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TRAVEL TRENDS

65 TRAVEL
STATISTICS
TO KNOW IN
2018-2019
For tour & activity operators

Compiled by Stephanie Kutschera


Designed by Barbra Silva
Foreword

For tour and activity operators, it can be challenging to find current


travel trends and statistics without having to look at hundreds of articles
across the web. At TrekkSoft, we know how valuable travel statistics can
be to operators, so every six months we do all the research for you. Each
December we release the highly anticipated annual travel trends report,
filled with survey results and expert opinion, and then in July we publish
our travel statistics list, an update of what has changed and what to
expect in the year ahead.

So here you go! Below are 65 travel and tourism statistics to know in
2018/19, and the insights we've been talking about most here at
TrekkSoft’s HQ. We hope that these statistics help your company get the
most from the year ahead and gives you a taste of what to expect in our
2019 Travel Trends Report.

This report includes:

1. Booking Trends
2. Destination Insights
3. Tour & Activity Industry Insights
4. Travel Trends
5. Marketing Insights
Get your copy
of the 2018
Travel Trend
Report
Click here

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Booking Trends
'Personalization’ is the keyword for 2018...

1 Personalization is the name of the game in 2018 when it comes to the


travel customer experience. (Skift, 2018)

2 57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on
personal preferences or past behaviors. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

3 If a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience


based on personal preferences or past behavior, 36% would be likely to
pay more for their services. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

...and industry leaders agree

4 In a recent interview, GetYourGuide CEO Johannes Reck said that ‘true


success in the future of travel comes down to personalization.’ (Tnooz,
2018)
Google’s Vice President of Engineering for Travel and Shopping, Oliver
Heckmann, says that nearly 60% of consumers believe that their travel
experience should deploy the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and base
their search results on past behaviors and/or personal preferences.
Google’s data shows that 36% of consumers are willing to pay more for
these personalized experiences. (PhocusWire, 2017)
James Waters, Global Director of Customer Service at Booking.com said
“as we operate in an industry that is incredibly personal, emotional and
complex, maintaining the right balance between genuine human
interaction and efficient automation is something we're always trying to
fine-tune and optimize throughout every stage of the consumer journey.”
(Booking.com, 2017)
Rashesh Jethi, SVP of engineering for Americas and head of innovation
for Airlines at Amadeus IT Group recently said AI, is “a broad umbrella
that frankly stands for everything we haven’t been able to figure out yet."
(PhocusWire, 2018)
Mobile bookings continue to increase

5 Booking.com found that 80% of customers prefer to self-serve in order to


get the information that they need. (TechRadar, 2018)

Source: Google Consumer Insights, 2018

In the US, data shows that 26% of travel searches in the fourth quarter of
7 2017 occurred on a mobile device. In other parts of the world, it’s even
higher: Travel searches conducted on a mobile device totaled 47% in
Europe; 40% in Asia; 38% in the Middle East and Africa; and 34% in Latin
America. (Sojern Global Travel Insights, 2018)

And not just to book flights and hotels


Over 70% of U.S. travelers agree that they “always” use their smartphones
8 when traveling, up from 41% in 2015. Travelers most frequently use their
mobile devices to research activities or attractions, to locate shopping
areas and restaurants, or to look up directions. (Google Consumer
Insights, 2018)
Users are more comfortable with digital assistance

9 70% of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in natural language,


meaning that people are getting more comfortable having
conversations with computers. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

10 Over 1 in 3 travelers across countries are interested in using digital


assistants to research or book travel, and they’re already searching for
everything from hotels to flights, and things to do in-destination.
(Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

Online Travel Agents still have a visibility advantage

11 Using the key phrase "hotel tenerife", Hermann Valsson looked at the
ten countries sending the most tourists to the popular holiday
destination. According to the research. Span, Germany, Ireland and
Denmark all had ten out of ten links to OTAs. (PhocusWire, 2018)

Last minute booking searches are up

12 Travel-related searches for "tonight" and "today" have grown over 150%
on mobile, over the past two years. (Google Data, 2017)

