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Smart insights: Travel and Hospitality

Travel companies are facing intense competition for customers, caused by oversupply, an increasingly fragmented market and consumer demand for services to be provided across every channel.

To stay ahead in this environment, you need travel market intelligence that captures big data across all channels and travel areas. And you need it integrated and filtered to deliver smart insights that offer the potential for bigger and better performance.

GfK is the only global research agency to provide travel, tourism and hospitality market insights based on live booking data from thousands of sales points (POS) – both offline and online, across all devices – combined with the broad industry knowledge of our travel research specialists.

This combination gives you clear understanding of what is happening and why through the entire purchase journey, from first contact to the final transaction, across all industry silos.

Whether you are an airline, accommodation provider, travel agent, tourist board, cruise line operator or travel logistics company – we monitor consumers at every touchpoint, to show you the key factors and experiences that are influencing traveler decisions within the travel and hospitality industry.

Success Stories
  • Improving the user experience of a ticket machine interface

    Improving the user experience of a ticket machine interface

    20.04.2017

    Improving the user experience of a ticket machine interface

    We aimed to improve the user experience of Deutsche Bahn’s touchscreen user interface for customers, thereby improving the ticket- buying experience.

    Situation

    Deutsche Bahn sells more than 183 million tickets a year across 6,700 ticket machines at 3,900 locations in Germany and neighboring countries. These ticket machines are one of its most important distribution channels. The railway company asked us to help it test a new touchscreen user interface it was developing for its ticket machines. It wanted to refine the design and the overall process to maximize the user experience for its customers.

    Approach

    We did four iterations of qualitative interviews with participants representing a mixture of Deutsche Bahn's target users. The first iteration focused on testing different design concepts and the second and third on the needs of different audiences. In the final iteration we tested a revised concept of the current ticket machine interface based on the quick wins from the previous interviews. We had participants complete tasks with a prototype of the new user interface concept while also gaining insight into their previous experiences with ticket machines.

    Across all four iterations, we observed users’ behavior and gathered detailed feedback about their experiences with the new user interface. At the end of each test, we gave recommendations based on the findings and helped define next steps with client stakeholders who attended the sessions.

    Outcome

    By conducting this study with an iterative approach, Deutsche Bahn could test different concept ideas and refine them after each iteration. After hearing users’ feedback first-hand, along with our insights, the client’s design team took immediate action to advance their concept. They could focus on what their users wanted as they redesigned the new ticket machine user interface. Since 2006, our research and design experts have been helping Deutsche Bahn to improve the user experience of other customers’ touchpoints, too, such as the DB website and app.

    Click here to download our success story

  • Tracking holidaymakers as they plan their next trip

    Tracking holidaymakers as they plan their next trip

    01.12.2015

    GfK research helps a global travel group understand the purchasing behavior of holidaymakers and sharpen the effectiveness of its marketing and sales forecasting.

    Our client is a leading global travel and leisure group that generates revenues of more than $10 billion (€8.6 billion) from over 20 million customers each year.

    Situation

    The Internet has fundamentally transformed holidaymakers’ decision-making and purchasing patterns.
    Awareness and consideration have lost predictive power, and even consumers don’t know how they will proceed to their booking.
    In order to plan strategically and market effectively, our client needed a thorough understanding of the research and buying process.

    Approach

    We showed that consumers are unreliable predictors of their own behavior, and that tracking of actual behavior was needed.
    We set up a Media Efficiency Panel to gather demographics, intentions and purchase actions, while our browser plug-in continuously tracked all online behavior for 15,000 households. This was complemented by an offline-behavior questionnaire.

    Outcome

    • The research provided highly granular insight into consumers’ holiday purchase patterns. It analyzed how they research their trips, including the websites and search keywords used and the vital role of aggregators.
    • This allowed our client to influence the process effectively by enhancing its promotional tools and marketing at every step. It also made it easier to forecast future sales.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Using guest feedback to improve the customer experience

    Using guest feedback to improve the customer experience

    28.08.2015

    Using guest feedback to improve the customer experience

    GfK partnered with the hotel group to power its new guest experience program. The hotelier uses our GfK Echo solution to gather guest feedback in real-time from numerous sources, including guest survey results, property audits and guest reviews from websites.

    This leading hotel group is one of the largest in the world and has received numerous awards for demonstrating innovation and an extraordinary level of service.

    Situation

    This leading hotel group aims to:

    • have high-quality dialogue with its guests
    • bring relevant and current data and analyses to its hotel operators so they can use it to improve the guest experience

    These goals demand that the hotelier extends the gathering of feedback beyond the traditional mechanism of surveys to include social listening intelligence from channels such as web reviews and social media.

    Approach

    We partnered with the hotel group to power its new guest experience program. The hotelier uses our GfK Echo solution to gather guest feedback in real-time from numerous sources, including guest survey results, property audits and guest reviews from websites.

