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Latest research reveals the affluent traveller’s online travel behaviour

Google ThinkInsights has published latest travel and online related study, this time examining closely the segment of affluent travellers and their online travel behaviour. Affluent travellers are a highly sought after market segment, due to their high disposable income (combined household income of $250k+) and their generally high willingness to travel.

Sharing economy increasingly popular

It is no surprise that affluent travellers use online sources for researching potential destinations (70%) and revert in particular to search engines (59%) as a starting point for their research. However, regarding the choice of accommodation products a significant trend could be identified: Nearly half of affluents (48%) consider less traditional methods of lodging and transportation. Thus they indicated that they plan to research or use peer-to-peer sharing alternatives to traditional hotels or car rental services, such as Airbnb or Zipcar, when traveling for business in the next year.

High value of eWOM

The importance of online resources for travelling is exemplified most dramatically in the shift of sources of information. Recommendations from family, friends and colleagues were traditionally the undisputed number one source for travel inspiration. However, in 2014 the Internet (76%) has overtaken for the first time Family, friends or colleagues (74%) as most important sources for inspiring personal travel. Moreover, Magazines, traditionally viewed as a leading source for inspiration, are not viewed as important compared to other sources.

Mobile as a convenience channel

The rise of mobile phones has been noted across the travel industry and across target segments over the past years. Surprisingly it was not last minute bookings and changes in travel planning that generated the most mobile sales with affluent travellers, but rather convenience was quoted as the top reason why affluent travellers book on smartphones. In this regard it is critical for travel firms to increase the usability of smartphone travel apps, in order to convert customers directly and across devices.

Loyalty marketing is growing among affluents

Loyalty programmes are very popular among affluent travellers. In total 96% of surveyed people were member of at least one loyalty programme. The good news for travel companies is that affluents are increasingly likely to book based on loyalty program membership.

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