The travel industry is changing… and the data proves it!
Being on the front lines of the industry, independent hotel operators are the first to witness shifts in traveler behavior and the rise of new travel industry trends. While independent hoteliers see how these changes impact their property’s operations, it’s tough to know what’s happening across the rest of the industry. With the release of travel marketing firm MMGY Global’s 2015 Portrait of American Travelers annual survey results, we now have fresh data to support (or dispel) the thoughts and opinions surrounding the health of the industry. Here are some interesting findings:
Travelers are relying more on hotel websites.
- While the majority of travelers still utilize OTAs for travel information, the amount has dropped significantly. In 2014, 84% of travelers gathered information from OTAs, but only 58% of travelers did so in 2015.
- Taking a deeper dive into booking trends, of the travelers who rely on OTAs for insight, only 13% completed bookings through them in 2015, down from 36% the prior year.
Independent hoteliers often view OTAs as a necessary evil of the travel industry, so we’re sure that operators will be excited to see that more consumers are booking directly through hotel websites in hope of finding better rates.
Travel review sites deliver more value than ever.
- Affluent travelers, those with household incomes over $150,000, are finding great value in travel review sites, like TripAdvisor. This year, 41% of affluent travelers visited a travel review site, up 7% increase from last year.
- Additionally, more than half (53%) of affluent travelers put more trust into consumer reviews than ratings published by traditional travel media outlets, like AAA and Forbes.
Traveler-generated content has become digital currency for consumers and independent hotels. If operators want to keep their property attractive to travelers, they must actively manage their online reputation on review sites and social media or risk significant financial fallout.
Travel habits of millennials are surprising the industry.
- “Going local” is a hot travel trend and millennials are embracing it more than any other generational group. 55% of millennials have taken a staycation, a vacation within a few hours of home, in the past year. Amazingly, this number is a 14% increase from 2014 and 23% increase over 2013.
- On average, millennials took 3.1 staycations over the past year and 34% plan to take more within the following year.
Due to their population size and potential buying power, millennials are the consumer group with the most intriguing travel industry trends. Thought of as adventurous and free spirited, major brands and independents are positioning themselves to benefit from their love of travel, but as the “going local” data has shown, understanding this segment of travelers may be more challenging than anticipated.