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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.

Anthony Ciciulla
Australia and New Zealand
+61 3 8415 9555
Success Stories
  • 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)

    Anthony Ciciulla
    Australia and New Zealand
  • 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)

    Anthony Ciciulla
    Australia and New Zealand
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.

Latest insights

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

    • 08/04/16
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Blazing a trail of data: How Connected Consumers are pushing for a revolution in travel

    Digital technology has forever changed the travel industry, and now there’s no going back.  Video, social media, and online reviews have replaced the role of travel agents, and new technologies like mobile and virtual reality are giving consumers new ways to plan their next vacation. For travel brands, this presents many new opportunities to engage with connected consumers, who leave behind an ever-growing trail of data that can be used to improve business and enhance the customer experience.  After all, the experience is the product when it comes to the travel industry, and everything from the online purchase journey to staying in a hotel can be enhanced using a number of tech trends.

    Smart travel companies accommodate the needs of the Connected Traveler

    Invisible analytics, for example, allow hotels to get smarter by collecting information on guests and their behavior which can be used to better the facilities, sell add-on services, and inform new service/product development.  Businesses can improve their performance while customers receive benefits that seamlessly enhance their traveling experience. Each traveler is different, so brands must put their unique wants and needs at the heart of their innovations.  Whether they offer customers a device or app to help with packing, a local traveler chat service, or a way to keep tabs on their kids, the smart hotel must be a consumer-led revolution if it is too excel.

    Building customer loyalty by appealing to the individual consumer

    Another tech trend that presents both the travel industry and consumers with unique opportunities is the wearable device.  Wearables can offer a personalized travel service based on their owner’s past and present behavior, as well as the convenience of carrying a digital backpack equipped with identification documents, payment methods, guidebooks, maps and much more. For brands, wearables can be used to connect with travelers on an individual level to appeal to their specific interests and tastes.  This kind of intimate brand and consumer relationship builds loyalty and trust, provided that consumers are willing to share their personal data and that it be kept safe-guarded.

    Challenges and opportunities facing the industry

    These new opportunities do not come without major challenges though.  The travel marketplace has become increasingly fragmented and overcrowded, and competition is often disruptive.  Companies that want to best understand and anticipate future developments in the market will need to examine each and every step of the purchase journey to find success. And those that do take advantage of the data that consumers are willing to give them must use it wisely.  Travel brands have the ability to make smarter business decisions and target marketing and advertising messages more effectively, but they need to demonstrate how new technology can add value for the consumer and make the benefits clear.  For the travel industry to evolve in the digital age, connected consumers must be put at the heart of its innovations.
    • 06/28/16
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Hitting the road: What do Americans’ vacation plans tell us about consumer life today?

    Though the U.S. is often known for taking less vacation time than it is due, its estimated that nearly eight in ten Americans will travel this summer.  Recent results from GfK Consumer Life research tell us a lot about what vacations may look like over this time period, particularly as a reflection of larger consumer trends.

    Americans are eager to spend

    Though consumers may never stop scanning travel deal sites or accumulating airline miles, the travel market should benefit from a strong financial outlook.  One in three (33%) Americans today agree that now is a good time to buy – this penchant for spending represents a full 8-point increase from last fall.  Furthermore, nearly one in five report that they have fewer debts and other financial obligations today than they did a year ago.

    Experience is king

    Though Americans seem eager to spend, they’ll be less likely to buy things (material purchases) and more likely to cash in on ‘the experience’.  Almost half of those surveyed say that “experiences are more important than possessions”.  So it should not be surprising that the second most popular reason to use virtual or augmented reality would be to visit other places remotely (video has proven a valuable tool in travel marketing).  It seems that this year’s travelers will value the experience of simply being in a new place – note the recent evolution of Airbnb’s marketing that encourages users to “Live There” and feel more like a local than a tourist.

    Households and families are taking new shapes

    The changing demographics of the U.S. – from the rapid growth of both the aging population and urban areas to greater cultural and ethnic diversity – have an impact on every industry.  Households are also changing significantly, as solo, single-parent, childless and same-sex homes are on the rise. How is this reflected in travel behaviors?  Fewer than half of Americans today take frequent vacations as a family unit (at least one parent and child) – this has gone down 7 points since 2014.  And overall, Americans are more likely to vacation with just a spouse or partner.  As the average group of travelers becomes smaller and more likely to be composed of adults, brands can tailor products and services to meet more flexible and mature needs.

    Spontaneity is part of the plan

    Our society as a whole is becoming more uprooted by the day, with new ways of living and working that are more flexible, in the moment and less fixed to place.  It follows, then, that we’re more spontaneous in our travel.  Forty-five percent of Americans plan their vacations within three months of taking them – this percentage has risen 12 points since 2005.  We’re also taking shorter trips – four in ten travelers are planning a trip in the next six months of three nights or less, which is a 5-point jump in just the last two years.