13 72% of all mobile bookings made by U.S. travelers happened within a


48-hour window prior to the booking. Travelers want more flexibility,
which mobile devices have delivered leading to a greater propensity to
book last-minute. (Sojern Global Travel Insights, 2018)

14 More than 60% of U.S. travelers would consider an impulse trip based
on a good hotel or flight deal. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)
38% of bookings are made on the same day or two-days before a trip,
15 53% are made within a week of a trip, and just 19% are made in
advance. (PhocusWright, 2017)

Key Takeaways:
● Personalize your customer booking process by finding out what
products are of interest and how/when they prefer to book.
● Reduce cut-off times to capture as many last-minute bookings.
● Drive SEO with content by writing as you would speak and creating
blog posts around commonly asked questions.
Destination Insights
Traveler destinations have changed

16 Kayak released their 2018 travel hacker guide based on identified cities
around the world with the greatest year-over-year increase in search
between March 3, 2017 and February 28, 2018. Top of the leader-board
was Maui, Hawaii with a 51% increase in searches, followed by Barcelona,
Bali, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Las Vegas, Madrid, Athens, Paris and Rome.
(Kayak, 2018)

17 The Travel Market Report which analyses 2018 summer bookings by


American travelers confirms the top European destinations are London
(+4.63% from 2017), Paris (+5.97%) and Reykjavik (+6.06%). (Travel Market
Report, 2018)

And travel budgets are increasing

18 Travel spend is increasing year on year. The average international trip for
American travelers now costs $6,080. Norway was the most expensive
destination for American travelers, with an average trip costing $9,754.
(Squaremouth, 2018)
In January 2018, travel spending on desktop computers averaged €350 to
19 €460 per buyer, for EU5 countries. While Germany had the highest
average spend per buyer, France had the biggest increase in average
spend with 62% year on year growth compared to January 2017. (EU
Travel Report, 2018)

It’s time to tick off the bucket list

20 45% of travelers have a travel bucket list in mind and 82% of them plan
to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year. Most
likely to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the
world, as almost half of travelers (47%) will look to tick this off in 2018.
Over a third (35%) yearn to tantalize their taste buds by trying a local
delicacy, 34% want to head to an island paradise and 34% are thrill
seekers wanting to visit a world famous theme park. (Booking.com, 2018)
The other top travel activities to compete in 2018 look set to be
experiencing a unique cultural event (28%), learning a new skill (27%),
going on an epic road or rail journey (25%) and visiting a remote or
challenging location (25%). (Booking.com, 2018)

Others prefer to relive childhood holidays

21 Apart from new experiences, travelers will be revisiting their favorite


childhood memories as part of their trips in 2018. A third of travelers
(34%) will consider a holiday they experienced as a child for 2018.
Millennials seem to be even more sentimental with 44% of 18 to 34 year
olds keen to hark back to favorite family destinations. (Booking.com,
2018)

Even honeymooners are opting for adventure


Pinterest shared stats on 2018 Honeymoon trends where those opting
22 for something different are absconding to Switzerland, big time (+856%).
The safari tour is another one people are keen to cross off the bucket
list too in 2018 (+219%), while more are taking the opportunity to hit the
waves with surf lessons all over the globe (+260%).
As everyday trends move towards health and wellbeing, so too do those
in travel. Vegan and vegetarian options (+183% and +218% respectively)
for those traveling abroad are being well researched, while food photo
workshops (+207%) seem to be the option for those Instagramming
their way through their travels. Eco hotels have seen a big increase in
search (125%), while film and TV buffs are clearly keen to see where the
likes of TV series Game of Thrones was set by planning their travels
through popular film locations. (Pinterest, 2018)

What do travelers define as adventure travel?

