Research Insights Travel activities planning and booking go digital

Travel activities planning and booking go digital

June 2020
Phocuswright Research

Travel activities - the collection of tours, activities and attractions that destinations offer - are at the core of what turns a trip into an experience. Some travelers seek relaxation, some are chasing adventure. Some set out to lay eyes on the iconic sites that define a destination, while others dream of connecting through intimate experiences. Global cities entice thrill-seekers with promises of excitement and energy, while nature offers solitude and stillness.

And though COVID-19 has greatly curtailed most trips and travel activities, when travel opportunities safely return, travelers will be hungrier than ever for experiences according to the latest Phocuswright travel research report Travel Activities: Planning and Booking Go Digital. Whatever it is that motivates travelers to set off on a journey, there are more than enough travel activities for each to choose from to custom craft each trip into a unique travel experience.

This range of options is a blessing and maybe sometimes a curse, as travelers can sometimes be inundated with choices when determining how to fill their time during their trips. Prior to COVID-19 travel restrictions, at least one in three travelers from each market surveyed booked a tour, activity or attraction over a 12-month period, reaching as high as 60% of travelers from Indonesia and 74% from China (see figure below). This doesn't account for those who participated in free activities, which would cover an even greater share of travelers. Even though some travelers and industry people have turned their noses up at the pitfalls of mass tourism, more travelers from nearly all markets booked an attraction (which are usually well known, large-scale establishments) than a tour or activity. Both landmark attractions and smaller tours and activities appeal to travelers and have a rightful place in the segment. 

Purchased Travel Activities in Last 12 Months, by Activity Type
(Click image to view a larger version.)


More activity providers have gotten onboard with the digital times in recent years. In addition, online aggregators have taken an interest in capitalizing on the opportunity, allowing the segment shift from offline to online to accelerate. This has changed how travelers engage with activities throughout the trip life cycle.

Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey targeting travelers in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., Japan, Indonesia and China. The survey was designed to reveal consumers' use of various technologies for travel and their perceptions of emerging tech. To read the entire analysis, download the report here.

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