Below is a message from Indiana Office of Tourism Development Director – it’s a summary of the keynote speaker, Peter Ypartnership.
There are numerous very critical points raised in this. I have taken the liberty of highlighting some points of particular interest.
Ask the question:
How has your property responded to each of the highlighted trends?
We know what the guest is looking for, how they are behaving. Are we ready to respond in the most appropriate fashion?
If you wish to focus on any of the particular areas identified, please do call.
Director’s E-mail: Summer Travel Trends
Amy Vaughan, Indiana Office of Tourism Development
Dear Tourism Partners,
As we prepare for Indiana’s summer travel season, many of us are re-examining our marketing strategies due to the slowdown in the economy. Moreover, we know that travelers in the current environment are motivated by a value message.
At the recent Indiana Cultural Tourism Conference, keynote speaker Peter Yesawich, Ypartnership Chairman, offered some insights into today’s tourism marketing environment. In particular, he noted that technology, social values and demography are reshaping the world of tourism.
Today, value is king. He said that anxiety about an uncertain future continues to be an issue but people are still traveling. They are very motivated by value and want to know exactly how much the entire trip will cost before they leave home.
In particular, he recommended “bundling” or packaging travel product. He noted:
· 87% book packages to save money
· 84% spend less overall today
· 64% comparison shop online
· 51% stay fewer nights
According to Yesawich, people continue to trade down but not out. He said that four-star and five-star hotels have seen the biggest drop in occupancy. He also emphasized the increased importance of customer service. He said travelers’ tolerance for things going wrong is zero.
Yesawich noted how quickly things began to change. He said that generally, 2008 was not too bad until September. He said that revenue for the lodging industry has been particularly weak in 2009. He stated that content had been the most important factor on a web site until now. Today, consumers want content and the ability to compare prices.
Use of the Internet
· 70% of households have access to the internet today
· 59% of households go online first/only when planning travel
Most Important Web Site Features
· 88% of travelers want to check fares/rates themselves
· 81% of travelers want the ability to book their travel online
· Overall, no one wants to overpay
· 72% of travelers are uncomfortable with behavioral targeting
· One out of five travelers go to blogs for opinions
· Four out of ten consumers regularly read reviews on TripAdvisor.com (which Expedia owns)
New Behavioral Trends
· Consumers want to reconnect with what’s important in life (this is similar to behavior after 9/11)
· There is a renewed interest in spending time with family. 71% of parents wish their family spent more time together.
· 38% of travelers want to travel with their children.
· Multigenerational travel is on the rise. 38% of grandparents want to travel with their grandchildren.
· There is a change in buyer psychology. Today, price is as important as the destination. People are willing to change their destination for more value.
· Time poverty has grown as a factor. Four in ten travelers say they don’t have enough time.
It’s All about Convenience
· The speed vacation is on the rise – hurry up and relax.
· Six of 10 people think that life has become too complicated.
· 47% say they don’t have enough vacation time.
Not All Vacations Are Created Equal
· Milestone anniversary and birthday trips are planned further in advance, have a longer stay, have higher spending and have more people.
· 70% of leisure travelers have taken a vacation for a special occasion.
· Disney offers travelers free admission on their birthday.
Are People Still Traveling?
· 65% of US households are planning a trip in the next six months.
· Four nights is the length of the typical U.S. vacation
As we move into summer, I think it is important to note that we are seeing some positive indicators. In May, consumer confidence rose to 54.9, up considerably from 40.8 in April. Consumers appear much more hopeful about the future which could help the economy. Hopefully, we will see this positive outlook continue to gain momentum.
Thanks to all of you for everything that you do for Indiana’s tourism industry. Best wishes for a strong tourism season!
RevMax Hospitality Consulting Services
O: (425)677-7866 C: (425)445-7750 F: (866)508-7866
4313 245th Avenue SE
Issaquah, WA 98029