23 ‘Getting off the beaten track’ was the most common interpretation with
43.4% ticking the box. Other items on the list were ‘Seeing or doing
something new’ (26.6%) and ‘High adrenaline activities’ (22.5%).
‘Traveling on a budget’ received 6.4% of the votes and ‘Other’ 1.1%.
(Intrepid Adventure Travel Index, 2018)
24

Source: Intrepid Adventure Travel Index, 2018

Off-peak travel is gaining appeal

25 Iceland welcomed 2.2 million foreign travelers in 2017, with 32.9% of


this total arriving during the winter months. North America topped the
traveler list with 680,000 departures. (Iceland Tourist Board, 2018)

26 A recent study found that 79% of Americans would consider an overseas


trip during the winter, and 53% of them would not be seeking a change
in weather. (Forbes, 2018)

27 Winter festivals around the world attract millions of visitors, such as


China’s Harbin Ice Festival which had over a million visitors last year. As
well, the number of hotels opening in or around the Arctic Circle is
increasing, including a new hotel in Northern Sweden. (BBC, 2018)

Dwindling interest in home sharing

28 In 2018, it will be important for travelers that their host is available but
not too overbearing (30%) and one in ten (12%) want a host who they
don’t have to speak to at all. (Booking.com, 2018)

29 One in three travelers (33%) say they’d prefer to stay in a holiday rental
(a holiday home or apartment) over a hotel. (Booking.com, 2018)
Tour and Activity
Industry Insights

“Experience” is still our favorite word in travel

30 In May 2018, TripAdvisor jumped onto the experience trend, renaming


Viator, TripAdvisor Activities and Rentals to TripAdvisor Experiences
and Rentals. (Skift, 2018)

31 Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky shared that ‘three in four millennial's said
they’d rather buy an experience than a physical good’ showing a strong
opportunity for growth for Airbnb Experiences. (Recode, 2018)

32 Travelers are keen to have a local experience, as a quarter of travelers


say it will be important that their (Airbnb) host has strong local
knowledge about local food and places to visit (25%). Embracing such
experiences is popular with travelers, with 59% saying they prioritise
experiences over material items when on holiday. (Booking.com, 2018)

And here is the proof

33 High-end hotels are hiring in-house specialists to provide guests with


out-of-this-world personalized experiences. The St. Regis Mexico City has a
cultural curator who arranges private tours around three main categories:
art and architecture, kids and family, and history and culture. (Jetsetter, 2018)
Guides and operators added 30,000 new experiences to TripAdvisor
34 last year, increasing the number of available experiences, tours, and
attractions by 50%. (TripAdvisor, 2018)
Expedia Group CEO, Mark Okerstrom, said the company generated
“north of half-a-billion dollars in bookings” in full-year 2017 across its

35 Things to Do and Local Expert businesses. Okerstrom also said that in


the first quarter of 2018, Expedia grew its activities transactions by
approximately 20%.’ (Skift, 2018)
36 Launched in November 2016, Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, recently said
the Airbnb Experience platform ‘is now doing a million and a half
bookings on an annualized basis’ growing at a much faster pace than
Airbnb Homes did. It is also receiving upwards of 1,200 requests a week
from new experience hosts. (Recode, 2018)

What tours and activities are travelers booking?

37 In 2017, historical and heritage experiences may have topped the list of
fastest-growing categories for global travelers (+125% in bookings), but
aquatic activities dominated the top ten, taking half of the top spots.
Sunset cruises (+86% in bookings), snorkeling (+70%), kayaking and
canoeing experiences (+67%), sailing trips (+61%), catamaran trips
(+60%), and all ranked in the year’s fastest-growing categories.
“Two of the three most popular products in 2017 were skip-the-line,
and likewise for four of the ten fastest-growing experiences in 2017.”
TripAdvisor listed more than 1,200 skip-the-line tickets globally and
reported that these were the second-fastest growing category for US
travelers by gross booking value in 2017. (TripAdvisor Travel Trend
Report, 2018)

38 According to a recent study, the definition of adventure is changing.


Risky adrenaline activities are favored 45% less than "experiencing a
new culture" in the definition of adventure travel. (Adventure Travel
Trade Association, 2018)

How are travelers booking tours & activities?


