Technology is transforming the booking process for travelers of all kinds, from the regimented planners to the last-minute nomads, according to a study from the CMO Council.
“What’s Changing the Way You Travel Today,” conducted by the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center and AIG Travel, finds that leisure travelers are more-informed and better-prepared than ever before.
While deals, specials and promotions are driving desire and action, visually enriched and personalized digital content channels are making travel experiences more alluring and exciting, according to the report.
Nearly half of the 2,000 leisure travelers polled this summer said the Internet and device connectivity makes travel better. A further 42% believe technology innovations and advancements across all modes of travel have improved the experience, and 38% say these tech advancements have helped them find deals, discounts and destinations more easily.
More than 51% of travelers surveyed say great deals and discounts are what prompts them to make a travel booking. Easier, do-it-yourself travel planning is also a major factor for 32% of travelers. Other influences are referrals from family and friends (29%), exciting images or video (21%), and interesting stories or articles (21%).
When asked to identify the top travel planning innovations and developments in recent years, 49% of those surveyed pointed to online travel booking sites and booking assurances, including insurance coverage. An equal percent highlighted deal or discount availability. Other marketing strategies and inducements also rated highly by respondents included: loyalty programs with upgrades, privileges, and travel benefits (34%).
A notable 46% of respondents said online travel aggregators and booking sites (Expedia, Travelocity, Booking.com, etc.) did the best job of assisting and satisfying travelers today. They out-performed travel agents (32%), lodging and hospitality sites (hotels, resorts, B&Bs, etc.), as well as travel deal and savings sites (Travelzoo, CheapTickets, etc.), which both received a 19% share of the vote.
There is currently “monstrous growth” in global travel, says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, which operates the GeoBranding Center.
“The message from today’s leisure traveler is clear: Travel brands from airlines and resorts to destination and location marketers need to be digitally empowered and data-driven in their go-to-market practices," Neale-May says in a release.