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P r o fe s s i o n al

Surfing the
World Wide Web

Thousands of websites offer the best

travel deals and promote themselves as
the one stop shop for a traveler. How-
ever, what is the role of internet in the
tourism world really? Who books more
online – men or women? Who is most
likely to write a customer review online?
P rof essi onal : Sur f ing the Wor l d Wi d e Web

Women & Oldies Are Becoming

'Goldies' for Online Travel Market
be initiated by the Internet, but made offline via call eling alone. That one, as well as the next reason, is
centers (Merrill Lynch). That means, cumulatively, a consequence of a global feminization.
more than two thirds (2/3) of all travel bookings in 2. Despite the fact that an average female income
the world are influenced by or made via online res- is still lower than male's one, women's average sal-
ervation websites. ary is growing faster. That certainly increases the
With such a huge success of online travel indus- degree of freedom for women, which they are en-
try, it is interesting and important to discover the joying in their spendings and, more particularly, in
demographic roots of this skyrocketing trend. Who traveling spendings.
are these people digging the Internet and arranging 3. Women are closing the gap in the access to
vacations and business trips for their families and and acquaintance with online technologies.
colleagues? 4. The well-known generic fact, that women are
A recent survey and statistical study made by responsible for family travels empowers the three
IVRA Holding on its worldwide travel reservation abovementioned reasons and finish up the expla-
system revealed a number of in- nation of this trend.
teresting facts and trends. As a side-fact from the call-
Trend 1: Women in charge of travel center statistics: females contact (phone calls,
emails) the support center much more often than
reservations made online
As the study shows females exceed the psycho- Study indicates
logical milestone of 50% of the total bookings made i dissatisfaction among
in 2009. That record is quite interesting, taking into online travel shoppers
account the fact that, in the year 2006, the gender Only 46% of U.S. leisure travelers who shop for or buy
distribution has been fixed on the 51.3 / 48.8% lev- travel online enjoy the experience, and a still smaller
el in favor of male-made bookings. We expect the portion, 34%, believe the sites present choices clearly
trend to continue reaching 51.1 % of female made and meaningfully, according to Forrester Research
bookings in the year 2011. data released in August 09. In addition, Forrester re-
ported, 26% of these online shoppers would consider
What drives this gender trend? From the sur- turning to a good offline travel agency. That finding
vey analysis we have identified the following suggested brick-and-mortar agencies could be the

In 2009 approximately 44% of all travel reserva- four possible reasons that make this trend hap- beneficiaries, but it is important to note this is be-
pen. cause the online competition is so poor.
tions are to be generated through the Internet
(40% in 2008, 34% in 2007, 29% in 2006). More- Tr avelwe ek ly.c om
1. Women are becoming more active in their busi-
over, another 30% of all travel reservations are to ness sphere and, besides that, are more often trav-