OTA online bookings

39 In March 2018, Skift Research conducted an analysis of tours and


activities inventory on six major online distribution platforms, Viator,
Expedia, Airbnb, GetYourGuide, Klook, and Peek to get a sense of
regional listings and approximate current market shares.
When it comes to tours and activities, Skift reports that Viator currently
holds the highest number of tour and activity listings globally (55%),
followed by GetYourGuide (20%) and Expedia Local Expert (12%). (Skift,
2018)
40

Skift also reports that Europe (37%), Asia (30%) and Africa & Middle
East (12%) are the top three regions where Viator's inventory comes
from. For Expedia, a majority of inventory comes from Europe (34%),
Asia (26%) and US & Canada (21%). GetYourGuide have the largest
market in Europe (57%), followed by Asia (15%), Africa & Middle East
(11%) and US & Canada (9%). (Skift, 2018)

41 Offline and direct bookings


With online travel agencies accounting for only approximately 4
percent of global tours and activities revenues, it’s clear that online
distribution has a long way to go. (Skift, 2018)

42 According to a new consumer report from Arival, which surveyed U.S.


adults planning a trip this summer, just one in four travelers plan to
book all of their activities ahead of their travel date. 23% of
respondents will book all of their activities in advance and 24% will
book most of their activities before departure, while 16% will book
about half in advance, 18% will book most in-destination and 17% will
book all of their activities upon arrival. (PhocusWire, 2018)
Size doesn't matter

43 Phocuswright estimates that the majority of tour operators worldwide


are small suppliers that are unknown to travelers, with 61% having less
than 5,000 customers annually. (PhocusWright, 2018)

44 If Airbnb Experiences’ success is anything to go by, then the size of a


tour operator (large or small) is no longer relevant as long as it’s a real
experience. On average, globally, Airbnb Experience guests are paying
$55 per booking, while some hosts across markets stand to earn more
than $100,000 this year. (PhocusWire, 2018)

“This guy Dave Coleburn is a host in Seattle. He’s got this nonprofit called
Predators of the Heart. And essentially it’s a wolf conservation, so you go
hiking in the woods with wolves. And he’s going to make $200,000 a year
doing that. We have people outside of Florence, two chefs who are going to
make $140,000 a year and they just pick people up at the train, take them to
their house, and you learn to make pasta at their home and make a meal
with them. It’s a really great experience, people love it.” (Airbnb CEO Brian
Chesky, Fortune, 2017)

Key Takeaways:
Offline and direct website bookings are still the biggest source for tour
and activity sales.
● Ensure your website is easy to use and experiences can be booked
in real time.
● Get connected with your local tourism office and resellers in the
area who have a lot of foot traffic and attract walk-ins.
● Have on-street presence for your tours and activities, whether it is
a prominent advert, busy meeting point or a sales desk.
Online bookings through OTAs are growing quickly.
● Negotiate good commission rates to sell your tours and activities
through OTA channels.
● Work with 2 - 3 OTAs that reflect your customer base. Never rely
on only one source for bookings.
● Use a booking software that has an API connection with OTAs to
reduce administration time and booking errors.
Travel Trends
Family travel is now modern family travel

45 Families headed by an individual now make up almost 30% of families


worldwide. Key holiday operators have now launched price program for
single parent families. (CNN, 2018)

46 Growth in family bookings has outpaced non-family sales since summer


2012, with the sector now accounting for almost 40% of summer
bookings compared with just over 20% of winter sales. (Travel Weekly,
2018)

And solo travel is still a growing trend!

47 Roughly one in four people say they will travel solo in 2018. (Solo Travel
Statistics, 2018)

48 Google searches for “solo travel” and “travel alone” were at the highest
they've ever been in January 2018. (Intrepid, 2018)

49 Seventy percent of Abercrombie & Kent’s solo travelers take at least one
overseas trip per year, 70% are female, and half are between the ages of
50 and 60. (Abercrombie & Kent, 2018)

50 A study of 20,500 global travelers released in May of 2018 found that


there "is also a surge in solo travel ... with two fifths (40%) of global Baby
Boomers having taken a solo trip in the last year, and a further fifth
(21%) planning to take one in the future." (Booking.com, 2018)

