Friday, February 15, 2008

What Expedia expects

Expedia is making a big consumer PR splash today - just in time for those desperate hacks on the Sunday newspaper travel supplements who have run out of ideas for top ten lists, perhaps?

A huge research project, including a survey of 14,000 Expedia users, has led the OTA to create what it's calling its ten travel trends for 2008.

The glossy press pack includes an intro by EMEA president Dermot Halpin:

Our research indicates travel being motivated by a desire to expand cultural horizons - both with the rise of mini-breaks to more exotic destinations, as well as people participating in cultural or other leisure activities as part of their trip.

Hopefully these trends will inspire you as you plan and book your next trip.
[Through Expedia, of course]

So what about the trends:

1) Extravagant escapism. Brits are willing to pay more for their travel. If they want luxury, they will opt for it more often than not.

2) Creative tourists. We want to take part in and learn stuff, such as wine tasting, rock climbing, sailing and, er, dancing.

3) Rise of the super-break. This is interersting. More people are looking at mid-haul destinations for a few days away. Popular places include Dubai, Hong Kong, Egypt and South Africa.

4) Fly cheap - sleep expensive. More people are buying low-cost flights in order to select a more expensive hotel at the destination.

5) The 'new' package holiday. Great line here: "We're not talking about a return to the 1960s". Ouch. Travellers are increasingly packaging together products such as car hire, tours, transfers and theatre tickets into their holiday.

6) Low cost flights. Two-thirds of travellers reckon price is the detemining factor when choosing an air ticket. This isn't going to change.

7) Holiday maximising. Ooh, controversial one here. Apparently Brits lose 4.4 days a year in holiday allowance. And if you earn around £30K a year this means you are giving back around £550 a year to your boss. Nice! However, we are being more discerning in this area and taking longer bank holiday breaks in order to use our entitlement.

8) Wellbeing and nostalgia breaks. Bizarre as it may sound to some, going away to get healthy/clean-up/find yourself is becoming popular. As is returning to childhood holiday destinations.

9) Lobby snobbery. Not only do we want cheap flights, we also want - and will pay for it - the best hotels, based on their location, atmosphere, style of room, service and food.

10) Traveller reviews. Talking up TripAdvisor and user-generated content, for obvious reasons, as it owns the company. Consumers love reviews and ratings. Travellers are also increasingly inspired by the likes of Michael Palin, who has been credited with reviving the the Eastern European tourist industry.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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