March 07, 2013

TripAdvisor launches world’s largest accommodation and traveler survey


The results of the TripAdvisor's TripBarometer highlight country level, regional and global trends within the travel sector and reveal insights into economic outlook, travel planning, booking methods and traveler expectations. Specific to the U.S., the report shows strong indicators for increased travel spending and accommodation profitability in 2013.

This study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm StrategyOne, a division of Edelman Berland, will be biannual and covers top travel and hospitality industry trends according to more than 35,000 travelers and accommodations from around the world.

The results of the TripBarometer highlight country level, regional and global trends within the travel sector and reveal insights into economic outlook, travel planning, booking methods and traveler expectations. Specific to the U.S., the report shows strong indicators for increased travel spending and accommodation profitability in 2013.

U.S. Accommodations Optimistic About Profitability in 2013

Forty-two percent of U.S. travelers are planning to increase travel spending this year and 79 percent of U.S. hoteliers are optimistic about increased profit this year, leading the world average of 68 percent.

Region % of respondents optimistic about business profitability in 2013

- United States 79%
- North America 82%
- South America 77%
- Asia 72% Africa 71%
- Middle East 71%
- Australasia 65%
- Europe 54%
- Global 68%

Perhaps fueled by this optimism, 56 percent of U.S. accommodations plan to increase their room rates in the next three months, making them the most bullish about rate hikes of all countries polled.

Key 2013 Booking Factors for U.S. Travelers

What are U.S. travelers looking for in 2013 -- and how and when do they plan to book? The TripBarometer offers some important insights:

- Beach (21%), culture (17%) and adventure (15%) trips are U.S. travelers' preferred excursions.

- U.S. travelers most often travel with a significant other (60%), followed by flying solo (17%) and with kids (15%).

- For a long trip, 80 percent of U.S. travelers begin planning their vacation two or more months ahead of time. For a short excursion, 77 percent plan their trip within a month of departure.

- Globally, travelers look at an average of seven properties before booking an accommodation, with 55 percent of U.S. travelers considering 1-5 options, and 26 percent considering 6-10.

- The top three decision making factors for global travelers are: price (76%), location (68%) and online reviews (44%). U.S. travelers agree.

- What deals will motivate U.S. travelers to book in 2013? Room discounts (79%), a free night's stay with booking (51%) and free Wi-Fi (45%).

The TripBarometer reveals that travel review websites surpass feedback from family and friends as the "most useful" sources of information when researching and planning a trip.

Information Source Percent of U.S. respondents finding source "most useful"

- Travel review websites 49%
- Web-based travel agencies 19%
- Travel operator websites 14%
- Friends and family 9%
- Other 4%
- Social media 3%
- Travel magazines & brochures 2%
- Store-front travel agencies 1%

With travelers going online for their travel research and planning, they are also showing preference for online as the primary booking channel. In the U.S., the majority of travelers are booking via accommodations' websites (32%), closely followed by web-based travel agencies (28%).

In line with these findings, U.S. business owners report their own website as the channel that generates the most bookings (50%), followed by the telephone (22%).

Accommodations Not Meeting Travelers' Mobile Expectations

According to the TripBarometer, 62 percent of U.S. travelers think it is beneficial that properties allow them to book an accommodation via a mobile device. Similarly, 78 percent of accommodations think it is important to allow guests to book their property on a mobile device.

However, despite the perceived importance of mobile booking capabilities and consumer demand for this, only 37 percent of U.S. business respondents currently engage with guests via mobile devices. Of those that do engage with travelers via mobile, 69 percent allow guests to book rooms on mobile devices.

"The TripBarometer has revealed useful insights into what global travelers are planning and shone a light on the areas where accommodation providers can do more to meet guests' expectations," said Christine Petersen, President, TripAdvisor for Business. "With travelers choosing digital channels for their travel planning and research, traditional word of mouth has been amplified and online booking has become the norm across the globe. The next logical step is mobile, especially considering that travelers in some emerging markets are bypassing desktops and getting online for the first time using mobile devices."

Get the full report at TripAdvisor TripBarometer