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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)

    Molemo Moahloli
    South Africa
  • 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)

    Molemo Moahloli
    South Africa
Latest insights

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

    • 06/06/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Home Appliances
    • Financial Services
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Home and Living
    • South Africa
    • English

    Unpacking South African Millennials

    Marketers are familiar with the global definition of Millennials but few understand these consumers in the South African context. GfK gives you a lens into the South African's millennial.
    • 06/30/17
    • Retail
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Why travel brands shouldn’t forget about the role of the store

    You may be forgiven for thinking that high street travel agencies are a bit of an anachronism in today’s world. After all, who would go to a retail outlet filled with paper brochures while a uniformed member of staff tapped your details into their computer, when it’s possible to book a package or even tailor-make your own bespoke itinerary without leaving your home? Well, research from GfK suggests that the answer to this question may surprise you, with younger travelers and Leading Edge Consumers actually more likely to visit stores as part of their vacation purchase journey.

    A need for physical travel stores

    Of course, online retailing has been accounting for an ever-larger chunk of consumer spending for many years, but despite this many analysts feel there is still a place for physical stores, as a place you can actually look at and touch products before buying, as well as get advice from experts. While the former aspect is not one that is so relevant for travel, the latter certainly is, and could help explain why there is a continued consumer need for physical travel stores on our high streets. This phenomenon first came to our attention when looking at some research on the travel sector we’d done here in the UK. We asked consumers which sources they’d used when deciding what kind of holiday to go on, with 20% mentioning high street travel agents as part of this process. Interestingly, however, this figure was higher (23%) among Travel Leading Edge Consumers, who are market mavens with a particular category passion according to GfK’s proprietary definition. What’s more, the figure was even higher among those aged 25-34, at 29%, as opposed to lower among 45-59 year olds, at 11%.

    The presence of in-store travel agents

    These figures suggest that users of high street travel agencies may not be who you’d initially suspect, but in fact there are compelling reasons in both cases. Category passionates are always on the lookout for new places to go, and want to maximize the enjoyment of their holiday, while younger consumers may also be less set on going to a particular destination and would value some help and advice. In both cases, the presence of in-store travel experts is likely to be a boon. After all, buying an overseas holiday could count as one of the biggest purchases in a shopper’s year, and the level of expectation placed on a big vacation could be considerable. We know from our GfK Consumer Life data that 44% of global consumers spend quite a lot of time researching brands before making a major purchase. Another consideration, raised in a recent article extolling the virtues of the high street travel agent, is the simplicity and luxury of getting someone else to do the hard work and put together a great holiday. While consumers do now have the online tools available to them to book all the various aspects of a holiday and in some cases save money, there can still be a lot of virtual legwork required to find the cheapest flights, most convenient transfers and nicest accommodation. The increasing realization may be that lowest price doesn’t always equate to best value. Indeed, four in ten global consumers are prepared to pay a premium for products that make their life easier.

    Vacation curation starts with a conversation

    It also seems that travel agents themselves see the benefits of a long term commitment to retail stores. One prominent example is Kuoni, the luxury tour operator, who say that “it all starts with a conversation,” and highlight the fact that their holidays are tailor made by experts who will use their detailed knowledge of a destination and take into account the individual customer’s needs to curate the best break for them.

    The in-store experience: An opportunity to wow

    The in-store experience can also be augmented by interactive touchscreens, virtual reality headsets and more to immerse the customer in the process and bring destinations to life. According to GfK Consumer Life, the percentage of global consumers who say that virtual interactions with people or places can be as good as being there in person is steadily increasing, from 21% in 2011 to 30% now. This development highlights an opportunity for innovators in the technology sector to partner with retailers in travel and other categories to develop in-store experiences that will wow jaded customers. There are surely valuable learnings here for retailers in all categories. If even a category like travel, with no tangible product to display, finds brick and mortar stores to be an important part of the retail mix now and into the future, there’s bound to be a place for them elsewhere. Considering the role that only physical stores can play and the consumer needs that they address in your category could help you stay ahead in a highly competitive omnichannel environment. David Crosbie is a Director on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at david.crosbie@gfk.com.
    • 04/27/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Global
    • English

    Relaxing vs. adventure: Breaking down vacation preferences around the world

    When it comes to taking a vacation, more than half of people (59%) surveyed internationally prefer a vacation where they “relax and take it easy”, according to our online study conducted in 17 different countries. In comparison, over a third (35%) said that they prefer “an active vacation where I do or see lots of things”.  Six percent of the respondents were not sure which type of vacation they prefer.

    Breaking down the results by the biggest factor: Age

    When analyzing the results of the study, there was next to no difference between the preferences of men and women. Age played a bit of a role, with teenagers being the most likely to be inclined to energetic vacations (43% prefer a vacation that is active vs. 51% who prefer to relax).  In addition, families with teenagers in the household are slightly more inclined to active holidays than others. This preference for energetic vacations then drops steadily with each age group, with those in their fifties and those aged sixty-plus both standing at one third who prefer an active vacation. Respondents aged in their forties had the highest percentage of people who prefer relaxing holidays, at nearly two thirds (64%).  In comparison, only 57% of people aged 60 and over say they favor a relaxing vacation.

    Preferred vacation type by country

    The results differed from country to country, with Italy (45%), France (44%) and Spain (43%) leading in percentage of their online population who prefer active vacations where they do and see lots of things. The countries that lead for having the highest percentages of people who prefer a relaxing vacation where they take it easy are Brazil (71%), South Korea (66%) and Japan (also 66%). “The value of these findings for the travel industry lies in combining this self-reported data with our travel insights, which are based on live forward booking data from a growing number of sales points,” comments Laurence Michael, global lead of travel and hospitality research. “With this multi-layered approach, we understand what is being booked and by whom – helping our clients to fine-tune their audience segmentation and identify customer potential, both globally and at country-specific level.” Whether travelers prefer relaxing or planning a more adventurous trip, it should be clear to brands that building on experiences can help leverage consumers’ current travel sentiments.  By utilizing emerging technologies in the travel space, travel brands have the opportunity to build customer loyalty by appealing to the individual consumer. About the study GfK conducted the online survey with over 22,000 consumers aged 15 or older across 17 countries. Fieldwork was completed in summer 2016. Data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15+ in each market. The global average given in this release is weighted based on the size of each country proportional to the other countries. Countries covered are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, 'fc898593-4475-44e2-acc8-155970503045', {});
    • 04/27/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Almost twice as many people prefer relaxing vacations to active ones

    Internationally, 59 percent of people prefer a relaxing vacation, while 35 percent prefer an active one. Brazil, South Korea and Japan lead for favoring relaxing vacations; Italy, France and Spain lead for active holidays. Teenagers are the most energetic, with 43 percent preferring active vacations.
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.

Contact us
Molemo Moahloli
South Africa
+27 11 803 1300
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