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P rof essi onal : Sur f ing the Wor l d Wi d e Web
% out of total bookings, in the year 2008 we record-
ed the share of 16,7 %, where in the current year
2009 we expect it to reach the level of 18,5 %. The
three-year increase is, as in the case of women,
quite dramatic: 32 percent. Our predicted share of
seniors in 2011 equals 21.5 %.
What has influenced such a trend? Let's look
closer at the reasons collected from the survey
analysis. There are the following four major influ-
1. Growing acquaintance with the Internet. In the
beginning of the century seniors were under-repre-
sented in the Internet domains. Nowadays, almost
every house has an access to the Internet and se-
niors begin to learn and use the opportunities pro-
vided online. will be unmistakably higher and the proportion of
the young elderly will be lower than at the present.
2. Population is aging in general. According to
the research of National Institute of Aging, in the Concluding, the global trends on feminization, ag-
developed countries the percentage of adults 55+ ing and growing Internet-awareness of previously
will grow from 24.1% to 31.5% during the decade under-represented seniors and females, influence
2000-2010. This global trend directly influences our rapid increase of the share of these two population
reported Internet usage trend. groups in travel reservations made online.
3. The Internet-aware 'young' newcomers are Women and oldies are the 'goldies' for online
jumping into the 55+ category. travel market? It seems to be true, since the above-
mentioned trends will continue at least until the
4. Social factors, such as relatively stable income year 2030.
from the pension funds, increasing quality of medi-
cine support and social care trigger the phenom-
enon of rising senior tourism. By Egor Bondarev (IVRA Holding)
males. In year 2008-2009 we have registered that
73% of all queries were made by women and only Looking from a global prospective, due to de- IVRA Holding successfully operates in the travel
27 % by men. mographic and social changes, senior tourism will market since April 2002. IVRA Holding develops and
be  – at least middle-term (until 2030) – the 'engine provides B2C online-solutions for tourists sectors.
Trend 2: Adults 55+ start using online of growth' in tourism (Forschungsgemeinschaft Ur- IVRA Holding is founded and headquartered in Eind-
travel sites intensively laub und Reisen 2004). The number of travelers will hoven, The Netherlands, currently operating Hotel and
increase circa 3.4 million by 2030. Subsequently travel booking system OrangeSmile Tours
What is the age distribution of our bookers?. The
though, this volume will shrink and arrive at merely ( and design bureau
strongest trend discovered in the survey is that the
1.5 million more travelers in 2050 than the current
share of senior travel bookers is rapidly growing.
While in the year 2006 the booking share was 13.9 value. As such, the proportion of the older elderly

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P rof essi onal : Sur f ing the Wor l d Wi d e Web

Internet: A Powerful Source

of Tourism Information
Interview with Euromonitor Interna- According to the New Media Trend Watch “the rect suppliers are concerned. Hotel reservations
tional Industry research analyst internet has revolutionised the way in which through the internet are also very important; in
Angelo Rossini consumers make their travel decisions”. In their case online travel agencies play a major
what ways specifically has internet changed the role.
Internet is growing in popularity as an infor- tourism industry? What is the future of online travel agents?
mation source for travellers worldwide. What
groups of would-be tourists use the net the The internet has changed the way travel de- Online travel agents will present to their visitors
most? cisions are taken in two ways. Firstly, as a very an increasingly wider offer of travel services, where
powerful source of information on destinations dynamic travel packages and tours will play a more
The medium and high socio-economic groups
and tourist services providers it has an important important role. They will also increasingly act as
are still the ones especially using the internet as
impact on the choice of the destination of the trip travel consultants offering personalized advice and
a source of information for their trips. However,
as well as of e.g. the hotel and airline as travellers support before and during the trip.
the internet is today expanding its influence as a Market Sizes ‐ Historic ‐ Retail Value RSP excl Sales Tax ‐ US$ mn
source of information for travellers to all socio-eco- are able to take more informed decision based on Social networking sites are a hot topic today
Internet retailing

nomic groups for which it is increasingly common their needs and preferences. Secondly, the choice even
in the travel 2003 world.
2006 can

to look for their flight or search for information on a businesses really increase their sales through
of a specific destination and trip are now also in- Eastern Europe 1550 2490 3527 4943 6885 8552

destination through the internet. these sites? How?

Western Europe 22459 33158 41807 52492 71527 88902
fluenced by the availability of internet deals or also ©2009 Euromonitor International
particularly interesting travel propositions found
i Air Internet Transactions
on the internet. Internet retailing ‐ Retail value RSP ‐ US$ mn

Has the current global downturn influenced World Eastern Europe Western Europe

Retail Value RSP % breakdown 2007 2012 the way travellers use the internet? 300000

Ireland 51.1 70.3 The current global crisis resulted in tourists opting 250000
UK 49.5 64.3 for less expensive trips. Therefore as a result of it
Netherlands 47.0 72.1 travellers increasingly use the internet to search for 200000

