Travel and Tourism Organizations

Valuable Data from Leading Travel and Tourism Organizations

In 2009, travelers in the U.S. and Europe responded to the global recession by tak­ing fewer trips – and spending less when they did travel. Travel and tourism organizations’ data show that U.S. total gross bookings declined 16%, with European bookings down 10%, according to Phocuswright’s U.S. Online Travel Overview Ninth Edition (November 2009) and Phocuswright’s European Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition (October 2009), respec­tively. With the total travel pie smaller and travelers keen to get the most out of their lei­sure trips, destination marketers have to work harder to attract visitors.


How DMO's Can Respond to Trend Data from Travel and Tourism Organizations


For most destination marketing organizations (DMOs), the travel slump brought with it a smaller budget. With fewer resources and a mandate to maintain strong visitation num­bers, it’s crucial to make every bit of budget count. By understanding traveler behavior, destination marketers can home in on the trav­elers whom they have the greatest potential to influence – and implement the most effective strategies for connecting with them.


Many destinations are tasked with attract­ing both domestic and international travelers. This report compares and contrasts consumer behavior among U.S. and European travelers, focusing on three major European markets – France, Germany, and the U.K. Analyzing these markets and their travel and tourism organizations in tandem makes it possible to highlight characteristics unique to each market, while identifying trends common to tall three.


Phocuswright’s Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go provides context for understanding leisure travel behavior in the studied markets and an in-depth analysis of the travel segment most relevant to destination marketers: independent destination selectors, i.e., travelers who have selected at least one of their leisure travel des­tinations in the past year. The report provides insight into the destination selection process and the factors influencing destination selec­tion, including key motivators, psychographics, information sources, online features, and web­sites used in destination selection.


Understanding traveler behavior in relation to destination selection makes it possible to allocate marketing spend optimally, improve return on investment, craft traveler messag­ing, and ultimately, increase visitation. Traveler perceptions of individual destinations develop over time and are subject to a broad range of influences. Destination marketers should be working to educate and influence prospective travelers via a range of touchpoints, both direct and indirect. The objective of this report is to provide insights that can help marketers turn travelers into visitors (and repeat visitors).


To provide context for understanding trends in destination selection, it is use­ful to understand general travel and shopping behavior. This section compares traveler inci­dence of purchasing lodging and air products, rates of international travel, future travel inten­tions, and online shopping trends across the four markets. In general, although travel inci­dence was depressed in 2009, travel and tourism organizations show that travelers showed signs of optimism when reflecting on their plans for the coming year.