Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2014

Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2014 Published February 2015 Analyst: Charuta Fadnis

 

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Myriad devices, channels and sites influence travelers during trip planning. As online influences hold more and more sway over leisure travelers, and user-generated reviews surge in importance, destination marketers are challenged to make a significant shift to online – and create a trusted brand that easily sticks with the traveler during the selection process.

Phocuswright's Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2014 delves into the leisure travel destination selection process and provides insight into key motivating factors, preferences regarding offline and online information sources, and websites and apps used by travelers in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K.

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 2014 for insight into market differences and how to influence the destination selection process.

  • Overview, Methodology and Research Highlights
    • Overview
    • Methodology
    • Research Highlights
  • General Travel Behavior and Intentions
    • Lodging and Transportation Incidence
    • International Travel
    • Intentions for Traveling Distance
  • The Destination Decision
    • Independent Destination Selection
    • Motivations and Sources of Influence
    • Sources of Information
    • Influence of Online Features
    • Advance Booking Windows

Destination Unknown: How U.S. and European Travelers Decide Where to Go 2014 is based on separate online surveys of U.S. and European consumers, the full results of which are published in Phocuswright's U.S. Consumer Travel Report Sixth Edition (CTR 6) and European Consumer Travel Report Fifth Edition (ECTR 5). The methodology for each survey is detailed in this section. 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 "2014," even though they reflect consumer behavior over a period that spans 2013 and 2014.

Methodology for U.S. Survey and Traveler Population Projection

Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey from February 28-March 6, 2014 through Global Market Insite. The survey targeted the general population of U.S. adults who have Internet access and travel 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 that included 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" refers to the broad range of paid accommodations, including hotels, other nightly priced lodging products, timeshares and vacation rentals.

Phocuswright received 1,850 qualified responses, and the weighted respondent pool can be projected with confidence to the U.S. adult population with Internet access. A total of 4,138 respondents were surveyed to obtain baseline metrics about travelers and non-travelers within the general online population. The error interval for analysis of the U.S. traveler population is ±2.3% at a 95% confidence level.

Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Pew Research Center, Phocuswright projects the number of U.S. adults with Internet access who took at least one leisure trip in 2014 (as previously defined) to be 127 million. These travelers represent 54% of the total U.S. adult population. The additional requirement regarding an active role in travel planning further narrowed the study's focus, disqualifying 19% of travelers.

Methodology for European Survey and Traveler Population Projection

From June 26-July 2, 2014, Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey through Global Market Insite. This survey targeted the general French, German and U.K. populations of adults who have Internet access and travel for leisure.

To qualify for 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" refers to the broad range of paid accommodations, including hotels, other nightly priced lodging products, time shares and vacation rentals.

Phocuswright received 3,461 qualified responses (France: 1,084, Germany: 1,323, and the U.K.:1,054) 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 6,494 adults. The error interval for analysis of the traveler population within each individual country is ±3% at a 95% confidence level.

Based on data from Eurostat, Phocuswright projects the number of adults with Internet access who took at least one leisure trip in 2014 (as previously defined) to be 23 million in France, 36 million in Germany and 29 million in the U.K. Because ECTR focuses on travel planning, respondents were required to have played an active part in planning their trips, which disqualified 21% of travelers. Consumers who traveled but did not plan their trips were counted in the traveler incidence calculation, but were not included in any subsequent analysis.

Note that U.K. consumer spend figures are expressed in euros in both charts and text for comparative purposes.

US $995 
CA $1,258 • £700 • €803
FREE for Open Access, Global and European Subscribers
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