US$ mn
USA 41.7 45.7 travel deals, also through both advanced booking 150000

Australia 40.7 51.9 and last minute reservations. 100000

Norway 37.3 53.3 Which tourism sector is the most successful
Germany 36.0 60.5 with respect to internet travel sales? 50000
Market Sizes ‐ Historic ‐ Retail Value RSP excl Sales Tax ‐ US$ mn
Internet retailing
Switzerland 34.8 92.5
Air travel, and especially low cost airlines, was 0 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Austria 33.5 68.5 World 2003 812832004 10823820051361422006170942 2007 210929 2008
the first tourism sector to significantly benefit Eastern Europe 1550 2490 3527 4943 6885 8552
© ETC Ne w Me di a Trend Watch from internet sales, and is still the most suc- Western Europe 22459 33158 41807 52492 71527 88902

cessful in particular as far as sales through di- ©2009 Euromonitor International

Internet retailing ‐ Retail value RSP ‐ US$ mn
S e ptemb er, 2 0 0 9 — 18 — World Eastern Europe Western Europe

P rof essi onal : Sur f ing the Wor l d Wi d e Web
networks and also by implementing Web 2.0 func-
i People online in tourism
markets (%’s): Europe
tionalities on their websites allowing their custom-
ers to write reviews and comments on them.
1 Iceland 89,30% 18 Latvia 59,40% Are there any drawbacks of the social net-
2 Norway 85,70% 19 Lithuania 59,20% working sites and blogs?
3 Finland 82,90% 20 Ireland 57,40% The impact generic social networks such as
4 Netherlands 82,50% 21 Slovak Republic 55,20% Facebook or Twitter can have on travel and tourism
5 Sweden 80,50% 22 Hungary 52,60% sales is doubtful, and therefore investing resources
6 Denmark 80,10% 23 Poland 52% on them can result unproductive for travel and tour-
7 Switzerland 75,80% 24 Czech Republic 48,90% ism companies. In fact people use these websites
8 Luxembourg 74% 25 Italy 48,80% to get in touch with old and new friends and social-
9 UK 70,70% 26 Greece 45,90% ize rather than to choose and book their holidays.
10 Austria 68,20% 27 Croatia 44,20% Specific travel and tourism websites which are vis-
11 Spain 68% 28 Cyprus 40,80% ited by people willing to choose and book their holi-
12 Belgium 67,30% 29 Portugal 39,70% days can be much more useful to invest in. These
13 Germany 67,10% 30 Turkey 34,50% include websites and blogs such as e.g. Trip Advi-
14 Estonia 65,80% 31 Romania 33,40% sor, Thorn Tree, TripSay and NextStop.
15 Slovenia 64,80% 32 Bulgaria 32,90%
What is your vision about the role of internet
16 France 63,40% 33 Russia 27,10%
in the tourism industry in the next decade?
17 Monaco 60,70% 34 Malta 23,40%
© ETC Ne w Me di a Trend Watch Thanks to the development and diffusion of mo-
bile devices to access the internet, this is expect-
ed to increasingly accompany people along their
whole travel experience, from the moment of book-
Due to their peculiar nature of “experiential ing the trip until their return home, allowing them
goods”, travel and tourism services can particularly more flexibility for their reservations and to access
benefit from travellers reviews and exchange of ad- travel information in any moment during the trip –
vice. Travellers believe more to reviews and travel e.g. alerting them about available hotel deals or in-
stories written by their peers than to what is written teresting tourist attractions to visit once they get to
in industry players or destinations institutional web- their destination.
sites. Tourism businesses can benefit from social
networks and the Web 2.0 phenomenon by adver-
tising on or partnering with travel and tourism social

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P rof essi onal : Sur f ing the Wor l d Wi d e Web

