Planning a leisure trip, whether with family or friends, has become more challenging. The array of choices, the influencing factors from others, the amount of information and research needed, the comparison of costs – plus the numerous marketing deals available, can make vacation planning a full-time job. Gone are the days where after looking at a glossy brochure you chose a trip and were ready to go.
Add to that the number of places and activities on everyone’s travel bucket list compared to the actual amount of time the average person has to travel. Unfortunately, ample vacation time is not a major priority, especially in the United States, making the experience of those limited trips so much more important.
Google’s “The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision” provides some eye-opening data into the complexity of researching, planning and managing a vacation. The report states that 64% of families will take 2 or more trips a year, with 87% of those families claiming their children play an influential role in family travel destination decisions.
Whether it’s the kids influencing you or not, the traveler study shows friends and family are critical to travel inspiration. In fact 62% of people who participated say input from family and friends, on and off the net, play an enormous role in making decisions on where to go, what to eat and what to do.
However inspiration is not just limited to the circle of friends, 83% use social networking, video, or photo sites and are followed closely by use of travel review sites/ apps, destination specific sites/apps and daily deal sites/apps.
While desktop PC’s, tablets and smartphones are used throughout the various stages of planning and booking, smartphones for inspiration has increased. Capitalizing on “snacking moments” 77% of affluent travelers use their phones in spare moments such as waiting, commuting, watching tv or eating to do trip research.
The same report concludes that one in five leisure travelers downloaded a travel-related smartphone app due to a poor mobile site experience. Consumers are finding that it is easier to book on an app, save personal information and access brand information. An estimated 31% have downloaded an app to use in the travel journey based on recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues.
In-destination use of smartphones has become the go-to device for local information when traveling. When it comes to deciding on activities at their destinations, leisure travelers rely on a mix of sources including recommendations from friends, online videos, others they are traveling with, videos and social media sites
The Google study provides a clear picture of the touchpoints travelers have with various resources during the trip planning stage and the actual vacation, and how organizing all of these bytes of information has become a difficult task.
Travel companies can adopt Itinerary management platforms to provide their customers with an interactive planning tool while also delivering curated content their customers mobile devices while they’re traveling . At Umapped, we’re going one step further beyond the standard itinerary function of consolidating bookings by providing travelers with a social layer to collect ideas and recommendations from friends, colleagues, travel companions, and social media. This personalized approach provides genuine added value to travelers while simultaneously empowering travel brands to stay engaged with their customers and capture additional in-destination spending
No matter how much you sell and promote your offers, travel decisions will always be influenced by friends and social media. So as a travel brand, you might as well embrace this. Just ask Google!