TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

TripBarometer by TripAdvisor®
The World’s Largest Accommodation and Traveler Survey
Winter 2012 / 2013

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION OBJECTIVES EXECUTIVE SUMMARY DETAILED FINDINGS PART ONE: THE TOURIST PERSPECTIVE 1. THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE AND PLANNING PROCESS i. Motivation and travel companions ii. The planning process 2. INFORMATION SOURCES i. Main sources of information ii. Social media information 3. THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE REVIEWS i. Influence of social media on trip plans ii. Importance and impact of travel review websites on trip plans iii. Importance of other travelers’ reviews on accommodation booking 4. ACCOMMODATION MONITOR i. Number of properties considered ii. Decision-making factors iii. Booking channels iv. Importance of amenities and services v. Importance of environmentally sustainable practices vi. Average cost vii. Writing reviews and recommendations 5. TRAVEL AND TECHNOLOGY i. Digital engagement before and after a trip ii. Use of devices on trips and mobile bookings 6. 2013 PREDICTONS i. Budget and barriers to travel

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

PART TWO: THE OPERATOR PERSPECTIVE

1. BUSINESS OUTLOOK i. 2012 profitability ii. Business mood for 2013 2. BOOKINGS i. Channels of distribution ii. Booking timescale iii. Guest decision-making factors 3. GUEST REVIEWS i. Reviews and bookings ii. Monitoring reviews iii. Encouraging guest reviews iv. Positive and negative reviews v. Actions taken after receiving reviews 4. AMENITIES AND SERVICES i. Current amenities and services ii. Plans for amenities and services iii. Environmentally sustainable practices

5. SOCIAL MEDIA AND MOBILE i. Prioritisation of social media within the marketing plan ii. Importance of mobile bookings iii. Mobile engagement

APPENDIX: METHODOLOGY

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

INTRODUCTION
As the world’s largest travel website1, TripAdvisor and its community of millions of travelers and businesses is a key source of insight into the travel industry. Building on the success of previous Industry Index and annual Travel Trends surveys, TripAdvisor has commissioned this independent research amongst both accommodation businesses and consumers (who research and book travel online), into one comprehensive study, the ‘TripBarometer by TripAdvisor’. This twice annual study covers the travel attitudes and behaviors of consumers as well as the accommodation industry’s plans and expectations for the year ahead. Topics are as wide ranging as accommodation providers economic outlook to their efforts to meet the expectations of tech-savvy travelers, as well as tourists travel plans for 2013 and travel budget predictions. A key element of this survey is to look at both sides of the story – the tourist and the operator perspective. The TripBarometer by TripAdvisor is based upon an online survey conducted in December 2012 – January 2013. A total of 35,042 people participated in the online survey from 26 countries spanning 7 regions. The sample is made up of 15,595 consumers2 and 19,447 businesses, making it the world’s largest combined accommodation provider and traveler survey.

OBJECTIVES
The overarching objective of this research is to provide a detailed analysis of both traveler and accommodation industry trends across various countries and regions. The key areas of investigation for the consumer survey are: ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ Travel decision-making factors Information sources when planning travel The use of technology on trips The role of reviews and social media in travel planning and booking Appetite for booking travel via mobile devices Demand for accommodation amenities and services

1 Comscore. Media Metrix for TripAdvisor sites, Worldwide, July 2012 2 7226 consumers were recruited to take part in the survey through a pop-up survey on the TripAdvisor website and 8369 were recruited through an independent online panel.

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

The key areas of investigation for the accommodation business survey are:
‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ 2012 profitability and 2013 predictions Guest decision-making factors Importance of property amenities and services Property promotions The role of social media Capabilities and perceptions of mobile bookings Impact of guests’ reviews

