China, Middle East Driving Growth of International Travel
More Than 90 Percent of Europeans Vacation in Europe
From the just-released 2016 Europe Travel Trends Report by Sojern, there are several points that stand out for U.S. travel suppliers seeking to tap into the overseas source market that comprises Europe (including the UK):
First, more than 90 percent of Europeans take their holidays within Europe.
Second, trip duration varies—from a low of 5.4 days for travelers from Greece to nearly 9 days for Dutch travelers.
Third, the average lead time for planning a trip is much larger for Europeans than it is for U.S. travelers—73 days, with Germans taking another week beyond that.
Following is more information on these three points from Sojern’s Trends report, which looked at more than one billion travel intent signals from January 2015 through June 2016 in order to better understand the behavior of European travelers.
- The vast majority (93 percent) of European travel occurs intra-regionally. Yet, political and economic factors, as well as changing tastes of Europeans all impact how they plan travel. For example, Sojern points out, even with the UK’s “Brexit” vote result on 23 June and the falling value of the pound, there has not been a drastic change in UK outbound travel intent. However, emerging markets, like Iceland and their creative stopover campaigns, are showing an increase in European travelers. Looking a little more closely at the table below, one will see that the USA is the only long-haul overseas destination that appears.
Top Searched Destinations
For Europe Travelers
2015 to 2016
Source: Sojern 2016 Europe Travel Trends Report
- Regarding trip duration searched by country, European travelers are highly diverse, and individual countries demonstrate significant variability in their travel planning behavior. For example, people in Greece search for travel lasting an average of 5.4 days. In the Netherlands, travel planners look for longer-than-average trips, at just over a week, 8.7 days. Sojern suggests that hotel marketers might consider tailoring upsell offers around trip duration propensity by country—a “6th night free” deal might go further when targeted to Greek travelers vs. those coming from the Netherlands.
Average Trip Duration in Days
For European Travelers
2015 to 2016
Source: Sojern 2016 Europe Travel Trends Report
- Lead times vary greatly. For examples, lead times in Germany and France differ by nearly two weeks. Travelers from Germany are one of Europe’s earliest travel planners with a lead time of 80 days. France has a shorter pre-travel planning time of 67 days. Sojern says that these differences demonstrate that marketers looking to reach European travelers with the right message at the right time should work with data-driven partners who can accurately target based on planning behaviors compared with the actual date of travel.
Average Lead Time in Days
For European Travelers
2015 to 2016
Source: Sojern 2016 Europe Travel Trends Report
Trending among Italian Travelers—the “Hit-and-Run” Holiday
It seems that holidaymakers in Italy have stretched to its limits the notion of the last-minute weekend getaway—even to places as distant as the USA. According to an item in the Italian travel trade journal, Guida Viaggi, the trend is described thus: “More and more holidays organized at the last second and often even for a weekend. From time (it takes) to turn off the computer in one’s office on Friday afternoon, to turn it back on in the morning of the following Monday … And the trend in the last year is affecting the ‘snap-packers’ and ‘five-to-niners,’ or, to put it in Italian, tourists (who) hit-and-run. Those who absolutely do not want to give up a few relaxing days, but who are unable to arrange this well in advance, for lack of time or for risicate (very small) budgets.”
In the last year, according to research conducted by the London-based ICM Unlimited on behalf of Hostelword, this type of bookings grew by 17 percent vs. to the previous twelve months. Such reservations to travel agencies almost always involve an overnight stay from Friday to Sunday night, in places not very far from their place of work, at most cities of neighboring countries, and for the most part, they are agreed to not more than two weeks before departure—sometimes even the day before.
As many as 64 percent of those surveyed admitted that he or she had already made a thought to a new upcoming weekend to enjoy within a few weeks, a kind of long trail of the summer holidays.
Among “hit-and-run” destinations:
—Italy has the destinations most favored with 43 percent of the bookings.
—Second place is tied between France and Spain (18 percent).
