phone call to a business, at 73% and 89%, respectively. For hotel searches, more than three-quarters of secondary actions consisted of looking at maps and getting directions.

These secondary actions are the result of reluctance among consumers to navigate brand websites on a mobile device. Instead of dealing with an inconvenient interface on a small screen, customers preferred to call businesses directly. In the case of those performing hotel or lodging searches, consumers turned to map and directions apps to find the information they sought. In both instances, users sought the most efficient path, underscoring why brands seeking to secure bookings from mobile customers must focus on optimizing local search with a click-to-call button in results.

In a new Location-Based Advertising and Marketing research report, Berg Insight estimates that the total global value of the real-time mobile LBA (Location-Based Advertising) market was €192 million in 2011, representing 5.0 percent of the total mobile ad spend. Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 90.9 percent, the real-time LBA market is forecasted to be worth € 4.9 billion in 2016, corresponding to 28.3 percent of all mobile advertising and marketing. Key drivers for LBA include the growing attach rates of location technologies in handsets, as well as the increasing consumer acceptance of LB Services in general.

Location is only one of many components in successful targeting, and marketers must also strive to leverage other contextual and behavioural information. High-precision real-time geotargeting is today sparsely used, and rightly so as most campaigns do not require targeting with an accuracy of a few meters. Hyper-local campaigns are nevertheless becoming more common.

Sources: www.emarketer.com, http://www.sacbee.com

Check Out More Trends on Tourism & Travel here

International Online Travel Report

The trend to book travel online will naturally continue in 2012 – especially in emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil. In line with this trend the share of the online segment compared to the total travel market is expected to increase to almost one third worldwide, according to the latest “Global Online Travel Report 2012” by yStats.com.

However, in 2011 the value of the US online travel market was still higher than that of Great Britain, China, India and Brazil combined. and in 2012, the “Online Travel Segment” is forecast to represent almost a third of the total global travel market value. The UK is projected to remain the largest share of Europe’s online travel market in 2013, followed by Germany and France. Gross bookings on the Asia Pacific online leisure/ unmanaged business travel market are expected to increase by more than +30% in 2012 compared to 2010. More specifically:

Online travel arrangements continue to gain in popularity across the entire American continent

Compared to 2011, revenue generated in the US online travel market is forecasted to grow in 2012 by a low double digit percentage figure. Clients who bought travel products online in 2011 made most purchases through online travel agents amounting to almost 50%, followed by search engines and websites of tour operators. In the category mobile bookings, hotels were booked most frequently, followed by flights and travel packages.

In Canada, in early March 2012 Expedia was the leading travel website: it generated twice as much traffic as the second placed website Flight Network. In Argentina particularly younger people tend to book travel arrangements online; however, internet use in this area is growing across all age groups.

Online travel sector is especially successful in Europe

In Europe the total number of bookings through online travel agencies increased by almost 20 % from 2010 to 2011. In Great Britain, more than half of all consumers avoid traditional travel agents altogether and book their holidays online instead. In Germany, in 2011 customers preferred travel agents for more expensive travel arrangements and online booking for cheaper tours. In this sector online revenue has grown considerably, while offline revenue has decreased. In France revenue generated with online travel bookings grew between January and September 2011 more than the total B2C E-Commerce revenue. Additionally, in 2011, B2C E-Commerce revenue in the category “Travel and Holiday Accommodation” was higher than in the next four categories combined. Almost half of all Italian online customers booked their accommodation online in 2011, making this the strongest category within Italian B2C E-Commerce. In Russia almost 50% of all passengers had purchased their flight on a travel website, while nearly one quarter had booked tickets via phone.

Growth potential in large parts of the Asia-Pacific region

Although growth in the category online hotel bookings is expected to slow down in the Asia-Pacific region between 2010 and 2012, it still exhibits double digit figures. In Japan the share of online travel bookings – in line with the soaring trend – surpassed for the first time 50% in 2010. Unique visitor numbers for travel websites were evenly distributed across all age groups in Japan, while the group of individuals older than 55 was slightly in the lead in the first quarter of 2011. In China in 2011, only 14% of all internet users had ever visited a travel website, but online travel bookings are expected to become more popular there too. The Indian online travel market is also estimated to grow by almost 30% in 2012. The data for Australia is outstanding: the category “Travel, Accommodation, Memberships or Tickets of any Kind” was the most popular online product category in June 2011.

Online travel market in the Middle East is catching up

Spurred by the introduction of online payment options, the online travel market in the Middle East is expected to grow considerably compared to 2011. Growth is predicted for the share of online travel bookings in relation to total revenue generated with travel tickets until 2015, compared to 2010 figures.

