Although the majority of top-end luxury travellers may make their bookings with an agent, it is their friends and family, search engine results, online videos and loyalty programs that inspire and influence their choices.
The results are just in from a report commissioned by Google to help them better understand the affluent US traveller and the role that online resources play in their choice of airline, cruise, lodging, car rental and holiday packages.
Trip Inspiration & Research
One of the most significant pieces of information revealed is that friends or family and the Internet are both equally influential as the number one source for inspiring a trip. Moreover, when it comes to planning and researching for a holiday, the premier sector turns to the Internet 87% of the time.
About 50% plan to spend more time researching because getting value-for-money product is important. They continue to comparison shop for all components of travel, especially accommodation.
Although the luxury traveller still favours luxury hotels, the boutique and holiday home rental is increasing in interest at double the rate of two years ago.
How the Luxury Traveller Engages Online
80% of the premier sector in the US will research online for their upcoming trip. When researching, two (2) out of three (3) read travel reviews and one (1) out of three (3) watches a travel video with an astonishing 90% of affluent travellers taking some type of action after viewing an online travel video.
OTAs and DMO sites
The affluent traveller still relies on a brand’s website for planning, up 5% from last year, as opposed to reliance on DMO sites, which dropped 8% from last year. Branded sites, searching and OTAs are still consistently the top sources for planning.
Multi-Device Influence on Trip Planning
More than half of affluent travellers (55%) access travel information on their smartphones or tablets for planning. Convenience is the top reason that affluent travellers book on smartphones using both browsers and apps in near equal frequency. They use all devices to engage in travel-related activities from planning through to booking.
96% of the affluent travellers in the US belong to a loyalty program and are increasingly likely to book base
Using email to advise of benefits is the preferred method of getting updates with social media creeping up to 8% as a communication source for benefits.d on membership perks and financial benefits.
The need for a multi-channel, multi device online strategy is no longer optional for the luxury provider but a definitive requirement to keep up in the competitive luxury market. From inspiration to planning and decision-making, the Internet, whether viewed on a smartphone or computer, is where the luxury traveller is looking.