|A new industry study released yesterday, Empowering inspiration: the future of travel search,
identifies trendsetting consumers' behavior and motivations when
shopping for travel online and identifies their experience during the
destination selection, shopping, and booking processes. The study also
details the key trends and predictions for how consumers want to be able
to search for travel online in the future.
Amadeus-commissioned study, conducted by PhoCusWright Inc., surveyed
4,638 travelers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, India, Russia, and Brazil.
In addition to consumer insights, PhoCusWright conducted 18 executive
interviews with thought leaders around the world to gain industry
perspective on where travel search is headed.
“Amadeus commissioned this study to understand how consumers will
search for travel in the future," Stephane Durand, director of online and leisure for Amadeus, said. "To effectively support our customers, we
need to understand the developments that look set to affect both the
future of travel search and the success of travel sellers' business.
Today, we stand at the forefront of a technological evolution in travel
that we refer to as Online Travel 3.0 which recognizes the power shift
from suppliers to retailers and to end consumers.
clear opportunities for travel sellers to inspire and convert consumers
while alleviating degrees of frustrations along the way," she continued.
"For example, the use of advanced destination selection and content customization tools to attract and inspire
consumers earlier in the travel planning process is key to gaining
competitive edge in the years ahead.”
Although the travelers
under review are not representative of the mainstream consumer, they
have the most sophisticated shopping needs and represent the early
adopters whose current behaviors and preferences are leading indicators
of behavior in the future.
Key findings include:
The frustrations and pain points travelers face when planning and booking travel
All consumers face frustrations during the destination, shopping and
booking process, however, those in emerging markets are more frustrated
than their developed counterparts. For example in the shopping process,
47 percent of U.S. travelers experience frustration online, compared to
over 78 percent of Russian travelers. This is due to information
overload and the lack of confidence that they are getting a good deal.
New ways in which travelers would like to search for travel
In the developed markets, nearly 50 percent of travelers had a
particular place in mind, whereas in the emerging markets, it was only
about a third of travelers. Catering to these travelers is advantageous,
as attracting shoppers earlier in the purchase funnel broadens their
audience and reduces their reliance on search and referral traffic.
Furthermore, more than four in 10 travelers across the markets are
flexible about travel dates, thus tools that help determine where and
which travel dates have the lowest price have widespread appeal. It is
time to think outside of the traditional city pair/travel date box.
How travelers want to use mobile devices and social networks when planning and sharing travel experiences
Three in 10 travelers in Europe currently have no interest in using
their mobile phones for travel-related activities, but U.S. consumers
show levels of interest comparable to emerging markets for mobile
features such as alerts, check-in, etc. Mobile device usage for travel
is more than twice as common in emerging markets, most notably in India,
where nearly 24 percent of travelers research destinations online on
Looking ahead, the report also looks at how new technologies may change travel planning in the future.
- The truly private “private sale”:
Marketplaces around the world have been flooded with promotions, deals,
and now flash sale brands that tout discounts with no context of whether
an individual would be interested in the product. As consumer
segmentation and behavioral targeting to consumers becomes more
sophisticated, sellers will be able to microtarget promotions to
specific consumers, offering products that are actually relevant for the
- Cumulative “intelligence”: With
hundreds of options, online shoppers are overloaded. Eventually,
programs will learn from an individual´s behavior over time by observing
and aggregating common patterns. Microsegmentation will help companies
analyze behavior and deliver increasingly intelligent results.
- Smart systems and virtual private
assistant: Devices will become smart and interconnected, and will store
and make sense of information consumers look at. The program will
recognize and process inputs from the sites consumers visit and what
they do on them, and will act as an assistant on the consumer's behalf.
“Megabrands … are applying enormous
talent and imagination towards solving traveler problems," Carroll
Rheem, director of research for PhoCusWright, said. " It is mission
critical for all travel retailers…to understand and adapt to how
consumers want to make travel decisions, not just how they have made
them in the past. This study [illuminates] the things companies can’t
see in their clickstream and conversion—desirable elements their
websites currently lack.”
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