    Outcome

    The hotel group now has a guest experience tool that gives it:

    • a structured way of capturing feedback from the day guests arrive at a property, in the form and channel in which they prefer to provide it
    • the ability to view feedback from multiple channels on a single dashboard
    • a means to distribute actionable customer experience information to employees and managers at each hotel

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for travel and hospitality industry. View all insights

    • 04/11/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Greece
    • English

    GfK Travel Insights, Greece: Latest Booking Trends for Summer 2017

    Significant increase in the bookings of tourism packages for Greece in 2017, based on the latest GfK Travel Insights
    • 05/28/15
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Greece
    • English

    Bookings for Greece, January – March 2015

    The bookings for Greece for the first four months of 2015, declined by 1.2% from Germany, one of the major markets for the country.
    • 04/20/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    Improving the user experience of a ticket machine interface

    We aimed to improve the user experience of Deutsche Bahn’s touchscreen user interface for customers, thereby improving the ticket- buying experience.
    • 03/15/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    How to leverage consumers’ current travel sentiments

    Currently, there is indeed a heightened consumer awareness around travel, notably with much of the conversation in the US focused on travel bans and increased airport security.  There is no denying that safety is on the forefront of consumers’ minds – 61% of Americans agree that they are “always concerned about their safety and security”, according to a recent study from GfK Consumer Life. But how does this affect consumers and their attitudes and behaviors towards travel?  Travel is actually one of the last things that Americans are willing to give up – only behind their mobile phones (and ahead of other indulgences including dining out, out-of-home entertainment, and hobbies).  In fact nearly three-quarters of Americans have traveled for leisure in the past 12 months (60% of those by plane).  It is probably safe to assume that at least a similar number would like to continue to do so in the future.

    Building on experiences

    Rising personal values of consumers that include learning, open-mindedness and internationalism suggest that Americans are open to new experiences when it comes to travel.  In addition, 63% of Americans agree that they ‘always like to experience local culture and foods’.  Concurrently, industry trends show that international travel was up 6% in 2016 vs. 2015. How does this reconcile with the current shakeups within the travel industry?  Well one particular case is that advancements in technology are allowing for consumers to experience travel like never before.  The evolving wants and needs of the connected consumer continue to push for new innovations in travel.

    Incorporating relaxation

    Prioritizing experiences does not necessarily mean everyone is looking to go the backpacking-rugged-adventurous route.  R&R is also sought after – 54% (+6 pts from 2012) of Americans prefer a vacation where they can relax and take it easy (vs. only 38% looking for “active” vacations where they can do/see a lot of things).  This can probably be attributed to the increased stresses of life today – stress levels have hit an all-time high by some metrics (54% of Americans feel stressed at least once or twice a week, the highest point since GfK started tracking more than two decades ago). This can have implications across a wide range of categories – from food to technology to wellness… anything that will help them unwind during their travels.

    Opportunity: The appeal of business travelers

    One consumer target that can be especially attractive is the business traveler, with their overall affluence and spending tendencies (along with the notion that they probably would be less affected by any changes in consumer sentiment around travel, since it is tied to their careers). About one in five Americans have traveled for business in the past 12 months.  Priorities of course shift – work takes precedence and companies typically handle expenses.  So it comes as no surprise that 75% have stayed at hotels/accommodations rated at 4-stars or higher (+29 pts from the average traveler).  And proper sleep clearly is more important – 71% of business travelers agree that they need to sleep really well (+13 pts from the average traveler). Other opportunity areas that resonate with the business traveler include: health (80% actively look for health products/services, +13 pts from average travelers); technology (61% say they are passionate about tech, +28 pts); and small indulgences (81% look for novelty/fun in everyday products, +17 pts).

    Conclusion

    The recent dialogue within the travel space seems to suggest increased consumer anxiety. Yet brands and companies should not let that be a deterrent – travel is still a mainstay within Americans’ lives.  Both new experiences and relaxation can be drawn upon to give consumers true pleasures in their travels – while business travelers continue to have strong appeal across many facets. Mihir Bhatt is a Senior Consultant on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at mihir.bhatt@gfk.com.
Solutions
  • Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.  Brands need to respond in-the-moment, to enrich the customer experience – and develop strategies that influence ”moments of truth” throughout individual brand journeys.  

  • Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    When consumers shop, search, communicate, gather information and engage with companies or brands online, they behave differently depending on which device or screen they are using. They expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel or device they are using.

  • Market Opportunities and Innovation (MOI)

    Market Opportunities and Innovation (MOI)

    Brands are under constant pressure to maintain relevance in an increasingly crowded market. Identifying when, where and how to deliver compelling experiences that deliver new value for both consumers and brands is critical.

  • Point of Sales Tracking

    Point of Sales Tracking

    Retailers and manufacturers are under pressure to develop products and services that maximize sales and profit and to keep customers coming back.

    Success relies on having the most up-to-date sales data, combined with robust analysis to understand which products and services are performing well in the market – and which are not. With this information, clients can set clear strategies for commercial growth and increase return on investment.

  • User Experience (UX)

    User Experience (UX)

    Our user experience (UX) research and design experts help our clients create and improve customer experiences for existing or new products and services

    Today’s consumer is bombarded with promises for compelling experiences. They are sophisticated and demanding.  To be successful, a new product or service needs to be intuitive, usable, engaging and desirable. The user experience needs to be emotional in order to be memorable.

  • Geomarketing

    Geomarketing

    Our geomarketing solutions and consultancy provide our clients with smart insights into location-specific factors that impact the success of business sites, shops, sales territories, target groups, as well as chain store and distribution networks.

  • Mystery Shopping

    Mystery Shopping

    Consumers face a complex array of brand touch points every day of their lives. To deliver a consistent brand experience, marketers need to know how consumers are actually experiencing their brand. Our mystery shoppers give you all the help you need to understand these experiences, and respond to them to maximize the return for your business.

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