Your Hotel’s Website Is Your

Ultimate Sales Tool!
ommend that you use web analytics for the website
as a whole, to identify how many visitors you have
received to your site and where they have come
from. Most website analytic software will also tell
you at the very least how long your visitors remain
on the site, the pages looked at the longest; it will
even tell you what pages received the highest
bounce rate.
You can pay for many web analytics softwares
and systems, or you can use Google Analytics for
free. For use in its simplest form, Google analyt-
ics will allow you to see the total number of visitors
to the site and where the visitor came from. When
used comparatively against your reservations sta-
tistics, these numbers will give you a conversion
rate. This rate is vital in determining the perfor-
mance of your website.
Of course, we must not ignore other factors that
can have an impact on reservation rates. Amongst
others, room rates, room availability, value and con-

Y our hotel website is vitally important in acquir-

ing reservations. It is the first and more often
the last experience a potential guest may have of
To reveal the true performance of your website,
you must identify the number of reservations you
generate through your website. The easiest way
your hotel. Hoteliers must therefore cast a critical to measure your site’s production is to look at
eye over the website and address the fundamental your web booking engine’s analytics. This will
question: Is your hotel website doing its job prop- tell you in detail how many reservations you have
erly? received over a particular time period. I would rec-

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tance of the internet to sell your hotel rooms. To Optimisation must be incorporated in your web-
be unaware of the ratio of visitors to reservations is site, and that is just to get you started. Remem-
akin to burying your head in the sand. Your website ber, updating your content regularly will encour-
should be treated as a sales tool and measured as age the search engines to keep coming back and
such. re-indexing your page. Send out press releases
Unfortunately, during the last 10 years there and articles about your hotel to other websites to
has been a changing fashion in website design. form in-bound links to your site. Remember, rel-
This can arguably be held responsible for the all evant links are key. They serve to increase your
too “flashy” hotel website that is difficult to navi- site’s position over time and they will enable you
gate, contains little general information about the to receive traffic to your site from new sources as
area and has a distinct lack of presence in the well. Using social media to promote your hotel will
search engines. Hotel websites should be de- equally increase your inbound links and is great
for creating communities engaged with your hotel
signed by people who understand hotels and
have experience working for or with hotels. A
hotel website should look great, but to the detri- The clear message to take from this is that your
ment of its content, usability and search visibil- website is your most important sales tool and
ity? Certainly not. should be evaluated, amended and re-designed if
necessary. Your hotel’s website should be your
Research indicates that travelers choose a des-
potential guest’s first of many experiences of
tination, attraction or activity first and foremost. your hotel, not the last and the only experience.
Specific hotel choice is a secondary consideration;
the chosen hotel will usually fit criteria in line with
the destination. Therefore, it is common sense that
a hotel website should include information about By Samantha Hasler
the destination. Travelers are very much looking Samantha leads the Digital Marketing Team at GlobRes
for value as well – not just best rates, but value in pleased direct all press queries to
terms of convenience.
venience will all play a part. These are also impor- Search visibility is also of the utmost importance GlobRes provide hotel reservations and marketing
tant considerations and must be viewed so when for a hotel website. What is the point in having a solutions for hoteliers globally. GlobRes offer hotel
analyzing the data from your analytics. great website if no one can find it? The importance website design for free when purchased with hotel
As a 21st century hotelier weathering the all too of visibility on leading search engines should not reservation systems. Complete our online contact form
apparent recession, you must realize the impor- be underestimated. Best practice Search Engine for more information.

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P rof essi onal : Sur f ing the Wor l d Wi d e Web

