Four key motivational trends which influence consumers throughout the holiday booking process have been identified in new research.
Half of UK adults are looking to take an overseas holiday this year, an increase of 3% from 2017.
The online booking travel market is continuing to grow with visits via the internet to travel companies 13% higher year-on-year in the first eight weeks of 2018, according to the study by advertising agency Carat Manchester and behavioural insights consultancy Canvas8.
The outlook for the year ahead looks steady, taking into account that prices are set to rise, with demand for holidays remaining the same.
The four motivational trends for consumers highlighted in the report are:
1. ‘Comfortable spaces’ – Research suggests 60% of workers in significant global economies are experiencing increased stress at work. Fifty nine per cent of people said relaxation is top of their agenda while on holiday.
2. ‘Streamlined standards’ – due to the never ending rise of technology and popularity of on-demand services, people now expect great service, fast delivery and outstanding quality – all for the cheapest possible price. Ambient browsing has meant that a holiday is no longer something that is always planned for months in advance, the research found, with 22% of 25-34 year-olds in the UK choosing and booking their holidays within three weeks of their departure date.
3. ‘Inclusive trips’ – consumers increasingly want to see inclusive brands, from catering for consumers on the basis of their religion, sexual orientation or disability. By 2020, 25% of tourism spending in Europe is expected to come from consumers with accessibility requirements, meaning it will be beneficial for both businesses and consumers to become more inclusive.
4. ‘Local connections’ – Fifty one per cent of people describe themselves as global citizens and want to feel part of an international community, the research found. Souvenirs are no longer a high demand for holidaymakers; 59% of them prioritise experiences over material items. In 2018, 35% of travellers want to try a local delicacy, and 28% want to experience a unique cultural event – gone are the days of lounging by the poolside. People want to immerse themselves with locals and want the culture to be accessible. Three quarters (76%) of baby boomers and 62% of those from generation X rate authentic local culture as the most important aspect of a travel experience.
The study also measured the impact “influencers” have on holiday buyers. It found that people are increasingly turning to bloggers for holiday inspiration, with 39% of travellers reporting that reading blogs or watching YouTube videos sparked ideas for holiday destinations last year.
Additionally, virtual reality (VR) offers holidaymakers the chance to “try before you buy”. Thomas Cook and Barrhead Travel are among travel companies offering VR holiday previews, with 64% of travellers saying that they would like to try it before they go on holiday. Technology will become a huge changer in the travel market, and there is appetite for it.
Rachel McDonald, managing director of Carat parent company, global media group Dentsu Aegis Network, said: ‘Britons’ appetite for holidays has remained strong. There were 45 million trips taken abroad in 2017, the highest number of holidays taken on average per person in the last five years.
“Yet people expect more from players within the travel industry. Whilst incomes may be squeezed, consumers continue to be willing to pay more to have their expectations met and to get their ideal destination.
“Travel businesses need to strike a balance between offering immersive experiences to an impatient audience whilst still meeting demands for convenience and comfort.”
Canvas8 client services director Jerome Linder added: “The customer service that technology allows companies to provide is raising consumers expectations across the board – including in travel. And it’s resulting in new behaviours whilst on holiday.
“For example, ‘authenticity’ might be a buzzword, but the desire for meaningful experiences means that people aren’t satisfied with insider local knowledge of the best places to go – they want to connect with these people and make friends to go back and visit.
“The ubiquity of technology and popularity of on-demand services has left patience in short supply – people now expect exceptional experiences, and they won’t accept anything less.
“This is the mainstreaming of diva behaviour – nobody wants their holiday to be ‘average’. Instead, they expect every aspect of the customer journey – from the booking to the flight – to be something to remember, be it a seamless, stress free airport experience or sharing a drink with members of the local community.”