There is an online revolution underway in the travel industry. Recently 2 000 News24 Travel and GoTravel24 readers were surveyed to find out why this shift has happened and what consumers are looking for when it comes to travel. The results show that travellers are rapidly moving away from the more traditional ways to book their leisure and business trips and have moved towards doing it all online.
The survey covered a very broad spectrum of travel habits from how travelers engage online, to how they make their travel purchases, what their preferred travel products and leisure activities are to what influences these habits. The results showed that there is a very definite shift towards greater online use of travel services.
So how do these travellers respond to online advertising?
Astonishingly 96% of the readers said they click on ads in the travel section because they are relevant and targeted while 59% will engage with special offers that are advertised and over half will enter travel competitions online.
"It is very clear that our readers are following the international trends of online travel research and booking," says Hugo Truter, Channel Sales Manager for Travel at The SpaceStation. "They are clearly looking for platforms that allow them to take control of their entire travel planning process - from research to planning to booking."
80% of the respondents actively seek out the best accommodation deals online while 33% used online booking sites and 25% used social media to source info. Online also came up top with regards to flights with 60% purchasing their plane tickets online and 79% happily reading about online flight specials to help them find the best deal.
In terms of overall travel habits the survey revealed that 67% regularly rent a car for their holidays and a whopping 92% of the respondents book accommodation when they travel and 42% of them are willing to spend up to R4 000 on that accommodation. 38% of the readers were influenced by friend's referrals and 49% of them read travel magazines. 74% like to read international travel stories but only 28% of them manage to travel overseas every year. Local travel is still a favourite with 53% travelling within SA more than twice a year.
Pricing a key influencer
About half of the respondents list travel specials and discounts as their top reason for going online, while 73% of them say they decide on their destination due to price. Advertisers offering special deals and discounts receive particularly good customer feedback as a result.
Says Gustav Goosen, CEO of The SpaceStation: "Online has become one of the most effective, targeted and measurable platforms for marketing in the travel industry. Internationally travelers are looking for ways to get the best deals, quickly, and online platforms are clearly offering these benefits. Local travel industry suppliers should be including online in their marketing mix if they want to remain relevant and, even better, ahead of the game."
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