—The remainder of the favorites (in order) are Austria (10 percent); Germany and Greece (9 percent); Switzerland and Portugal (7 percent), and Croatia and England (5 percent).
—Among the most popular destinations for hit-and-run holidays is the USA … the only country outside Europe to appear in the top ten, with 7 percent of the bookings.
Twenty-two (22) percent of the snap-packers said they had booked in order to meet new people.
“Try to get the most out of their lives, does not mean certainly stop traveling,” said Otto Rosenberger, chief marketing officer Hostelworld. “And it does not even need to take six months off to discover the world. We are seeing that increase more and more people who decide to take shorter holidays, but more frequently. Managing to wonderfully handle the rest of their lives. Given that, just the journey, it is a fundamental part of their lives. ”
NEW & INTERESTING PRODUCT
Gators and Guns Tour Launched by New Orleans Operator: After a successful first year in business, New Orleans-based Premium Tours and Transportation has developed several new packages including Gators and Guns, which combines a shooting range experience with an airboat swamp tour. Guests start the tour at Jefferson Indoor Shooting Range, where they can choose from upwards of 15 different guns to shoot. Available models range from the tried-and-true AK-47 to the MP5 9mm submachine gun. Every guest is accompanied by a certified shooting instructor to ensure a safe experience. Part two of Gators and Guns takes guests to Jean Lafitte Swamp for a 2-hour airboat ride conducted by Airboat Adventures. Full-grown alligators will be visible in the water or sunning themselves on islands. Guests can even enjoy a hands-on experience by holding (and taking pictures with) a baby alligator. For more information, visit: www.premiumtoursandtransportation.com.
New Museum on African American History & Culture Opens in D.C. Established by an Act of Congress in 2003, the long-awaited National Museum of African American History and Culture opens this weekend (Sept. 24-25) in Washington, D.C., just steps away from the Washington Monument, between Madison and Constitution Avenues and 14th and 15th Streets, NW. It is the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum and is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history, and culture. The buildup to the opening has seen a flurry of news and feature articles through every conceivable channel of communication in the USA. Because of the crowds expected at the new facility—it has a collection of some 37,000 objects—timed passes will be required for entrance. For more information, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/.
Estate of Prince (the rock star) Opening for Tours: Paisley, the home, studio and grounds that comprise the estate of the late rock star Prince (Rogers Nelson) in Minneapolis, Minn., will open next month for both self-guided and escorted tours. The Prince complex occupies an area of five thousand square meters and was where the body of the singer, who died last April 21, was found. Site visits will include walks through the halls of tests and the spaces have personal pieces, prizes, musical instruments, art works and memorabilia of some of the most important singer tours. The self-guided tour, which retails for $38.50, should take about 70 minutes. The VIP ticket for small groups will cost $100. The visits will be made in groups of 25 to 30 people. For more information, visit: https://www.officialpaisleypark.com/.
Imitation Star Trek Set Open for Tours: Sets that are strikingly similar to those of the 1960s TV series “Star Trek” are now part of a permanent exhibit at an ad hoc museum (the building once housed a grocery store) that opened recently in Ticonderoga, N.Y. The new attraction, which has become wildly popular to “Trekkies” via the social media network, is the creation of James Cawley, who, in 1997, received a copy of the original Starship Enterprise blueprints from a costume designer on the original show. He then took years to build the recreation of the TV show’s set. The set/museum is faithful to the series, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary, and has been the setting for an internet film. During the course of the growth of the site’s popularity, Cawley had to deal with a copyright infringement suit by Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios, which settled the matter by imposing friendly conditions on what could and could not be done with material filmed at the young museum. Opening the sets to visitors became a way to keep the fans coming. Cawley obtained a license from CBS Consumer Products and recently opened the facility to tours. Adult admission is $24.30. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/StarTrekTour/.
Who’s Spending $74 Million a Day on USA Holidays?
It seems as if the only source market growing at a more rapid rate than that of China is the source market for reports that measure, analyze and extrapolate findings on China and its outbound travelers.
