Travel Weekly have released their annual consumer trends report, taking a look at key behaviours that have come to the fore over the past 12 months and are predicted to continue into the future. Here are a few of the highlights which might just prove useful when directing the efforts of your travel business:
1. Social platforms continue to rise
Just when you thought Facebook couldn't get any more popular, it proves you wrong. Travel Weekly's Consumer Travel Survey found that 89% of respondents now use the social site (up 5 points from last year) whilst 50% also have Instagram accounts and 40% are using Snapchat. The research also found that social media engagement was higher amongst travellers who use a travel agent to book their trips, suggesting that agency customers are keen to supplement the advice of their agent with their own knowledge of a destination as well as looking for inspiration and gaining further information from contacts.
2. Travel agency satisfaction is growing
Travel Weekly's survey found that the number of travellers choosing to use agents has risen to 28% - up from 26% the previous year. It also discovered that satisfaction with travel agents is also steadily increasing with 66% of travellers stating they were 'somewhat satisfied' or 'extremely satisfied', compared with 60% last year and 49% back in 2012. Industry experts have suggested this could be due to the Millennial lifestyle leaving travellers strapped for time and turning to travel professionals for assistance as well as an improvement in the quality of agents and services.
3. 'Bleisure' shows no sign of slowing
The combination of business with leisure trips, or 'bleisure trips' as the concept has been coined in the industry, has risen year-on-year with 17% of leisure trips taken this year also serving a business purpose compared to 14% in 2015. Additionally, 67% of business travellers agreed it was important to be able to add leisure components to their business trips. Travel agents can tap into this lucrative trend by ensuring they are able to cater to both the business and leisure side of a single trip.
4. Travellers are browsing the web to find agents
According to the data, nearly half (47%) of consumers are now searching for travel agents online rather than relying on word-of-mouth. Recommendations have now dropped to the second most popular method of locating a travel agent with 31% of customers preferring this option. The results will not come as a shock to those travel businesses who are investing time and resources into perfecting their website and SEO - those that take the time to work on their online presence will reap the benefits in the future.
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