Source: www.ystats.com, Photo source: travel.roche.com

eTourism Seminars- Practical Tools for Tourism Professionals

abouTourism in cooperation with E-Tourism Frontiers, are glad to present the new series of eTourism seminars to take place in two significant tourism destinations in Greece.  Our next stations are:

Thessaloniki on the 26th & 27th of April 2012

In cooperation with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the support of Halkidiki Hotel Association and the Helexpo Exhibition Centre

Rhodes on the 8th & 9th of May 2012

With the support of the Chamber of Dodecanese

Considering the fast technological developments affecting the travel and tourism industry and through our close cooperation with the industry, these seminars are organized in order to fill the gap, so that  tourism businesses and organizations can practically select and implement new technologies and media in their business, effectively applying new knowledge and skills.

The  eTourism training seminars are especially organized for tourism organizations, companies and professionals in order to help them build and develop their online tourism knowledge and capacity. The seminars offer solid, interactive and easy to grasp training in the fundamentals of  etourism, provided by expert trainers and presenting appropriate, locally available solutions.

Through a two full day program, featuring some of the world’s leading online tourism experts, including representatives from TripAdvisor, Expedia & Google Travel, participants take advantage of very practical training and interactive presentations on online tourism sales, marketing and management including sessions on digital marketing, travel distribution and sales, social networking and media.

Also, for the first time, the program will include a web clinic option, where the participants will have the opportunity to get their website reviewed and tested to see whether their business website is working effectively and how to improve it. A detailed analytical report on the website complete with recommendations for improvement and change will also be supplied.

In combination with the presentation of selected locally available solutions, the local tourism industry acquires easy to use and ready to implement knowledge to their business in order to effectively compete in the marketplace.

Are you Interested? Check out more information, analytical program and registration details here!

Study Snapshot: What do customers want from travel websites?

53% of UK consumers research and buy holidays online, though many could be deterred by unclear pricing, according to a survey commissioned by Econsultancy.

The Toluna survey of 2,004 UK consumers found that 29% of respondents don’t find travel websites easy to use, and that unclear pricing is the most likely reason for abandoning purchases online.

Some highlights from the survey after the jump…

Researching and buying holidays

The survey found that 53% of respondents research and buy holidays online, while almost 30% research online and book their holidays offline.

15% said that holiday research and purchase all takes place offline, while 14% research offline before booking online.

To put it another way, the internet is involved in almost 85% of holiday purchases, which highlights the importance of the web for travel firms.

For most people, a holiday will be one of the major purchases of the year, so it’s understandable that consumers will take time considering their options.

While just under 10% take less than a day to research their purchase, the majority (64%) take two weeks or more, while 26% take a week or less.

Travel websites need to realise that customers will take time to make a decision about a purchase, and the best approach is to ensure that consumers can get the information they need without having to shop around too much.

Apart from offering competitive prices, a usable search function, and plenty of reviews and information on a site can reduce the need for customers to head elsewhere.

Which resources do customers use for holiday research?

  • 53% of respondents used travel agent’s websites while researching their holiday purchase.
  • 49% head for Google or some other search engine.
  • 42% use flight or hotel search engines.
  • 40% are influenced by recommendations from friends and family.
  • Duncan Bannatyne may not like it, but 39% of respondents use Tripadvisor reviews as part of their research.
  • Just under 10% use Facebook and other social sites for holiday research.

Which website features help people to choose a holiday?

Almost 59% of respondents said that photos of the destination and accommodation help them to choose a holiday, while 25% would like to see videos.

This makes perfect sense, and a well produced video or set of high quality images can do more to sell a holiday than pages of sales copy. However, the quality and availability of image and videos are variable on travel sites.

Reviews were another useful resource for 58% of respondents, and most travel websites now incorporate them. Users are going to look for reviews on Tripadvisor anyway, so it makes sense to offer reviews onsite.

Thomson adds the average Tripadvisor review score to its holiday listings, which is a smart move:

Travel - Thomson prices

52% said they found information about the destination useful when choosing a holiday, while 38% said they found maps showing the location of the airport and resort useful.

Why would people abandon a travel purchase online?

Unclear pricing and hidden charges are the biggest bugbear for 64% of respondents, followed by lack of information (19%), the need for more help with the booking process(9%), and difficulties searching for holidays (8%).

Pricing is a tricky issue for travel sites, as there are several extras that can be added to the basic cost of flight and hotel: travel insurance, in-flight meals, airport transfers and more.

Travel sites need to be a clear as possible here though, and should be careful about adding extras so that users have to actively unselect these items.

I like to see the total price shown in the listing when I have selected the holiday and flight, then I will add on extras if I want them.

For example, in the screenshot above, the total price is shown as £3,296, but having gone through a couple more steps of the booking process, without adding anything myself, the price changes to £3,437:

Travel - Thomson price

Thomson has decided to add another £141 to the price originally quoted by adding in flight meals and an extra baggage allowance that I hadn’t asked for.

I now have to use each of the five drop-down menus shown below to remove the extra baggage charges, as well as unselecting the in-flight meals if I don’t want to pay the extra £141. This is presumably what annoys 64% of the survey respondents.

Travel - Thomson add ons

Source: http://econsultancy.com