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. THE CONSUMER PERSPECTIVE
TOURISTS PLANNING TO SPEND MORE ON TRAVEL IN 2013 Nearly half of consumers (49%) plan on increasing their travel budget for 2013 compared to 2012. People around the world are also willing to invest in their touristic experience, and value the accommodation they stay in, with a reported average nightly accommodation spend for the last trip coming in at $117. HITTING THE BEACH AND CRAVING CULTURE With consumers globally mostly travelling for leisure purposes (68%) they are in search of sun, sea, surf and sand with 20% of consumers hitting the beach for their last holiday. The next most popular types of holidays were cultural (16%) and city based (13%). This type of experience away from the daily grind offers people the opportunity to connect with those closest to them, with the vast majority of people travelling with their partners (58%), children (18%) and other family members (17%). When it comes to selecting accommodation for a trip, price (76%) and location (68%) are the most important selection criteria. However, the importance of other travelers’ opinions is also evident, with 44% choosing their last property solely based upon online reviews. PLANNING AND BOOKING THE TRIP - ONLINE SOURCES THE ‘GO TO’ TRAVEL RESOURCE The tourist planning and booking process varies considerably depending on the type of trip. While short breaks are more spur-of-the-moment escapes (69% book these trips within four weeks of travel), people invest a lot more time into the planning process for longer getaways. For longer trips, people start the planning process well in advance, with 71% starting to plan this type of escape at least two months beforehand, and 61% actually booking the trip at least two months in advance. When planning and researching their last trip, online platforms were the main source of travel information (92%), and most people booked their accommodation through web based travel agencies (27%) and accommodation provider’s website (23%). Less than one out of ten (9%) booked their last trip through an offline travel agent. Trust is essential in the tourist decision-making process. Online travel sources stand out as being the most trusted source of travel information. In particular, travel review websites are the most trusted (32%) and most useful (38%) source of information for people as they plan and research their trips. A COMMUNITY OF TOURISTS SPREADING THE WORD – USER GENERATED CONTENT IS KEY Word-of-mouth is a powerful source of information in helping people devise their travel plans. Tellingly, the vast majority of people (90%) placed importance on other people’s

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

reviews when booking the accommodation for their last trip. Other people’s evaluations on travel review websites influenced most people’s travel plans (93%). Consumers do not just read the travel reviews of others; they are also actively engaged in writing reviews themselves. Upon return from a trip people tend to recommend their accommodation to friends and family directly (58%), while 41% do so online. Over half (51%) have written online reviews about the accommodation they stayed at and a third (34%) have written a review for a website. Around a fifth (17%), have written about their travel experience in a blog or forum. THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE AND BOOKING PROCESS GO SOCIAL AND MOBILE While on a trip, people are still engaged digitally and connecting to their friends and family back home. They connect to the Internet through their mobile (51%), upload photos to their social network (39%) and update their social network status (34%) to keep their friends and family up-to-date. Consumers also use their mobile to make their trip easier by using mobile apps to find attractions or activities nearby (33%) and downloading mobile apps specific to the destination (26%). Upon returning home, half (50%) of consumers upload photos to their social network, and nearly four out of ten (37%) have written comments about their trip on social networks. A quarter (24%) used social media when planning and booking their last trip, and of these three quarters (76%) utilized Facebook when planning and booking their last trip. Facebook was also perceived as the most useful (54%) and trusted (48%) social media platform for researching and planning travel. Mobile is an important ‘go-to’ travel resource. People think it is beneficial that properties allow them to book accommodation via a mobile device (72%) and they expect properties to engage with them via mobile devices (54%). WHAT TOURISTS WANT FROM ACCOMMODATION PROVIDERS Perhaps not surprisingly, consumers love a ‘freebie’ and would be swayed to book one property over another when they are offered room discounts (75%) and a free night’s stay (49%). Free breakfast (84%), free in-room Wi-Fi (80%), free lobby Wi-Fi (66%) and free parking (66%) are the most important accommodation amenities and services in the eyes of guests, and not having these would have a large impact on people’s final decision on whether or not to book a certain property. Nearly two thirds (65%) indicated that the absence of free lobby WiFi would impact their accommodation decision-making. In order to satisfy the demands of the increasingly discerning tourist market, it also pays to ‘go green’ and to be seen as an environmentally sustainable business. Nearly 8 out of 10 consumers (79%) place importance on properties implementing eco-friendly practices.

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2.

THE BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE

BUSINESS MOOD UPBEAT FOR 2013 2012 was a mixed year financially, with most businesses (53%) reporting that they were just ‘somewhat’ profitable. A minority of businesses (3%) claimed to have been ‘extremely profitable’, while around a fifth (19%) were ‘very profitable’. On the other hand, 17% of business reported to have been ‘not very profitable’ and 5% were ‘not profitable at all’. However, nearly seven out of ten (68%) are optimistic about their business profitability in 2013. Businesses are planning to implement a range of initiatives to attract guests in 2013, with 90% planning to use deals or offers to attract guests. The most common strategies for attracting guests are free Wi-Fi (59%), room discounts (47%) and special offers (41%). ONLINE IS AN ESSENTIAL CHANNEL OF DISTRIBUTION Having a strong online presence is essential for businesses as they compete to attract consumer spend. Two-thirds of businesses (65%) now allow guests to book with them directly on their website, and over a third (35%) indicated that most reservations are generated via this platform. The next most common booking channel is through online travel agencies (18%) followed by direct telephone reservations (11%). Three quarters of businesses (73%) are engaging with potential guests via social media platforms, and this is now a marketing priority for nearly 4 out of 10 properties (38%). Not surprisingly, properties want to know what people are saying about them on social media, with the vast majority monitoring this (87%). In line with this, online travel reviews are of upmost importance in generating bookings for nearly all businesses (96%), and more than eight out of ten (84%) are concerned that negative online reviews will impact their business. EMERGING ROLE OF MOBILE ENGAGEMENT Three quarters of businesses (74%) think it is important to allow guests to book their property on a mobile device. Despite the perceived importance of mobile booking capabilities and consumer demand for this, just a quarter of businesses (25%) currently engage with guests via mobile devices, and mobile marketing is only a priority for around a third of businesses (36%). BUSINESSES OFFER GUESTS A RANGE OF PERKS AND ARE GOING GREEN Properties offer guests a range of free amenities and services. In particular, the vast majority are offering free lobby Wi-Fi (79%) and free in-room Wi-Fi (76%). Again, in line with consumer sentiment, the vast majority of businesses (91%) agree that operating in an ecofriendly manner is important, with the most common initiatives being energy-efficient light bulbs (87%) and towel / linen reuse programs (82%).