The Expanding Role

of User-Generated Hotel Reviews
ers provide, their word-of-mouth communications Did you write a 'customer review'
translate into significant profits for the hotel. In one based on your stay?
example the positive word-of-mouth from a happy
On average, 9% of all guests wrote reviews about
customer was worth $1,559 in profit for an upscale
their hotel stay. Although these persons reported
hotel. This additional revenue highlights the grow-
twice as many problems, they were more satisfied
ing value of customers both while they are on prop-
(+4) with their stay and much more likely to recom-
erty, and after they check out.
mend the hotel (+10%) compared to persons who
Who reads hotel reviews? did not post a review of their stay. This is consistent
with TripAdvisor's claim that more than 80% of their
According to the latest Market Metrix Hospitality
user reviews are positive.
Index(TM) results, one in five hotel customers read
a review about a property before booking that hotel. More Timeshare guests wrote about their hotel
Luxury guests (25%) and Timeshare guests (23%) experience (15%) while guests of Midscale w/o
were more likely to read a review before purchase, F&B hotels were least likely to write reviews (7%).
perhaps due to the variability among these proper- Among luxury hotels, more Waldorf Astoria guests
wrote reviews about their stay (18%) compared to
The role of user-generated reviews is explod- ties. Casino guests were least likely (14%) to read
reviews, which may be due to the high rate of re- guests of other luxury brands (11%). Waldorf Asto-
ing. TripAdvisor(TM) attracts nearly 30 ria also scored highest in guest loyalty for the same
million monthly visitors and 88% of these visitors peat guests in this segment.
period indicating a logical connection between hap-
are influenced by content they read. Word-of-mouth Guests who read a review prior to their stay were
py guests and more (positive) reviews.
adds a layer of credibility and is more effective than more satisfied with their experience (+2) and were
other more formal forms of promotion. more likely to recommend that hotel (+4) compared
Why is this important? Because with an increas- to guests who did not read a review. This is not sur-
ing number of user-generated reviews and people prising. Reviews often provide guests with clearer
reading and acting on them, the impact of guest and more realistic expectations for their hotel ex-
satisfaction and dissatisfaction is multiplied and perience. Younger leisure travelers and women are
has a quicker economic impact. It used to be said more likely to read reviews prior to hotel selection.
that an unhappy customer would tell 3 others about Among luxury hotels, more Le Meridian guests
their poor experience; now they tell 3 million (with read reviews prior to their stay (32%) compared
less effort). The guest experience has never mat- to guests of other luxury brands. Interestingly, Le
tered more. Meridian also had the lowest rate of loyalty for the
Market Metrix research has demonstrated that same period suggesting that reviews are helpful for
beyond the additional revenue that repeat custom- new or uncommitted guests.

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What should you do?

Hoteliers need to engage every guest on their ex-
perience before they speak to the world. Beyond
providing great service, hotels need to listen better.
And even more importantly, respond to guest feed-
back instantly.
Consider asking the guest about his experience
even before he leaves the property. If, even after
you have engaged a guest with negative feedback,
he posts negative feedback on a site, respond ap-
propriately either on the blog or site if its conven-
tions permit. If responding on the site is not an
option, respond politely to the guest directly and
attempt to resolve his problem or provide an ap-
propriate compensation or promise for future visit.
In service recovery, you shift the cost from con-
stantly courting new customers to cutting customer
defection. A company's effort to ensure that its cus-
tomers are satisfied over the long term is rewarded
by an increase in profit through repeat business,
referral sales, decreased customer maintenance
costs, and reduced exposure to price competition.

By Jonathan Barsky & Lenny Nash

The authors are principles with Market Metrix LLC, a
firm that provides multi-channel survey, analysis and
service improvement tools and benchmarking data for
the hospitality industry.

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6 Lessons from the Best Marketing

