Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2013

Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2013 Published February 2014 Analysts: Marcello Gasdia, John DiStefano, Lorraine Sileo

 

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Phocuswright's Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2013 compares leisure travel behavior in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K., revealing dramatic differences across markets. In addition to outlining key trends in general travel behavior, this report explores how the process of destination selection is evolving, tracking year-over-year shifts in the information sources, online features and websites used when travelers are deciding where to go.

Report topics include:

  • Overall consumer travel trends in each market, including travel incidence, frequency and duration of trips, international travel and trip expenditure
  • Destination selection patterns for domestic and international travelers (distinguishing between European travelers who travel within versus outside of Europe)
  • Timing of when travelers choose their destination and the specialized process that sets destination selection apart from other travel decisions
  • Motivators for selecting a travel destination and specific sources of influence
  • Information sources and websites used
  • Discussion of the most influential types of social media and online features in each market

Purchase Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2013 to master market differences and understand how to influence the destination selection process.

  • Overview, Methodology and Research Highlights
    • Overview
    • Methodology
      • Methodology for U.S. Survey and Traveler Population Projection
      • Methodology for European Survey and Traveler Population Projection
    • Research Highlights
      • European travel spend spikes, U.S. stalls
      • Europeans more likely than Americans to choose destinations independently
      • Three primary elements create the “moment of truth”
      • Trusted information centers on digital
      • Brick-and-mortar and offline media still hold sway
  • General Travel Behavior and Intentions
    • Brick-and-mortar and offline media still hold sway
    • International Travel on The Rise
  • The Destination Decision
    • Independent Destination Selection
    • Sources of Influence
    • Trusted Sources of Information
    • Advance Booking Window
    • Influence of Online Features

Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2013 is based on separate online surveys of U.S. and European consumers, the full results of which are published in Phocuswright's U.S. ConsumerTravel Report Fifth Edition (CTR 5) and European Consumer Travel Report Fourth Edition (ECTR 4). The methodology for each survey is detailed below.As the studies were fielded at different times, the time periods examined in the results are not exactly parallel. To simplify the terminology in this report, results from the two studies are referred to using "2013," even though they reflect consumer behavior over a period that spans 2012 and 2013.

Note that U.K. spend is expressed in euros in both charts and text.

Methodology for U.S. Survey and Traveler Population Projection

From January 25-29, 2013, Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey through Global Market Insite. The survey targeted the general U.S. adult population who has Internet access and travels for leisure.

To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to indicate they had taken at least one leisure trip at least 75 miles from home in the past 12 months. The trip had to include paid lodging and/or air travel. An additional screener required consumers to have played an active role in planning their leisure trips. Respondents who qualified are referred to as "U.S. travelers." The term "lodging" is used in this report to refer to the broad range of paid accommodations, including hotels, other nightly priced lodging products, timeshares and vacation rentals.

Phocuswright received 2,520 qualified responses, and the weighted respondent pool can be projected with confidence to the U.S. adult population with Internet access. A total of 4,839 respondents were surveyed to obtain baseline metrics about travelers and nontravelers within the general online population. The error interval for analysis of the U.S. traveler population is +/- 2% at a 95% confidence level. Significant differences noted in this report were identified at a 95% confidence level.

Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Pew Research Center, Phocuswright projects the number of U.S. adults with Internet access who took at least one leisure trip (as previously defined) to be 115 million in 2012. These travelers represent 50% of the total U.S. adult population. The additional requirement for respondents to have played an active role in travel planning further narrowed the focus of the study, as 18% of travelers were consequently disqualified. CTR 5 examines travelers who played an active role in planning their trips.

Methodology for European Survey and Traveler Population Projection

From April 12-17, 2013, Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey through Global Market Insite. The survey targeted the general French, German and U.K. populations who have Internet access and travel for leisure.

To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to indicate that they had taken at least one overnight leisure trip in the past 12 months. The trip had to include paid accommodations at least 100 kilometers from home, air travel and/or rail travel. An additional screener required consumers to have played an active role in planning their leisure trips. Respondents who qualified are referred to as travelers from their country of origin (e.g., "French travelers"). The term "lodging" is used in this report to refer to the broad range of paid accommodations, including hotels, other nightly priced lodging roducts, timeshares and vacation rentals.

Phocuswright received 3,061 qualified responses (France 1,028, Germany 1,036, U.K. 997) and the respondent pool can be projected with confidence to the adult population with Internet access. Travel incidence was calculated based on the responses of 6,194 adults. The error interval for analysis of the traveler population within each individual country is +/- 3.1% for France and Germany, and 3.2% for the U.K. at a 95% confidence level. Significant differences noted in this report were identified at a 95% confidence level.

Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base and Eurostat, Phocuswright projects the number of adults with Internet access who took at least one leisure trip (as previously defined) in 2013 to be 25 million in France, 30 million in the U.K., and 35 million in Germany. As ECTR focuses on travel planning, respondents were required to have played an active role in planning their trips, which disqualified 16% of the total traveler group. These consumers who traveled but did not plan their trips were counted in the traveler incidence calculation, but were not included in any subsequent analysis.

US $995 
CA $1,336 • £794 • €887
FREE for Open Access Subscribers
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