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3.

THE CONSUMER AND BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP – IN SYNC ON MOST AREAS BUT MOBILE IS AN AREA OF DISCONNECT

Overall, consumer behavior is in line with business operations and perceptions of what guests want. There are, however, a few areas of disconnect – by addressing these, businesses should be able to better target customers and cater to the needs of their guests, leading to increased customer satisfaction. Consumers show a strong appetite for accommodation providers having mobile booking capabilities (72%) and for properties to engage with them via mobile devices (54%). However, mobile marketing is currently only a priority for just over a third of businesses (36%). Despite the fact that around three quarters of businesses agree it is important to offer a program that allow guests to book their property on a mobile device (74%), currently only a quarter (25%) offer any program to engage with current or potential guests using mobile devices. Among businesses currently offering a program to engage with guests using mobile devices, nearly two-thirds (64%) allow guests to book rooms via their website on a mobile device and over half (52%) have a mobile-friendly website (e.g. easy to navigate using mobile devices). Businesses are aware of the importance of securing positive online guest reviews in order to have a positive online reputation. This will become increasingly important as social media and online reviews are key drivers in people’s travel decision-making process. Over four fifths (84%) of businesses are concerned that negative online reviews will impact their business, which is understandable as 93% of consumers indicated that other people’s evaluations on travel review websites influenced their travel plans. Looking at room rates and consumer travel budgets for 2013, it appears that while most businesses have no plans to increase their room rates (52%), there is a good proportion of consumers who plan on increasing their travel budget this year (49%).

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1. DETAILED FINDINGS PART ONE: THE TOURIST PERSPECTIVE
1. THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE AND PLANNING PROCESS

i.

Motivation and travel companions

Tourists are in search of sun, sea, surf and sand. Globally, the majority of tourists’ last trip was for leisure purposes (68%) and the most popular type of holiday was to ‘hit the beach’ (20%). The next most popular tourist experiences were those for culture and city breaks. Travelers from Africa, South America and North America are the most likely to prefer beach holidays (30%, 25% and 24% respectively vs. 20% overall), while Asian travelers prefer the excitement of a city break (16% vs. 13% overall). Women are more likely than men to be ‘beach bums’ (22% vs. 19% males preferring beach holidays) and are also slightly more inclined to be ‘culture vultures’ (18% vs. 13% males preferring culture based trips). Not surprisingly, people over 65 years are more likely to prefer cultural based trips (22% vs. 16% overall), while younger respondents are more likely to travel in search of adventure / activities (20% vs. 13% overall).
PREFERRED TYPE OF TRIP

Travel allows for time spent with loved ones, with the vast majority of people travelling with someone else (86%), especially close family members such as partners (58%) and children (18%). Middle Easterners are the most likely to travel with their extended family members (30% vs. 17% overall), while South Americans are the most likely to travel with their children (26% vs. 18% overall). Men are more likely than women to travel on their own (16% vs.12%). Those aged over 65 are significantly more likely to travel with their spouse / partner (70% vs. 58% overall), while those aged 18-24 are the most likely to escape the daily grind with their friends (30% vs. 18% overall).

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013
TRAVEL COMPANIONS

ii.