Campaign Ever
The winning campaign was called the "Best Job was not what they were marketing, but how
in the World" and was essentially a big online job they used social media to do it. In that, there
search conducted through social media for a new are some lessons anyone trying to promote a
"caretaker" for Hamilton Island in Queensland, product or service could use:
Australia. Done on a comparatively paltry market- 1. Make it believable. Many marketing groups
ing budget of just $1.7 million dollars and reliant would never make a claim if they can't provide sub-
on fortuitous PR and word of mouth, the campaign stantial evidence. How might Tourism Queensland
achieved stunning results, including over 34,000 prove that their job is the best in the world? They
video entries from applicants in 200 countries, and can't. But it is believable because it is a beautiful
more than 7 million visitors to the site who gener- place and fits what many people's definition of a
ated nearly 500,000 votes. dream job might be.
On July 1, the winner of the competition – a 2. It's not about how much you spend. One
34-year-old British man named Ben Southall start- of the major benefits of smart public relations and
ed blogging and touring around Queensland, finally
bringing the competition to a close. For the next
six months, he will be touring around Queensland, i Who Uses Social Networks?
sharing his adventures through a video blog, writ-
ing, Twitter account and Flickr photos – generat- According to the “Consumer Internet Barometer”
ing even more interest in Hamilton Island and all report from TNS and The Conference Board, 43%
of Queensland in the process. The tangible results of US Internet users visited social networking sites
for the island are rolling in as well: Amway Australia in Q2 2009. That figure was up 16 percentage points

L ast month an unlikely underdog stunned the

marketing world at the International Cannes
Advertising Festival. At the show, a single market-
chose it as the site of their upcoming annual confer-
ence, and domestic Aussie airline Virgin Blue just
from the previous year. Nearly one-half of females
visited social networking sites, compared with
37.6% of men. More than 70% of Internet users un-
started flying a direct flight between Sydney and der age 35 browsed social networks. That percent-
ing campaign took home a Grand Prix award in
Hamilton Island, due to the rise in demand from age decreased as users got older, with only 43.1%
three categories simultaneously – direct, cyber and of those ages 35 to 54 and 18.9% of users ages 55
travelers wanting to get to the island.
PR – something that had never happened before in and older visiting social networks. Still, those repre-
the 50+ year history of the show. Contrary to what I realize that tourism and the travel industry may sented huge climbs from usage in Q2 2008. The most
you might expect, the unanimous winner of this seem far removed from your business. Unfor- popular social networking sites came as no surprise:
unprecedented victory was not a Fortune50 brand tunately, we don't all have the natural beauty of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, in that
Hamilton Island to fall back on when starting our order.
with an advertising budget of millions, but a small
marketing campaigns. Still, a big part of the rea- eMarke ter.c om
Tourism board promoting a little known island off
the Great Barrier Reef. son for the amazing success of this campaign

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social media is that it scales in a way that advertis- Though these percentages may seem small, the
ing typically doesn't. In other words, you don't have potential impact of some of these individuals is vast
to pay more to get more. The real trick is to have online. It could easily become the secret weapon
something worthwhile to say that people can't help for your next marketing campaign.
talking about. You need a good story. 6. Give your promotion a shelf life. The best
3. Focus on content, not traffic. The typical thing about this campaign may just be the content
marketing campaign focuses on traffic to some kind yet to come. Ben, the winner, just started blogging
of site. For Tourism Queensland, the biggest pay- and sharing videos and photos, but the content is
off of this campaign was having over 34,000 videos already engaging, high quality and inspires you to
on YouTube from people around the world talking dream of making it to Queensland yourself. Over the
about how much they love Queensland. Aggregate next six months, his itinerary will take him across the
the views of all those videos, and multiply them state of Queensland and unlock many other unique
over the long term and you'll start to understand the opportunities. Best of all, this content will live on far
true impact of their campaign. beyond the time span of the campaign.
4. Create an inherent reason for people to
share. Another element of this campaign that By Rohit Bhargava
worked extremely well was the fact that there was Rohit is the author of the best selling marketing book,
voting enabled on the videos. What this meant was Personality Not Included. He is an SVP with Ogilvy
that after someone submitted their video, they had Worldwide, authors the top rated marketing blog Influ-
an incentive to share it with everyone in their social ential Marketing and works often in the travel industry.
network online to try and get more votes. He is a frequent keynote speaker on marketing trends
in travel and is available at reasonable fees for speak-
5. Don't underestimate the power of content
ing engagements around the world. For more informa-
creators Most recent statistics point to some num-
tion, please visit
ber between 1% and 10% of the user base of any
social network are the active content creators.

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