After years of ‘staycations’ and camping out at the local state park, are consumers ready to spend more on travel in 2010? eMarketer notes that the recent slowdown in travel caused online travel sales to drop to $88.4 billion in 2009. But all that should change this year. The research concern is predicting that the combination of leisure and unmanaged business travel sales (online) could reach $92.5 billion in 2010. That’s not quite to the level of 2008 when it reached $94.7 billion but by 2011 and beyond, analysts see improvement with the market experiencing annual growth rates ranging from 6–7%.
Victoria Petrock, eMarketer senior researcher and author of Online Leisure Travel: Six Post-Recession Trends says “[o]nline will grow to make up an even greater percentage of the total travel market in the post-recessionary environment.”
According to Petrock, online travel marketers will have to address several trends to stay relevant with consumers. These trends include:
- Value: Consumers want quality at the right price.
- Power of Social Media: Savvy marketers will combine user-generated content with social networking to increase influence.
- Mobile: Travelers looking for online resources are also interested in accessing data via mobile channels.
- Personalized: Consumers are looking for travel options that are customized to their needs and wants.
- International: Online travel clients are likely to look for international destinations.
- Green: Consumers who value sustainability will reward suppliers who promote green practices with more bookings.
Watch for travel suppliers to increase their online presence and up their connection with social media in order to tap into the rebounding travel market.[Source: Post-Recession Online Travel Trends. eMarketer. 23 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2010.]