The planning process

When it comes to planning for longer trips, people put a lot of time into the planning process and book well in advance of departure. Seven out of ten (71%) start planning two months or more in advance of departure and six out of ten (61%) book their trip at least 2 months before their trip. On average, women are more likely than men to start planning longer trips well in advance (3 to 4 months on average compared to 2 to 3 months on average for men).
PLANNING AND BOOKING A LONG TRIP

Short breaks tend to be more ‘spur of the moment’ getaways, with most people starting to plan for the trip and actually booking everything relatively close to their departure date. Nearly two thirds (63%) start planning less than a month beforehand, while around seven in ten (69%) book within 4 weeks of departure. Middle Easterners are the most likely to book short breaks with less than a week to go (58% vs. 26% overall). Younger respondents (18-24) are also more likely to be last minute bookers, finalizing their short break less than a week before they leave for their trip (32% vs. 26% overall)

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013
PLANNING AND BOOKING FOR A SHORT TRIP

In terms of travel personalities, people tend to ‘go with the flow’ when taking a domestic trip in terms of planning and booking travel, but like to be more organised for longer trips. For a domestic trip nearly half claim to stick to the basics; booking flights, arranging transit and accommodation (49%), while a quarter (26%) just book flights and arrange everything else at the destination. However, when taking a longer trip people do tend to engage in more detailed planning, with half booking most of the trip components before departure.
BOOKING PERSONALITIES

Tourists from Australasia and Europe are the most likely to stick to the basics when planning and booking international trips (46% and 45% respectively vs. 39% overall), while South American, Middle Eastern and African tourists are the most likely to have everything planned and booked (34%, 33% and 32% respectively vs. 25% overall).

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

2. INFORMATION SOURCES i. Main sources of information Online platforms are the main source of travel information, with 92% 3 of people referring to online sources when planning and researching their last trip. Travel review websites are the most popular information source (69%) followed by web based travel agencies (57%) and travel operator websites (56%). Less than a fifth (18%) turned to an offline travel agency to plan their last trip. Europeans are most likely to have used travel review websites (76% vs. 69% overall), while Australasians are the most likely to have used web based travel agencies when planning their last trip (62% vs. 57% overall).
INFORMATION SOURCES

Online sources are not only the most utilized source of travel planning information; they are also considered the most useful and trustworthy. In particular, travel review websites were rated as the most useful (38%) and trustworthy (32%) information sources, followed by web based travel agencies (19% most useful, 14% most trustworthy). Traditional offline travel agencies fared less well, with just 4% rating them as most useful and 7% considering them the most trustworthy. North Americans and Europeans were the most likely to rate travel review websites as the most trustworthy when researching and planning their last trip (36% and 34% respectively vs. 32% overall)

3

Net score of travel review websites, social media, travel operator websites, web based travel agencies

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MOST USEFUL AND TRUSTED SOURCES OF INFORMATION

ii.

Social media information4

Among those who used social media to research and plan their last trip (e.g. Facebook, blogs, forums), Facebook was the most commonly used social media platform (76%), followed by Google+ (40%) and Twitter (21%). Middle Eastern tourists are the most likely to have used Facebook to research and plan their last trip (98% vs. 76% overall). Younger tourists (18-24) are more likely than their older counterparts to have used Facebook (90% vs. 49% 65+) and Twitter (29% vs. 12% 65+) to research and plan their last trip. Men are more likely than women to have used Facebook and Twitter (78% vs. 74% and 25% vs. 18%, respectively).
UTILIZATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

Facebook was also the most useful and trustworthy social media platform when people were planning the last trip. Those from South America were the most likely to rate Facebook as the most trustworthy (61% vs. 48% overall).

4 Social media refers to Facebook, blogs and forums not travel review websites such as TripAdvisor

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013
MOST USEFUL AND TRUSTWORTHY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

3. THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE REVIEWS i. Influence of social media on trip plans Among those who used social media to plan their last trip, the views of others on this channel were influential when making travel plans. Over eight out of ten (85%) said that other people’s comments, videos and photographs on social media influenced their plans. Middle Easterners, Asians and South Americans are the most likely to say that other people’s comments on social media influenced their plans for their last trip (92%, 92% and 91%, respectively, vs. 85% overall), while Europeans and Australasians were the least likely (77% and 78%, respectively).
SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE

ii.

Importance and impact of travel review websites on trip plans

When researching and planning their last trip, the majority who had used social media in their information search, said that other people’s reviews and opinions in travel review websites influenced their plans.

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013
TRAVEL REVIEW WEBSITE INFLUENCE

iii.

Importance of other travelers’ reviews on accommodation booking

Other travelers’ reviews are a vital source of information for people looking to book their accommodation. Nine out of ten (90%) said that other people’s reviews were important in their decision to book their accommodation for their last trip, with this being ‘very’ important for four out of ten (40%). South Americans are the most likely to say that other people’s reviews were important in their decision to book their accommodation for their last trip (96% vs. 90% overall) 4. ACCOMMODATION MONITOR i. Number of properties considered People do not just chose the first property they come across, with people looking at seven properties on average before making their final decision. Europeans tend to look at the most hotels before making a decision, considering nine properties on average before booking their accommodation. Middle Eastern travelers consider the least (5 on average).
NUMBER OF PROPERTIES CONSIDERED

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

ii.

