Research from real-time personalisation platform Fresh Relevance has revealed the variety of channels and sources holidaymakers use to research and book their holidays, and their willingness to use social channels to do so.
The “Digital Holidaymaker Trend Report,'' which surveyed 2,000 UK holidaymakers in collaboration with Censuswide, indicates that 42 per cent are using review websites, such as TripAdvisor, when researching a holiday. Comparatively, just one in five holidaymakers use a travel agent and 12 per cent other ‘old school methods’, such as travel publications.
The use of travel agents varies across generations, with Gen Z (25 per cent) and Millennials (24 per cent) more likely than the average traveller to leverage the holiday experts when looking for their next holiday destination. Social media is a popular option among holidaymakers with a household income of over £75,000, with almost a third (29 per cent) of those surveyed using social networks when researching a holiday.
While holidaymakers are interested in using more technology as part of the booking process, only 11 per cent of respondents have used a travel app. Conversely, the research showed that one in three consumers would be comfortable using streaming services, such as Netflix, as part of the research process. 24 per cent of vacationers would be comfortable using chatbots or virtual reality (VR) if given the opportunity. Again, the role of technologies varies across generations, with 32 per cent of Gen Z and 31 per cent of Millennials interested in using chatbots or VR.
When it comes to social commerce, over a third (36 per cent) of holidaymakers would book a trip through Facebook. Gen Z is almost as inclined to book a holiday on Instagram (52 per cent) as they are to make a retail purchase using the social network (49 per cent).
“Recognising customer preferences and delivering a relevant booking experience is critical,” said Fresh Relevance CEO and co-founder, Mike Austin. “With vast amounts of data and new technologies now available to capture the interest and attention of holidaymakers, there is no longer a place for a one-size-fits-all approach.
“We found that leisure travellers are comfortable using new technologies to research and book their next vacation. Whether or not travel providers have the financial means to invest in new channels, there are proven ways to harness holidaymakers’ favourite sources of inspiration in your marketing. Including social proof tactics, such as user-generated photos, ratings and reviews, in email and website marketing in real-time, helps customers filter through the noise and guides them at each stage of the customer journey. Retargeting with triggered emails or ads on social networks can re-engage customers who already browsed your holiday deals.
"In such a competitive space, providing tailored experiences that resonate with the individual should be at the heart of all travel marketer’s strategies in order to successfully reduce the length of decision making, inspire and ultimate secure the booking.”