In the latest submission into the collection of reports is one from special analysis by the World Travel Monitor®, conducted by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin, and another reported on by the Xinhua News Agency, China’s official press agency. Highlights from the two follow:
From the World Travel Monitor report:
—Holidays are the reason for over 80 per cent of foreign trips by the Chinese. ,
—Holiday trips only (without visiting friends or relatives) have a significantly higher share among the Chinese (76 per cent) compared to the global average (57 per cent).
—For some years, the most popular type of holiday has been round trips, although city trips are now also gaining ground.
—Compared to 2007 the average length of stay abroad has halved and in 2015 was about five nights. Despite this, sales rose to almost 77 billion euros during the same period.
—More than 80 per cent of Chinese chose to stay in hotels on their travels abroad. Four-and-five-star were the preferred categories, accounting for 62 per cent of accommodation on all trips.
—Chinese differ widely from the global average which, in respect to luxury hotels, stands at only 40 per cent.
—Although travel agency and catalog bookings, currently at 74 per cent, have declined among Chinese outbound travelers since 2015, as a category they still account for double the global market average.
—As a result, China is the leading source market for travel agency and catalogue bookings.
From the Xinhua News Agency:
—In 2015, Chinese tourists spent around $74 million a day on holidays in the USA.
—Fashion retailers, hotels and luxury stores are the top three locations where Chinese tourists spend their money.
—Fashion retailers make up almost one-third of their spending.
—Many tourists consider spending abroad a way to offset the expenditure of travel, because prices in the US are lower than that in the domestic market.
—Zhao Ping, researcher of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, says that the spending enthusiasm of Chinese tourists comes with increasing national income. (Business news site nbd.com.cn also confirms Zhao’s statement.)
—Training programs and summer camps are emerging as new ways for Chinese tourist to experience a holiday in the US.
—Tourism contributes to 59 percent of the total volume of service products the U.S. exports to China.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Norwegian Holidays has appointed Anders Svensson as its first managing director as the company plans to make a major UK market expansion. Svensson, who has worked with Norwegian for seven years, is based in the business’s Oslo headquarters. He has spent the past five years focusing on developing Norwegian’s loyalty program, Norwegian Reward
Worldwide Attractions, the London-based B2B travel sales and marketing representation company, has announced Sonja Quinn has been promoted to account director. Sonja has been with Worldwide Attractions since 2012 and is now expanding her responsibilities to include further development of the company’s established North America client base. Alongside her new account director duties, Quinn will continue to account manage several of Worldwide Attractions’ clients, including Entertainment Cruises and On Location Tours.
After seven years as chief executive of onefinestay, Greg Marsh, who helped launched the company in London in 2010, has decided to “move on to new opportunities.” Evan Frank has been appointed chief executive of onefinestay and Keyvan Nilforoushan named deputy chief executive. Earlier this year, AccorHotels announced the acquisition of the company for €148 million ($192.5 million). Marsh will continue to support the business on an advisory basis for the coming months. Onefinestay has offices in London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Sydney and Miami.
Tom Kiely is leaving his job as executive vice president, tourism for the San Francisco Travel Association, to take over as president and CEO of Visit West Hollywood. Kiely replaces Brad Burlingame, who was named president and CEO of what now is Visit West Hollywood in 1997 and died this past December. Kiely will assume the Visit WeHo position on Oct. 17. Prior to joining San Francisco Travel, Kiely had leadership positions with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Atlantis The Palm – Dubai and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Michelle Revuelta has been named vice president of media relations for Choose Chicago. A tour and travel industry veteran with two decades of experience in public relations and communications, Revuelta most recently served as director of media relations for Tourism Toronto for the past nine years, and worked with Choose Chicago President & CEO David Whitaker when the latter was president and CEO of Tourism Toronto from 2007-2015.
Nathalie Brown has been appointed manager of purchasing at Marco Vasco, a mid-size Paris-based tour operator that specializes in custom vacations to numerous international destinations, including the USA. Brown, who received her MBA in the U.S., spent more than 10 years at Kuoni France and three years at Tui France.