Travel Trends Research: Travel Planning Meets Serendipity
During the lockdown, we were all guilty of missing out on travel and instead just stalked our favorite destinations’ social accounts–in between episodes of Tiger King, of course. With the road to recovery becoming a reality, travelers are back to stalking but with more intent and more purpose.
Finding cool and memorable things to do while on a trip remains a key component to travel planning research for consumers, but the pandemic still casts a shadow. Travelers want to plan out their activities, of course, but they’re also trying to navigate each locale’s unique set of public health regulations. What’s open? What’s closed? Where to dine? Are there events and shops? What info does the official destination website have?
Our travel trends research dug into travelers’ attitudes on these subjects. In addition to insights on travelers’ purpose for traveling and the characteristics of a trip, we also found that respondents had clear attitudes on travel planning.
Planning is Everything
Creating travel plans is an essential part of the travel journey. What stood out in our travel trends research were the tools that our audience noted were important, though.
When asked to consider international or domestic travel to a specific destination, 65% of respondents replied that internet search was the most frequently used source for information. This finding reinforces the value of effective search engine optimization for the travel and tourism industry to generate website visits.
Our travel trends research also found that more than half, 53% of travelers surveyed, stated that the official destination website was a resource they would review. With travelers looking for trusted data, the website should be more than just search engine optimized. A tourism website should offer a strong first impression, an engaging user experience, and be ADA compliant. The official destination website also plays a critical role as a primary resource for photos and videos of the destination, which 50% of respondents found as an important factor in travel planning.
A Good Outline of a Trip
We asked our audience to estimate what percentage of their in-destination activities on a trip were planned. The audience responded that on average, 61% of all in-destination activities are planned ahead of the trip, while about 39% would be discovered in the destination.
Having a majority of activities planned speaks to the sense that people want to relax on their trip and not stress about things to do since most experiences are thought out ahead of time. Immersive content, like planning tools, virtual tours or social media influencers, can be powerful for generating high levels of awareness and intent to purchase with travelers who have time on their side.
With 39% of activities left to serendipity, travelers are more susceptible to be influenced by ads and word of mouth. In-destination ads are critical to reaching travelers who still have a limited amount of time prior to returning home. Reviews and word of mouth are also influential factors to sway travelers who are thinking more instinctually.
Help Travelers Find Their Way
Travel is on the rise but remains volatile with traveler sentiment. As people plan their trips, they’ll depend on effective tools, like a destination’s official website, to help them guide and plan their experiences in the destination.
With the Delta variant quickly increasing local regulations and travelers’ views, we’re interested to observe how these reactions evolve and will return to this study in the fall of 2021.
Want a deeper dive into the survey? Let’s talk!
About the Survey:
Our survey was a snapshot in time taken as COVID-19 fears were decreasing and travel began to rise. Since then, volatility has returned and the Delta variant has negatively affected travel sentiment.
Noble Studios partnered with S2 Research to execute an online survey between April 21 through 23, 2021. There were 503 responses in the United States from adults at least 18 years of age and who self-identified that they would travel at least once per year in a typical year. The confidence level for the results is 95% (±4% margin of error.)