    Safety matters – maybe more than ever

    Given the overall concern for safety, Americans are keenly aware of the health and environmental risks at play when choosing their destinations this summer travel season.  Nearly three in four Americans consider the environment when vacation planning – a 14-point increase since 2009.  And concerns about viruses, pollution, water quality and more are evident in the fact that medicine is the #1 item after clothes and toiletries that we’re apt to pack when we travel.

    Summary

    Americans want to spend, and they are buying experiences over material possessions.  With a change in how households and families are taking shape and an enhanced value being placed on spontaneity, as well as safety, the travel industry reflects larger trends for American consumers. Rachel Bonsignore is a Senior Consultant in the Consumer Life division of GfK. Please email rachel.bonsignore@gfk.com to share your thoughts.
    • 06/15/16
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Global
    • English

    Invisible analytics: Hotels getting smarter

    There are lots of ways that hotels can collect information on guests and their behavior. If hotels can mine this information successfully using invisible analytics (IA), there are huge business opportunities: selling add-on services, improving facilities, new service/product development and more efficient marketing to name just a few. Hotels can connect with their guests pre-arrival through mobile apps that can help in a variety of ways, by assisting with directions or sending notifications of seasonal packages and offers, or they can invite a past guest to visit again. Interactive room keys can provide hotels with a whole array of information about you, from how long you spend in your room and what other hotel facilities you use, to how you like your room service beef burger to be prepared.

    Learning from the innovators

    Some brands are already embracing IA. The key to success is to ensure hotel customers enjoy benefits such as saving time or minimizing administrative tasks, while the hotel receives information that it can use to improve business performance.
    • Ritz Carlton offers personal check-in via QR codes through its mobile app technology. This eliminates errors and speeds up check-in to the benefit of both the customer and hotel.
    • Cains, Hilton and Starwood let guests unlock their rooms using a smartphone app. This can be integrated with other services including the concierge and security.
    IA is also used to manage the live chats many hotels and travel companies offer on their websites. These “bots” answer inquiries using information stored on customers and on consumer behavior. Customers benefit from having an assistant on hand to answer their queries, while hotels and other organizations benefit from being able to provide excellent customer service cost-effectively. Bots are able to manage simple tasks such as booking restaurants or flights, making appointments, even ordering takeaways. For the customer, the interaction they have with bots appears like a human conversation.

    Summary

    Technology can most definitely add to the guest experience, and improve the business of hotels and travel more generally. The key is to remember the product is that experience, and to harness technology rather than to be slave to it.
    • 06/03/16
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Travel on the small screen

    Travel and video are perfect companions. Two out of three US consumers watch online travel videos for inspiration when they’re thinking about taking a trip according to a 2015 Google study. In fact, video could well be where your customers start the serious business of researching their next trip. There are two main sources of travel video content, brand-led and consumer generated. Video offers travel brands a huge opportunity to engage consumers because it communicates experiences so effectively. One brand, Jumeirah, has already embraced the medium for this very reason. In 2015, the Jumeirah Group launched Jumeirah™ Inside – a virtual platform comprising 360° video and photography that enables users to make hotel bookings, access never-before-seen footage, discover hidden treasures and share them with the world. In collaboration with Google, the luxury brand brings its hotels to life using images, sound and interaction. But video isn’t just for high-end travel brands. Mainstream travel players should be considering how to incorporate video into their websites and advertising to help would-be travelers on any budget visualize themselves on holiday. Our research into purchase journeys for flights and holidays suggests that connected consumers start researching their options and comparing prices approximately two months before they travel. At any one time, almost half of the population is researching some form of travel. Video offers one way to reduce the planning time and encourage consumers to make purchase decisions quickly. In a crowded marketplace, it can help one brand to compete effectively and win competitive advantage over another.

    Video in marketing

    Much of this video consumption is done on a smartphone, particularly among Millennials and pre-teens. Our US data suggests that 25% of 13-64 year olds have streamed TV or films on their phones[1]. Increasingly, this audience is engaging with video advertising on their smartphones too, and brands are maximizing the opportunity to use this platform to engage with them in this highly personal and targeted way. With so much video content being consumed, it is becoming more important to understand audience behavior: what people consume, where, on what device and what would make their experience better. Brand marketers will need not only to embrace the new opportunities for better optimization of their advertising and marketing, but will also need to use them to offer the consumer relevant information as well. If they do not use video as a fundamental part of their communications, their competitors will. And with so many players involved, from content producers and publishers to brands, there will be a need for partnership and collaboration. This is particularly pertinent at present, as much of the data currently exists in silos – its power can only be unlocked through a mutual exchange of information.

    Summary

    The vast amount of video consumption online has another benefit for brands too: a digital data trail that presents an opportunity to target marketing and advertising messages more effectively. The key is to enhance the experience through that information, rather than becoming “too personal” with your visitors. [1] GfK How People Use Media Report, US
Contact us
Anthony Ciciulla
Australia and New Zealand
General