Business travelers are now adding leisure

51 New research shows that more than 60% of business trips in the past
year including a leisure portion. (Expedia Media Solutions, 2018)
About 80% of bleisure travelers spend one to five hours on research
52 during both the inspiration and planning phases – a more condensed
amount of time compared to typical leisure booking windows.
(PhocusWire, 2018)
Wellness travel is thriving

53 One in five people plan to take health and wellbeing trips in 2018,
almost double the amount of people compared to 2017. (Booking.com,
2018)
Walking will be the ultimate way to explore next year, with 56% of
travelers saying they want to do walking or hiking trips in 2018. Other
health and wellness inspired activities high on the travel agenda include
visiting a spa or receiving beauty treatments (33%), cycling (24%), water
sport activities (22%), taking a full body detox holiday (17%), going on a
yoga retreat (16%), running (16%) and undertaking
meditation/mindfulness retreats (15%). (Booking.com, 2018)

And, so is LGBTQ travel in 2018

54 Germany, Australia, Malta and Bermuda has all legalized same-sex


marriage in the past year. The global value of the lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender travel market in 2016 was worth over 211 USD billion in
LGBT consumer spending per year, and has continued to grow. (Hotel
News Resource, 2016)

Group travel is prefered for budgeting

55 Group travel had the biggest increase when compared to 2017,


increasing from 21% to 25%. Friend based getaways have financial
advantages as four in 10 (42%) said that joint holidays with friends will
allow them to stay in accommodation they wouldn't be able to afford on
their own. (Booking.com, 2018)

Key Takeaways:
● Use these trends to build packages for future customers. An
example would be if you offer a family tour rate for 2 adults and 2
children, add a modern family package for 1 adult and 2 children.
● Promote any new packages prominently on your website and on
your social media. This will make you stand out from your
competitors.
Marketing Insights
Travelers put trust in real reviews

56 TrustYou surveyed nearly 1,000 leisure and business travelers who had
traveled in the previous 12 months and had booked their own
accommodation. More than half (54%) had written at least one review
about a hotel where they had stayed during that period, and 93% of
those people said their review was positive. More notably: 80% of
travelers who received a request left a review, whereas only 22% of
travelers wrote a review without being asked. (PhocusWire, 2018)

57 53% of bookers will not commit to booking until they’ve read reviews,
and 80% would read between 6-12 reviews before booking. (TripAdvisor,
2017)

And continue to join social media platforms

58 The number of social media users worldwide in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up


13 percent year-on-year. (Smart Insights, 2018)

59 With 60% of travelers in 2018 intending to post on social media each


day, we can expect to see these nostalgic places brought back to the
present and captured for social posterity. (Booking.com, 2018)
60 In a survey of travel marketers of which data source they use to provide
a 360-degree view of their customers, social media was the number
one source with 60% using insights to build a deeper understanding of
customers. (Skift, 2018)

Messaging apps will become a key marketing tool


for businesses

61 A study from BI Intelligence shows that messaging apps have 20% more
monthly active users than social networks. Validating this trend, Statista
projects that messaging apps will hit 2.48 billion users in 2021. (Statista,
2018)

62 In a recent survey on mobile messaging apps for business, 63% of


participants said they message more with businesses than they did two
years ago, 67% expect to message more with businesses over the next
two years, and 53% say they are more likely to shop with a business
they can contact via a chat app. (Facebook Insights, 2016)

But, email marketing still gives the highest return

63 The number of email users worldwide is forecast to rise to 2.9 billion by


2019. (Statista, 2018)

64 73% of millennials identify email as their preferred means of business


communication. (WordStream, 2018)
Email has a median ROI of 122% – over 4x higher than other marketing
65 formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search. (DMA and
Demand Metric, 2017)

Key Takeaways:
● Always be open to experimenting with new marketing avenues
refine your communication strategy with your target audience.
● Analyse the results of your marketing strategy by paying attention
to your number of website visitors, click-through-rates and
booking conversion rates.
● Keep any emails or social media posts fresh and relevant. You can
ask your guides to post, or share content from resellers too.
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