Travel spending is expected to rise this year, with tourism businesses expecting to increase rates and generate greater profits, a new study from TripAdvisor has found.
According to its global TripBarometer report, conducted by research firm StrategyOne on behalf of TripAdvisor, 68% of global tourism and accommodation providers expect to be more profitable this year, with Asian operators (72%) event more optimistic. Operators in Australasia however (65%) were slightly less optimistic than the rest of the world.
Perhaps fuelled by this optimism, 40% of global accommodation providers plan to hike their room rates in 2013. That percentage rises to 42% among the more confident Asian operators, but falls to 36% in Australasia. This strategy could backfire however; the TripAdvisor study also found that price is still the most important factor for customers when choosing a hotel. Room rates were the key decision-making factor for more than three quarters (76%) of global consumers, ahead of location (68%) and online reviews (44%). And competition between accommodation providers is fierce – travellers were found to look at an average of seven properties before making their booking decision.
Other motivating factors for consumers include room discounts, free nights and free Wi-Fi.
“The TripBarometer has revealed useful insights into what global travellers are planning and shone a light on the areas where accommodation providers can do more to meet guests’ expectations,” said Christine Petersen, President of TripAdvisor for Business. “With travellers choosing digital channels for their travel planning and research, traditional word-of-mouth has been amplified and online booking has become the norm across the globe. The next logical step is mobile, especially considering that travellers in some emerging markets are bypassing desktops and getting online for the first time using mobile devices.”
Backing up to mobile trend, the survey found that 62% of travellers want to be able to make accommodation bookings via a mobile device, while 78% of accommodation providers want to be able to facilitate such bookings. Only 37% of providers however, currently engage with their customers via mobile.
The TripBarometer surveyed more than 35,000 people – 15,595 consumers and 19,447 businesses – in an online survey covering 26 countries.