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The Trend - May 2011

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If you have any questions or comments regarding The Trend, please contact Paula Stephenson at 800.682.8886 or +1.859.264.6549.

In this issue:


Mobile Formatting a Necessity for Success
Mobile formatting has been around for a while yet many companies in the travel industry haven't reformatted their Web sites to mobile-phone technology. Need motivation? A recent Google survey found that 82 percent of users noticed mobile ads. The same survey revealed that half of those seeing mobile ads took some form of action. Mobile ads are here to stay. They are getting more creative with each advertisement, adding graphics, animation, celebrity spokespersons and growing more tech-savvy with each generation of ad.

According to Norm Rose, travel technology guru, "A consistent pattern has developed. A new technology emerges; consumer behavior changes and the travel industry tries to catch up." As the needs of the traveler continues to change and progress, so must the technology.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says consumers' adoption of the company's mobile services has happened more quickly than executives expected and that this year's search spike during the Super Bowl, when GoDaddy.com advertised, was evidence: The search on computers surged 38 times higher than normal but the search on mobiles spiked higher—315 times the normal volume.

And, with travelers relying on their phones for both planning a vacation or for last-minute tours, flights or accommodations, mobile formatting is clearly a necessity for success.

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5 Trends in Faith-based Tourism
Did you know that  40 percent of NTA's 700 tour operators are involved in some form of faith-based tourism? There is much diversity in this percentage. Some NTA tour operators exclusively devote themselves to the religious market, others partially, while some seek to expand their presence.

Faith-based tourism is one of the oldest forms of travel. Despite its centuries-old history, however, religious travel has undergone possibly its greatest transformation in just the past 10 to 15 years. The following are five key trends every travel professional and tourism organization should know about faith-based tourism and hospitality:

  1. All ages are getting involved. Approximately one-third of each age group (18-34, 35-54 and 55+) express interest in faith-based vacations.
     
  2. More people are traveling together in groups than ever before. Some 75 percent of people embark on a faith-based trip with their community or organization.
     
  3. Diversity in the trips chosen by people of faith has increased. Pilgrimages remain a top choice, as do conferences, cruises, missionary travel, volunteer vacations, leisure vacations, short getaways, adventure trips, retreats and more.
     
  4. A greater number of people are repeating their faith-based travel experiences. Roughly 80 percent of individuals who participate in faith-based trips embark on another one in the future.
     
  5. A growing variety of industry segments are becoming involved in the religious travel and hospitality marketplace. Among these include tour operators, suppliers, accommodations, destinations and travel agents.

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Hispanics Want More Ads and Web sites
According to a Newlink Research survey, most U.S. Hispanics believe that, as a group, they have a high degree of importance to U.S. brands as consumers. In fact, 59 percent feel they're very important and 34 percent say they're important. Another 46 percent believe that U.S. companies show Hispanics a high level of respect.

When it comes to hiring and other business practices, U.S. Hispanics are less optimistic. They'd like to see companies become more involved in social, political and economic issues of concern to Hispanic communities, and they want companies to hire more Hispanics particularly in managerial and executive-level positions. Nearly two thirds (67 percent) say they'd be more inclined to buy products and services from companies that demonstrated real commitment to the U.S. Hispanic community.

They also would like to see more U.S. companies provide Spanish-language versions of their Web sites and create ads in Spanish as well as English. How important is this? Ninety-one percent consider having a Spanish-language Web site as very important with another 62 percent rating it as important. This is even important among English-dominant Hispanics. The report found that 40 percent of English-dominant Hispanics use some Spanish-language Internet on a daily basis, according to Nielson data. Similarly, one in three English-dominant Hispanics spend an hour or more per day watching Spanish-language television. The same is true in reverse,as Spanish-dominant Hispanics spend about the same time watching English-language television.

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Generations in Travel
With today's opportunities in travel spanning the generations, statistics reveal that Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980) are the most well traveled and represent 31 percent of all U.S. leisure travelers and 36 percent of business travel. Gen Xers will take an average of 3.5 leisure trips and 6.9 business trips per year. 

Although the Gen Xers lead the pack, the Young Boomers (those born from 1955 through 1964) travel almost as frequently—21 percent for leisure and 22 percent of business travel.

Older Boomers (those born from 1946 through 1954) represent 15 percent of all U.S. leisure travelers and take 4.4 leisure trips each year.

Mature travelers (those born before 1946) represent 21 percent of all leisure travelers, and those who travel in this group take an average of 4.1 leisure trips each year.

The Gen Y (those born after 1980) population makes up 12 percent of all U.S. Leisure travelers, and those traveling in this group take an average of 3.9 leisure trips per year. Gen Yers also represent 13 percent of all business travelers and take an average of 4.2 business trips per year.

 

may 2011 trend leisure graph
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Brazil and South Korea Lead Increase in U.S. In-Bound Travel
A recent report from the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries of the top 10 markets reveals Brazil and South Korea as 2010's fastest-growing inbound tourism markets.

Brazil has been continuously increasing U.S. inbound visitation with a 34 percent growth in 2010—an astounding 1.20 million visitors. Ranked at No. 7 in the top 10 countries for U.S. inbound travel, Brazil is the strongest growth since 1986 and is a strong contender to continue up the ranks of the top 10 list.

South Korea posted the highest percentage increase in visitors among the top 10 origin countries, breaking the previous record of 806,000 visitors in 2007. The increase follows a 2 percent decline in 2009 and after inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program in late 2008, the country moved up one position in the rankings to No. 8 of the top 10 markets. South Korea's 49 percent increase equaled 1.11 million visitors to the U.S.—1.9 percent of the 2010 visitor volume.

Other increases include Australia, ranking No. 9 in the top 10 list, increasing its inbound visitation to the U.S. by 25 percent to 904,000, and No. 1-ranked Canada, up 11 percent to 19.96 million visitors—an increase of 2 million visitors and accounting for 33.4 percent of the market share of visitor volume, its largest since 1995.

 

May 2011 trend market share graph

 

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Two big Factoids:

  1. Americans Plan to save, not spend tax refunds. Two thirds of Americans (66 percent) expect to receive income tax refunds this year, according to BIGresearch. Adults ages 25-34 (81 percent) and 18-24 (75 percent) are most likely to be expecting refunds, while those ages 65 and older are least likely (46 percent).

    Of those who anticipate getting refunds, 42 percent will put the money into savings, and an equal number will use it to pay off debts. Three in 10 will use it for everyday expenses, while 13 percent plan to make major purchases and 12 percent plan to take vacations.
     
  2. According to Travel Market Report, for cruise sales, travel agents are undisputed champs. And, although consumers most likely are to book online for other travel needs, traditional travel agents were the consumer's preferred channel when booking a cruise.
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