Decision-making factors

Several factors are taken into consideration before making a decision on accommodation. Of these, price (76%) and location (68%) are the most important elements of the marketing mix in driving bookings. Online reviews are the third most important factor (44%). Africans and Asians are the most likely to consider price as the main decision-making factor when booking accommodation (85% and 81% respectively). Europeans are the most likely to say that online reviews had the biggest impact on their decision (51% vs. 44% overall).

ACCOMMODATION DECISION-MAKING FACTORS

iii.

Booking channels

Most consumers booked the accommodation for their last trip online. The most common way people booked accommodation was through a web based travel agency (27%), followed by the accommodation’s website (23%). Less than one out of ten (9%) booked via offline travel agents. Australasians were the most likely to book accommodation through properties websites (35% vs. 23% overall), while Middle Easterners and Africans were the most likely to telephone the property directly (36% and 38% respectively vs. 15% overall).

BOOKING CHANNELS

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iv.

Importance of amenities and services

As travelers become more discerning they are demanding more amenities and services, especially free add-ons. People are particularly motivated to book accommodation when they are offered room discounts (75%) and a free night’s stay (49%). Free Wi-Fi would convince around four out of ten people (39%) to choose a particular property. Asians are the most likely to book accommodation if they were offered special offers (35% vs. 20% overall), while more Africans would do so if they were offered a free night stay with advanced booking (68% vs. 49% overall).
APPEAL OF ACCOMMODATION PROMOTIONS

When booking accommodation, people want multiple amenities and services, especially ‘freebies’. Free Wi-Fi (80% important), and Free Breakfast (84% important) are the two most important hotel offerings. People are less concerned with health and well-being oriented amenities such as a Gym (33% important) and Spa/Beauty treatments (32% important). South Americans and North Americans are most likely to consider free in-room Wi-Fi connection as important (89% vs. 86% respectively vs. 80% overall). Middle Eastern travelers are most likely to consider a Gym (57% vs. 33% overall) and spa/beauty treatments (50% vs. 32% overall) as important.
IMPORTANCE OF ACCOMMODATION AMENITIES AND SERVICES

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013

A lack of free amenities has a considerable impact on people’s decision to book at a certain property. In particular, the absence of free in-room Wi-Fi is likely to have a considerable impact on people’s choice of accommodation with nearly half (46%) saying this would have a large impact and a further third (35%) saying this would have a ‘little’ impact. People also seem to enjoy a free breakfast, with 84% admitting this would have an impact on their accommodation decision. South Americans are the most likely to say that not having free in-room Wi-Fi and free lobby Wi-Fi would have a large impact on their decision to book their accommodation (62% and 35% respectively).

LACK OF AMENITIES AND SERVICES IMPACT

v.

Importance of environmentally sustainable practices

Nearly 8 out of 10 consumers think it is important that properties implement eco-friendly practices. South Americans place the most importance on properties having eco-friendly practices in place (58% very important vs. 34% overall).
IMPORTANCE OF ECO-FRIENDLY PRACTICES

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vi.

Average cost

AVERAGE COST PER NIGHT (USD)

170

152

149

142

139

135

134

133

129

120

117

117

115

114

112

106

97

96

93

93

88

86

vii.

Writing reviews and recommendations

Upon returning home from travel, consumers are keen to spread the word about their accommodation with others, with nearly six out ten people (58%) recommending the accommodation they stayed at to friends and family. In addition, half (51%) have written a review about the accommodation they stayed at and two-fifths (41%) have recommended the accommodation to friends and family online. Africans are the most likely to have recommended accommodation to friends and family offline (80% vs. 58% overall) and online (66% vs. 41% overall), while Europeans are the most likely to have written a review about the accommodation (61% vs. 51% overall).

ACCOMMODATION REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5. TRAVEL AND TECHNOLOGY i. Digital engagement before and after trip While on a trip, many people are engaged digitally: they connect to the Internet through their mobile (51%), upload photos to social networks (39%) and update their social network status to keep their friends and family up to date (34%). They also use digital tools to make their trip easier such as finding activities and attractions (33%) and download apps specific to the destination (26%).

