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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

    • 11/28/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Greece
    • English

    GfK Travel Insights, Greece: Significant increase in Bookings for summer 2017

    Greece remained in high position as a destination for German and British Tourists in 2017
    • 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.
    • 06/25/18
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Key insights within travel: Three current themes for exploration

    With summer fast approaching – yes, it officially started on June 21st – Americans once again will be vacationing in record numbers. Recent forecasts estimate that over 246 million passengers will fly domestically between June and August (which averages to over 2.5 million per day). Flying of course is not the only travel option – with road trips being a normal part of the American genre. In fact, according to recent research from GfK Consumer Life, 67% of US leisure travelers have done so in a vehicle (vs. 54% traveling by plane). As more consumers look to travel, services such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing have become more popular – allowing many travelers to specifically land on what type of vacation they truly want. Here are three current travel trends that brands can leverage to further attract the traveler target.

    Surprise destinations

    Six in ten Americans now feel “the places where you spend your vacations” is an expression of themselves. This is now ahead of “the home you live in”, which has historically been on top when comparing both attributes (though consumers, led by Millennials are moving away from placing importance on the home). According to Airbnb’s own travel data, top destinations within the US are still considered mainstays (i.e. ‘tourist-y’) – places like New York City, Orlando, etc. However when looking at top trending destinations – those that have increased the most on searches and bookings from 2017 to 2018 – a different picture emerges. Middle American cities such as Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Columbus, OH move towards the top of the list – one can assume that travelers are undoubtedly looking for a different experience in these places. The psyche of ‘been there, done that’ and/or ‘taking it slow’ could definitely be emerging among consumers. In addition, the ‘value for dollars’ equation probably gets solved easier when visiting places that are undoubtedly more affordable.

    ‘Last Chance’ Tourism

    Americans are also acknowledging that the world is rapidly changing today: 21% cite ‘global climate change’ as a top-three concern (from a list of 21), and +6 pts from just 2015. In turn, another travel trend that has gained popularity is the notion of ‘last chance’ tourism – visiting a place before the relevant experiences, or the destination itself, is gone forever. Many tourists have visited the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to see it “before it’s gone”, which may or may not happen anytime soon. Cuba has experienced increased tourism recently – with the idea that the native culture within the country might change if and when more Americans start traveling there. Authenticity (i.e. a feeling of ‘realness’) always seems to have a place within consumer sentiments – nearly seven in ten American feel authenticity as a ‘personal value’ is extremely/very important (consistently ranking it in the top-five among a list 50 personal values in recent years). The novelty factor will continue to be a hook for travels, as 69% of Americans agree, “I am always eager to see new places and do different things”. On the domestic side, a few US national parks are playing into this trend.

    Food and travel always mix

    Think of the last time you shared your travel experience with someone (or vice versa) – questions like “how was the food?” and “where did you eat?” were probably a part of the conversation. Well then, it’s probably not a surprise that 70% of Americans travelers agree, “I always like to experience local culture and foods when I travel”. And now, newer experiences such as food tours and cooking classes are increasingly sought after by travelers (Tripadvisor says both experiences rose ~50% in 2017 among US travelers). Coinciding again with the ‘sharing economy’ or ‘access economy’, offerings such as Meal Sharing and EatWith also allow for more local & authentic food experiences. As most of us all like to travel one way or the other, expect more and more consumers to curate the travel experience they truly desire. Companies can leverage these three areas of opportunity and offer solutions that will continue to appeal to the traveler mindset.
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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