In 2014 over 1.1 billion tourists travelled abroad and this number is expected to increase by 3-4% in 2015. These figures suggest that the travel industry is booming, but travel marketers still have various obstacles to overcome when promoting destinations and package deals.
In our latest infographic with Smart Insights and SimilarWeb we explore the state of travel marketing in 2015 – providing data on global travel spending, insights into traveller behaviour and examine key channels and trends marketers need to utilise in 2015.
The State of Travel Marketing 2015
Last year, over 1.1 billion tourists travelled abroad and this number is expected to grow by 3-4% in 2015. But despite swelling numbers, travel marketers still have various obstacles to overcome when promoting particular destinations or package deals. So, what is the State of Travel Marketing in 2015?
Global travel spending
From all-inclusive breaks to fortnight getaways at luxurious resorts, holidays can be cheap and cheerful or extremely expensive. But what do travel spend trends mean for marketers? Are we planning to spend more or less money this year and where are we going?
- International tourism receipts, which include things like transport, accommodation, food, and drink, reached $1.5 trillion in 2014.
- The biggest earners from tourism were the United States ($177bn), Spain ($65bn), and China ($57bn).
- China was also the world’s top spender on tourism, paying out $165bn. United States placed second, while Germany was third.
- One-quarter of global travellers won’t change their vacation budget for 2015 compared with last year.
- Two in five travellers will spend more, for reasons including their family deserve it and they are going somewhere on their wish list.
- One in four travellers will spend less, with 75% giving financial reasons.
- 78% of people plan to take an international leisure trip in 2015.
- The mean number of trips planned for 2015 is 2.1 per person.
- However, 90% are planning a domestic leisure break, with a mean average of 3.1 trips in 2015.
So, once travellers have identified a destination and established a budget, where do they go to make a booking? How and when do they conduct research and who is influencing this behaviour?
- The top travel website was booking.com, with a 5.67% industry share. This was followed by tripadvisor.com (2%) and agoda.com (1.38%).
- When planning a holiday, 46% of travellers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. 29% draw inspiration from review sites, 22% depend on social media, 16% look to print media, while 11% make a decision based on advertising campaigns.
- Although some believe travel blogs can have a great deal of influence over booking decisions, only 3% of holidaymakers said they used this content as their key resource.
- While online travel agents can be much cheaper, 34% of people chose to book a holiday directly with the service provider (e.g. an airline or hotel) in 2014. 25% chose an online travel agent, while 20% went to a high street travel agent.
- In the first six months of 2014, travel bookings on mobile grew faster than desktop – 20% versus 2%.
Key Travel Marketing Channels for 2015
Some people may already know how and where they will make a booking, but what about undecided travellers? How can travel brands attract these customers and which channels should they be using?
- As far as traffic acquisition goes, search is by far the most fruitful channel, averaging a combined traffic share of 44.66% for the categories tourism, airlines and airports, and accommodation and hotels.
- . However, the need for a multi-channel approach is crucial, as various brands have proved:
- King of the accommodation websites booking.com achieved a multi-channel marketing score of 82.7%, the best of all travel brands according to a study by eDigitalResearch.
- For Expedia, incoming traffic sources are fairly even between direct, referrals and search. Although significantly lower, visitors from mail, social, and display ads are around the same levels too.
- After using Twitter as a real-time customer service support tool, turning construction hoardings into public information points, and integrating with ratings and review sites, Gatwick Airport saw an increase in online buzz of 57%, with 85% of comments being positive.
Which trends do marketers need to know and utilise in 2015?
What else does 2015 have in store? Which trends do marketers need to be particularly aware of when it comes to promoting certain holidays or deals?
- 74% say free in-room Wi-Fi is the most influential amenity when booking accommodation. This is followed by free breakfast (60%), in-room amenities (58%), free shuttle service (35%), and staff who speak the traveller’s language (35%).
- The biggest thing a traveller will spend his or her money on is sightseeing (54%). Additional expenditure will go on special dining experiences (41%), accommodation (41%), activities (35%), and shopping (24%).
- Perceived barriers to visiting dream destinations include saving money (60%), time to visit properly (38%), price of flights (30%), and currency exchange rates/right people to go with (16%).
The global appetite for travel is still incredibly high, providing marketers with ample opportunities to sell their respective destinations and deals to laid-back holidaymakers or intrepid backpackers.
Even though some travellers will already have a destination in mind and know how or where they intend to book, marketers can still influence these decisions in a couple of ways.
First off, they need to utilise multi-channel travel marketing to target certain audiences on a range of devices and platforms. Secondly, they must focus on promoting the amenities or attributes that travellers find most appealing.