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TripBarometer by TripAdvisor - Winter 2012 / 2013
USE OF TECHNOLOGY ON TRIP

Consumers want to share memories of their trip with others, with half (50%) having uploaded pictures of a holiday to their social network. Nearly two-fifths (37%) have added comments about their holiday to their social network and a third (34%) have written a review of their experience for a website. Those from North America are the most likely to have written a review about their experience for a website after a trip (39% vs. 34% overall).
USE OF TECHNOLOGY AFTER A TRIP

ii.

Use of devices on trips and mobile bookings

Consumers want to stay connected while away, with travel parties taking an average of four devices with them on a trip. Mobile devices are a "Go To" travel resource and booking mechanism. Consumers think it is beneficial that properties allow them to book accommodation via a mobile device (72%) and they expect properties to engage with them via mobile devices (54%). Middle Eastern consumers are the most likely think it is beneficial for accommodation providers to allow them to book their accommodation via mobile device (95% vs. 72% overall).

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IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE BOOKINGS

6. 2013 PREDICTIONS i. Budget and barriers to travel Consumers have the travel bug, with nearly half of consumers (49%) planning on increasing their travel budget for 2013 compared to 2012. African and Middle Eastern consumers are the most likely to say that their travel budget will increase this year (76% and 75% respectively vs. 49% overall).
BUDGET FOR 2013

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PART TWO: THE OPERATOR PERSPECTIVE
1. BUSINESS OUTLOOK i. 2012 profitability 2012 was a mixed year financially, with most businesses being just ‘somewhat’ profitable. European businesses are the most likely to report an unprofitable 2012 (29% vs. 22% overall), while those from North America are the most likely to have had a profitable 2012 (29% vs. 22% overall). Franchised businesses are most likely to say that their business was profitable in 2012 (32% vs. 22% overall). Country house properties were the most likely to be unprofitable (32% vs. 22% overall).
BUSINESS PROFITABILITY IN 2012

ii.

Business mood for 2013

Overall, business mood is positive for a profitable 2013, with over two-thirds (68%) being optimistic about their business profitability for the upcoming year. North American businesses are the most optimistic regarding business profitability (82%), while European and Middle Eastern businesses are the most pessimistic (both 15% vs. 10% overall).
BUSINESS MOOD FOR 2013

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In line with the generally positive economic outlook, a fifth of businesses (19%) are planning to add new jobs and just four out of ten (39%) are planning to increase their room rates.
ADDING NEW JOBS

68%

19% 4%
I will add new jobs I do not plan to make any substantial changes to my staff I will downsize my staff

9%
Don’t know

2013 ROOM RATES

52% 38%

2%
Increase a lot Increase a little Remain the same

4%
Decrease a little

0%
Decrease a lot

4%
Don’t know

Asian businesses are the most likely to add new jobs in the next six months (32% vs. 19% overall). South American businesses are the most likely to be planning to increase their room rates in the next six months (47% vs. 39% overall), while European businesses are the least likely to be planning to do so (32%). 2. BOOKINGS i. Channels of distribution Two thirds of businesses (65%) indicated their website offers a booking function which allows people to book rooms online. Businesses own websites now generate the most bookings (35%), followed by online travel agencies (18%). Only a small amount of bookings are taken directly over the telephone (11%), email (10%) or via an offline travel agent (7%). Businesses from Australasia and North America are the most likely to say that their website generates the most bookings (48% and 45% respectively vs. 35% overall). Australasian businesses are more likely to allow guests to book their accommodation online (79% vs. 65% overall), while those from South America are the least likely (47%).

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CHANNELS THAT GENERATE THE MOST BOOKINGS

ii.

Booking timescale

Most businesses think that guests book with them relatively close to the time of the stay – estimating that around six in ten bookings (59%) are made within four weeks of stay.
BOOKING TIMESCALE

iii.

Guest decision-making factors

Location (66%) and price (61%) are perceived as the most important factors driving accommodation bookings. Online reviews are also perceived as important with over half (54%) of businesses thinking these have an impact on tourists choice of accommodation. Asian businesses are more likely than their international peers to say that online reviews have the biggest impact on travelers’ decision to book their accommodation (59% vs. 54% overall), while those from South America say that friends and family have the biggest impact (56% vs. 45% overall). More Australasian businesses think that attractions or activities nearby have an impact on travelers’ decision (40% vs. 30% overall).

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DECISION-MAKING FACTORS

3. GUEST REVIEWS i. Reviews and bookings Online travel reviews are important to generating bookings for nearly all businesses surveyed (96%) - 75% said these were ‘very’ important and 21% said these were ‘somewhat’ important. South American businesses are the most likely to think that traveler reviews are ‘very’ important for generating bookings (85% vs. 75% overall). Australians (64%) and Europeans (65%) are the least likely to think traveler reviews are very important.
IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE REVIEWS

Given the importance of online reviews, businesses are understandably concerned that negative online reviews may impact their business (84%), rising to 94% in businesses from the Middle East. European and Australasian businesses are the least concerned about the impact of negative reviews on their business (both 79% vs. 84% overall). Franchised properties are the most likely to be concerned about negative traveler reviews (93% vs. 84% overall). Independently owned properties are the least concerned (82%).

