What Motivates Travelers?

Hotels, restaurants and airlines are constantly asking themselves, what motivates travelers? Understanding what their customers, and our Going Global community want, is critical information. You can’t be responsive if you don’t understand your clientele’s wants, needs and desires. That’s just marketing 101.

Fortunately most top hospitality brands have good insight into their customer’s preferences. But in case there was any doubt, Yes Marketing just published an interesting study called Understanding the Traveler’s Journey. They surveyed 1,000 people to find out what motivates travelers.

It’s no surprise that most travellers want value and to be warded for their loyalty.

When it comes to travel, customers are all about value. Value means different things to different travelers, and some are looking for better experiences rather than the biggest discount. For most travelers, value means a combination of price, quality and the perks they get when using a brand’s services — the three most popular factors customers consider.

Price is the most influential factor for selecting a new travel and hospitality brand, with 58% of respondents ranking this option as number one. Quality follows at a distant second, with 19% ranking it as the most significant factor.

Available perks (e.g., free checked bag, room upgrades, etc.) is the third most popular option, with 9% of respondents ranking it number one and 18% ranking it number two. Additionally, while price is consistently
the number one reason consumers across generations select a new travel brand, younger consumers value perks more than their older counterparts — 18-21 year-olds and 22-37 year-olds are twice as likely to choose perks as 38-52 year-olds (10% compared to 5%). That’s not surprising, since younger consumers are often more motivated by experiences.

Travelers are also quite particular in how they make decisions to book a room or flight with a brand they’re not familiar with. In the age of social media, recommendations matter now more than ever.

They also care about the quality and frequency of communication once they establish a relationship with a brand. While about six out of 10 customers say companies are messaging them just enough for most channels, that leaves four out of 10 who are unsatisfied. Customers are much more likely to say brands are emailing them too frequently rather than not enough.

Specifically, 32% say travel and hospitality brands are emailing them too frequently (compared to 5% who say they don’t get enough emails) and another 41% say they see too many display ads (compared to 7% who don’t see enough).

And when hotels and airlines reach out, the content better be specific and tailored to their needs. Mass mailings don’t cut it with picky travelers.

The key to understanding travelers is getting to know them. Forty-four percent of customers say they’d prefer that brands send them communications informed by their past behavior, and 29% say they’d like to see more communications based on demographic info. Finally, 27% say they’d prefer brands to act on information the consumer has given them directly (e.g., via feedback forms, experience surveys, preference centers, etc.).

As the report sums up, “Global tourism rates are hitting record highs and as consumers flock to book reservations with airlines, hotels and other travel brands, the pressure for marketers in the hospitality industry is on to win that business. ”

Therefore, it’s no surprise that digital ad spending in the travel industry is expected to surpass what is spent by consumer packaged goods companies, according to a recent eMarketer report. But to go along with the ad spend we recommend companies take some time and learn what motivates travelers. We know the intrepid travelers in our community reward those companies who understand their needs and respond to them with loyalty and respect.