​Consumer Booking Patterns 2013

​Consumer Booking Patterns 2013

Visit England commissioned market research during 2012-13 looking into what drives consumers to book their tourism experiences and holidays. The Look, Book, Took report published July 2013, suggests methods coastal businesses can use to both attract more business and make the booking process as attractive as possible, so securing bookings from potential visitors.

The report includes sections on how people make the decision to purchase, the information they use, how to influence their decisions, how decided thevisitor was on their initial choices and how visitors use online research to shape their decision making.

Key findings

8,680 interviews were conducted over 12 months.

  • Majority already knew where they wanted to go as they started to plan their trip
  • Almost all had been to that destination before
  • Consideration of destinations other than the one they visited was low
  • Few people travelling to European destinations considered a GB destination
  • Leisure journey choices are often driven by habit and prior experience
  • Destinations need to get into consumer’s consideration sets before the “active” planning phase starts
  • Potential for conversion is much greater amongst those who are already planning to visit the GB than overseas

Sample Profile

Of the participants interviewed (3555), 59% were booking for 1-3 nights, 36% 4-7 nights and 46% were booking a hotel, 13% self-catering, 11% family and friends and 11% caravan and 9% B&B.

They were spending on average £273 per person during their trip.

Some 78% were returning to a destination they had visited in the last 3 years, 63% of these visited at least annually.

Online Journeys

To monitor the customer’s purchase decisions and journey, tracking of website use was undertaken, followed by a survey.

33% thought about the trip and booked it in the same month, and 22% (1 in 5) undertook this process in two months.

26% booked and actually undertook the trip in the same month, with 31% over two months and 26% within 3 months.

The strongest preference was to consider and book a short trip (1-3 nights) within the same month across all group categories, pre family was strongest at 46%, post and older family 38%, and young family 32%. Visitors searched activity and websites more for short breaks, those without a family spent longer researching.

Destination choice

Looking at the choice of destination, 2 out of 3 people only considered a trip within Great Britain. 38% had slightly or significantly reduced their holiday budget, 27% had reduced the duration and 31% the amount of spending money per person, but more than 50% of visitors had not altered any of these holiday decisions, increasing spending in these

Influence of advertising

With regard to advertising, less than 10% claimed they had been influenced in any part of their holiday decision process by advertising, though email advertising worked well for short trips (39% for 1-3 nights) and serviced accommodation (39%). Newspapers are more likely to influence those looking for non-serviced accommodation (19% compares to 6% in hotels).

  • Online advertising is the most influential media for all stages of the booking process; highest for influencing choice of accommodation.
  • TV has relatively low (claimed) influence.
  • Email advertising has more influence amongst those booking shorter trips and those staying in hotels.

Information sources

The internet was the most important source for:

  • Deciding which country to go to – 26%
  • Deciding where to go – 31%
  • Planning accommodation – 54%
  • Planning transport – 27%

Those booking online are more likely to plan their trip online, with online review sites and large hotel chains dominating search terms used especially for post-family groups, though younger families had a wider range of search terms, older families focus on “last minute” terms.

72% booked their accommodation online, with 23% booking via telephone. Short breaks and serviced accommodation show higher levels of booking online.

Pre-family or young family families are more likely to use a mobile to undertake searches, while 1 in 4 will use a mobile device at some stage of the decision making process, however the home computer still dominates.

To read the full report click here.