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CONCERNS ABOUT NEGATIVE ONLINE REVIEWS

ii.

Monitoring reviews

Given the importance of securing good online reviews, the majority of properties monitor guest mentions and reviews on social media (87%). Over three-quarters of businesses (76%) monitor these mentions themselves, 15% have their staff do it and 5% outsource this to a third party or agency. Middle Eastern businesses are the most likely to monitor guest mentions / reviews of their property on social media (95% vs. 87% overall), while Australasian and African properties are the least likely to do so (82% and 83% respectively).
MONITORING GUEST MENTIONS/ REVIEWS

iii.

Encouraging guest reviews

Businesses want to hear about their guests stay at the property, with 81% inviting their guests to share feedback about their experiences.

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Businesses from the Middle East, North America and Australasia are more likely to invite their guests to share their feedback (89%, 87% and 85%, respectively, vs. 81% overall), while European businesses are the least likely (77%). Franchised properties are the most likely to invite their guests to share their feedback (89% vs. 81% overall). Single properties are less likely than multiple properties to invite their guests to share feedback (80% vs. 85%).

INVITING GUESTS TO SHARE FEEDBACK

When it comes to different ways of encouraging guests to share their feedback about their experiences, email stands out as the number one means of collection (51%), followed by links on the company site (39%) and guest books (37%).

COLLECTING / ENCOURAGING REVIEWS

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iv.

Positive and negative reviews

The majority of businesses receive traveler reviews online, on both their company website (63%) and on external websites (91%). Encouragingly, the majority of businesses have received positive online reviews (93%), while just over half indicated they have received negative online reviews (51%). Asian and North American businesses are more likely to say that their property has received a negative online review on their website and/or external website (both 56% vs. 51% overall), while Australasian businesses are the most likely to have received a positive online review (95% vs. 93% overall). Franchised properties are the most likely to have received a negative online review (81% vs. 51% overall).

REVIEWS

v.

Actions taken after receiving reviews

As a result of having received a positive review, over two-thirds of businesses (67%) have responded to the positive review, either online or in private, and over half have congratulated or rewarded the staff (55%). When it comes to negative online reviews, businesses are also proactive in response. Nearly 8 out of 10 (78%) have responded to the negative online review – 65% have done so online and 43% have done so in private. Over 6 out of 10 (62%) have addressed the contents of the negative review with the staff. A further 45% have invested in staff training as a result of receiving a negative online review and 41% have reviewed/changed operations. Middle Eastern businesses are more likely to have responded to negative and positive reviews (95% and 81% respectively) whilst European businesses are the less likely to have done so (70% and 59% respectively).

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ACTIONS TAKEN AFTER RECEIVING NEGATIVE/POSITIVE REVIEW

4. AMENITIES AND SERVICES i. Current amenities and services In order to meet guest expectations, businesses offer a wide range of both free and paid for amenities and services. The vast majority offer tourist information brochures or deals (91%) and parking (90%). Wi-Fi is among the top service provided, with 85% of businesses offering Lobby Wi-Fi and 84% offering in-room Wi-Fi. South American, North American and European businesses are the most likely to offer free in-room Wi-Fi connection (84%, 83% and 81% vs. 76% overall). South American businesses are the most likely to offer free lobby Wi-Fi (90% vs. 79% overall) whilst Australasian businesses are the least likely to offer this type of Wi-Fi for free (47%).
AMENITIES OR SERVICES OFFERED

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ii.

Plans for amenities and services

Nine out of ten businesses are planning to use deals or offers in 2013 to attract guests to their property. Free Wi-Fi connection and discounts on room are set to be the main draw cards for 2013, with 59% and 47% of businesses respectively planning to attract guests in these ways. Businesses in the Middle East and North America are more likely to use special amenities (38% and 34% respectively vs. 25% overall) and reward points (22% and 21% respectively vs.12% overall) to attract guests. Australasian businesses are the most likely to use free parking deals to attract guests (47% vs. 39% overall).

DEALS FOR 2013

iii.

