U.S. Hispanics have been on the leading edge of mobile adoption. By yearend, an estimated 25.6 million Hispanics (46.9% of this demographic group) will be using smartphones. Hispanic travelers are heavy mobile users during travel as well. Nearly 24% of U.S. Hispanic travelers “almost always” used their mobile phones to search for a hotel before traveling.
Mobile traffic is becoming increasingly significant for the travel industry, and hotels in particular. With tablet and smartphone usage increasing, consumer behaviors on each device are becoming more distinct. Tablet browsing is much more like PC usage than smartphone research, the latter of which tends to occur in last-minute, on-the-go situations.
Direct travel spending in the United States totaled $855 billion in 2012, generating $2 trillion in economic output and more than $129 billion in tax revenue. While “travel” frequently connotes tourism, business travel accounts for nearly a third of all travel spending, according to a new survey. U.S. business travel is responsible for $246 billion in spending and 2.3 million American jobs.
Twenty-six percent of U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) tour operators expect 2013 to be a “boom year” for travel, with sales increasing more than 10%. Top Travel Trends predicted for 2013 include multigenerational travel, a rise in longer trips, and “insta-travel” social sharing. Travel advisors still continue to be the lead influencer in determining their clients’ travel decisions, followed closely by input from friends and family.
According to a new study by TripAdvisor, there is a strong correlation between social media and travel, as 76% of consumers polled said they share travel experiences via social networks. Forty-two percent use social channels for travel planning while 40% do so for travel inspiration. Thirty-seven percent think social networks have made travel planning easier.
The lure of lower prices and fewer crowds have convinced 68% of respondents to plan a trip before Thanksgiving, according to a recent Orbitz survey. The top spots for travelers to head this fall are Las Vegas, New York and Chicago. 39% of survey respondents deem fall the most economical time of year to travel, followed by summer (23%), winter (20%) and spring (18%).
According to a new study on mobile travel activities from comScore, 51% of smartphone owners accessed travel content on their devices during the three month period ending February 2012. Nearly 1 in every 5 smartphone owners use their device to book air travel or hotel reservations. “The on-the-go convenience of smartphones has facilitated their emergence as an essential companion for travelers,” said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of mobile.
Fifty-six percent of Americans expect to spend more or the same this year as they did in 2011 according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Consumers say they expect to spend more on in-home decorating, travel, remodeling/home improvements and health & fitness. Over a third (35%) say they are optimistic about their finances and most have set benchmarks to help meet their 2012 financial goals (87% vs. 83% in 2011).
The typical hotel focuses on two segments of the travel industry: business and pleasure. The corporate travel budget has recovered somewhat since the recession ended, but hotel operators are using new tactics to get more from business travelers. This includes introducing a suite of services designed to assist the business traveler.
Recently, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reported that business travel will grow 4.3% in 2012 and reach $260.9 billion. The U.S. Travel Association is expecting a slightly smaller increase of about 3.3% which they attribute to general anxiety over the economy and the upcoming election. But, both of these forecasts are good news for the lodging industry which is recovering from a steep slide that took place during the recovery. In addition, lodging operators are expected to employ the latest marketing techniques to get ahead of the competition.
Travel marketers may be ramping up their promotions as the holiday season approaches. Consumers belonging to one specific demographic group, the affluent, are more interested in travel and experiences than traditional gifts. These consumers are also planning to travel more during the upcoming season to visit family members.
The summer travel season may be winding down but consumers are already making plans for the busy holiday season and into January of next year. Much of today’s leisure travel is planned through online resources, either from a consumer’s home computer or at work. And these online consumers are exhibiting distinct preferences by age group which travel providers should consider as they seek to target potential customers.