Editor's note: for the most up-to-date insights, you can now read our round-up of the most important travel trends for 2018. You can also download your full Travel Trend Report 2018:
The priorities and aspirations of today's traveller are changing fast, and it's more rewarding than ever for tourism companies to make an effort to understand their customer.
To stay ahead, TripAdvisor's TripBarometer report is packed with interesting statistics about the state of travel in 2016. You might like to check it out too, but to save you time we've collected the findings that are most relevant to tour or activity providers.
Want even more stats? You can also also delve into our exploration of the travel trends for 2016 we think you'd like to know about.
Here's what you should know about today's traveller...
1. They will spend more because it's worth it
Good news for the travel industry: 1 in 3 travellers (33%) are planning to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did the previous year, and not just because of rising costs. However, this doesn't mean you can just expect the bookings for your tours or activities to roll in. Travellers want to spend their money on costs they class as worthwhile.
Provide a quality service that builds your reputation and you will increase your chances of coming into contact with those that are upping their spending.
2. They see travel as an essential part of their wellbeing
Among those who plan to increase their travel budget, 49% said they will do so because “because I or my family deserve it”, while 31% said they would spend more on travel because “it’s important for my health and well-being.”
Even if your business isn't based on a beach, your tour or activity could still provide a welcome escape from day-to-day life and an introduction to something new, be it a culture, experience, or skill.
3. They will check out TripAdvisor before they book
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 4 in 5 TripAdvisor users will “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding on an attraction to visit, especially Australian travellers (82%) and Generation X (74%).
As well as increasing your positive TripAdvisor reviews, you can also encourage your customers to submit photos with reviews: 76% of TripAdvisor users agree that traveler-submitted photos influence their booking decision.
4. They are seeking new experiences
It's not just millennials that are becoming more adventurous: 69% of global travelers - of all age groups - are planning to try something new in 2016. 17% will try solo travel for the first time in 2016, and 15% will try adventure travel for the first time.
Does it make sense for you to cater to these adventurous travellers? If so, up your marketing and get your business out there, be it by creating an Instagram feed that incites wanderlust or setting aside a small budget for paid search advertising with Google AdWords.
5. They are super connected - and want you to be too
No surprises here: the typical traveller of 2016 is super connected, with 46% of us valuing free in-room WiFi as a must-have amenity when booking accomodation. Before a trip, travellers will base their plans on reviews, TripAdvisor rankings, and other online content, and after a trip they are likely to share their thoughts in similar places, including on social media.
Your customer of 2016 wants you to be online too, and this includes on mobile. Asian travelers are least likely to use offline methods to book accommodation, US, UK and Italian travelers stand out as online booking channel users, and the Chinese are most likely to make bookings via mobile apps.
It doesn't matter about age any longer: the majority of your customers, of any age group, will praise your business if you are reviewed well on TripAdvisor, active on social media, and provide the option to book quickly and effortlessly online and on mobile.
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Published by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.