Environmentally sustainable practices

In line with consumer sentiment, the majority of businesses agree that operating in an ecofriendly manner is important (91%). North American and South American businesses are the most likely to think that it’s important to have eco-friendly practices in place (both 93%).
IMPORTANCE OF ECO-FRIENDLY PRACTICES

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Over three-quarters of businesses (77%) currently have practices in place to reduce the impact their business has on the environment. Australasian and North American businesses are the most likely to have eco-friendly practices in place (both 84% vs. 77% overall), which falls to 73% among European properties.
PROPORTION OF BUSINESSES THAT HAVE ECO-FRIENDLY PRACTICES IN PLACE

Businesses are doing their bit for the planet by implementing a wide range of eco-friendly practices. The most common initiatives are more small scale initiatives such as energyefficient light bulbs (87%) and towel / linen reuse programs (82%). However, only a minority of properties have a ‘green’ certification (14%) and just a quarter of properties (25%) have been built using energy friendly materials.
ECO-FRIENDLY PRACTICES

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5. SOCIAL MEDIA AND MOBILE i. Prioritization of social media within the marketing plan Nearly 4 out of 10 (38%) indicated that social media is a priority for them within the overall marketing plan. Middle Eastern and Asian businesses are more likely to be prioritizing social media within their marketing plans (56% and 50% respectively vs. 38% overall), whilst Australasian businesses are the least likely to do so, with only 20% considering social media as a priority.
PRIORITIZATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA WITH THE MARKETING PLANS

ii.

Importance of mobile bookings

Properties are aware of the importance of ‘booking on the go’ with nearly three-quarters of businesses (74%) thinking it is important to offer a program that allows guests to book their accommodation via a mobile device. Asian businesses are the most likely to think that it is important to offer a program that allows guests to book their accommodation through mobile device (79%).
IMPORTANCE OF OFFERING A PROGRAM TO BOOK ACCOMMODATION VIA MOBILE DEVICE

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iii.

Mobile engagement

Despite the perceived importance of mobile booking capabilities and consumer demand for this, just a quarter (25%) currently offer programs to engage with current and/or potential guests through mobile devices. South American and African businesses are the least likely to offer programs to engage with current or potential guests through mobile devices (17% and 19% respectively vs. 25% overall). Franchised businesses are the most likely to offer programs to engage with customers using mobile devices (46% vs. 25% overall), while independently owned properties are the least likely (22%).
BUSINESSES OFFERING A PROGRAM TO ENGAGE THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES

Among businesses currently offering a program to engage with guests using mobile devices, nearly two-thirds (64%) allow guests to book rooms via their website on a mobile device and over half (52%) have a mobile-friendly website (e.g. easy to navigate using mobile devices). The minority (22%) use special offers for mobile device users. Again, franchises are the most likely to allow guests to book rooms via their website on a mobile device (73% vs. 64% overall), while resorts are the least likely (62%).

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HOW BUSINESSES ENGAGE WITH CONSUMERS THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES

Despite many consumers highlighting the importance of booking accommodation via a mobile device and expecting properties to engage with them via mobile devices, mobile marketing is a priority for just over a third of businesses (36%). African and Australasian businesses are the least likely to priorities mobile marketing (31% and 32% respectively, vs. 36% overall).
PRIORITIZATION OF MOBILE MARKETING WITH THE MARKETING PLANS

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APPENDIX: METHODOLOGY
The research was conducted online from 7th December 2012 to 7th January 2013. The total sample for the consumer sample is 15,595 and the total business sample is 19,447. The sample breakdown is as follows:

CONSUMER SAMPLE:
TripAdvisor Pop-up survey. A total of 7226 completes were obtained from the TripAdvisor
panel

Online Panel Survey. A total of 8369 completes were obtained from an external sample of
adults who plan and book travel online.

BUSINESS SAMPLE
A total of 19,447 businesses on the TripAdvisor for Business panel responded to the survey. The table below outlines the sample structure.

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Table 1: Sample Profile

In terms of the consumer sample, please note that as a proportion of the sample was obtained directly from the TripAdvisor panel, the influence of online travel review websites may be higher than for the general population. In particular, the following questions show the stronger prevalence of online travel review websites among the TripAdvisor sample compared to the external sample.

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Q11 Which of the following sources of information did you use when researching and planning your last trip? “Travel review websites” – external sample 48%, TripAdvisor sample 85%

Q12 Which source of information was the most useful/trustworthy when researching and planning your last trip? “Travel review websites” Most useful - 18% external sample and 54% TripAdvisor sample “Travel review websites” Most trustworthy - 15% external sample and 45% TripAdvisor sample Q17 Thinking about your last trip, which three of the following had the biggest impact on your final decision to book your accommodation? “Online reviews” - 26% external vs. 58% TA sample

WEIGHTING The consumer data has been weighted to be reflective of the online population in each country. The business data has been weighted to ensure each participating country has equal representation within the global figures.

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