According to the survey, travellers are planning to spend more on their holidays in 2014 with the average annual traveller spend rising from US$ 5,955 in 2013 to US$ 6,136 for this year, an increase of three per cent. On average, Asian travellers plan to increase their annual travel spend by seven per cent from US$ 4,331 in 2013 to US$ 4,633 in 2014.
The survey highlights country, regional and global travel trends, according to more than 61,000 travellers and hoteliers around the world, with 5,657 consumer and 1,142 business respondents from Asia. Revealing changes in consumer spending plans and worldwide travel patterns, the TripBarometer also reports behavioural differences in planning and booking habits of travellers.
The proportion of travellers planning to travel has increased across almost all markets. This year, 90 per cent of global travellers are planning to travel domestically (up from 87 per cent in 2013) and 77 per cent plan to travel internationally, up 12 per cent compared to 2013 (65 per cent). In Asia, 93 per cent of travellers are planning to travel domestically (up from 90 per cent in 2013) while 74 per cent are planning to travel abroad, up 14 per cent compared to 2013 (60 per cent).
South African travellers are planning the biggest increase in their travel budgets this year, up 30 per cent from 2013, followed by Indonesians, Australians and Malaysians. Despite relatively low optimism in the economy (only 11 per cent of global respondents and 17 per cent of Asians will spend more on travel because they feel more confident about the economy), travellers are not willing to give up their holidays, with many opting to hunt for bargains and make sacrifices in other areas of their lives in order to protect their travel spend.
The tendency to do more research in order to find the best bargain is strong amongst travellers. The majority of travellers (Global; 54 per cent and Asia; 51 per cent) say their choice of holiday is often determined by the availability of a good deal or special offer. In fact, TripBarometer respondents in Asia indicate that ‘price’ (94 per cent) and ‘special offers’ (49 per cent) are important decision-making factors when booking their accommodation.
The study reveals that currency fluctuations are likely to affect travel plans of Asian travellers, with 51 per cent indicating that it would impact their holiday plans, compared to 44 per cent globally. Despite this, those affected are still planning to travel; of those travellers that say currency fluctuation will impact them, 53 per cent global respondents and 53 per cent of Asian respondents will research more to find the best price.
However, global hoteliers place higher importance on online reviews than price in terms of influencing travellers’ booking decisions. Similarly, Asian hoteliers perceive online reviews (61 per cent) to have the biggest impact when travellers book accommodation, followed by price (55 per cent) and recommendations from friends and family (39 per cent). The results suggest that although hoteliers know price is an important factor, they believe that the room rate combined with a good online reputation will ultimately influence travellers’ booking decisions.
Looking ahead at the next 12 to 24 months, Europe tops the list of places global travellers plan to visit (46 per cent ), followed by Asia (39 per cent) and North America (32 per cent). The US (28 per cent) tops the list of ‘dream’ destinations for Asian travellers to visit in the next 12 to 24, followed by Italy (27 per cent) and Australia (26 per cent).
Marc Charron, president, business, TripAdvisor, said, “Exploration is back on the agenda in 2014, with more travellers planning international trips this year. TripBarometer offers up insights into the needs and behaviours of consumers in today’s rapidly changing travel marketplace, providing valuable insights for hospitality businesses looking to attract new audiences. Travellers are upping their budgets but they are looking for bargains, expecting their accommodation of choice to deliver on value. Special offers, complimentary amenities and exceptional service are all going to be important factors in swaying potential guests.”
The increase in travel budgets and travel plans is mirrored in business confidence with 70 per cent of global hoteliers saying they are optimistic about their profitability in the next year (up from 67 per cent in 2013). In comparison to the global average, Asian hoteliers seem less positive, with 63 per cent claiming they are optimistic about their profitability in the next year (down from 72 per cent in 2013). Over half (55 per cent) of Asian hoteliers are also planning to increase room rates with 47 per cent saying this is due to increased overheads.