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The Customer Journey in Travel - UK - May 2015

Domestic UK holidays have fallen 7% over the last five years and this is expected to descend further. Over the next five years, Mintel expects a continued rise in overseas holidays coupled with a dip in domestic trips. Outbound trips are forecast to rise by around 3% in 2015 and should continue to rise steadily.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Offering more multi-functional services for the customer journey
  • Smartphones show untapped potential for the customer journey
  • Bricks and mortar travel agents must reach out and embrace technology

The majority of travellers said their journey started on a laptop or desktop. Despite smartphones’ near ubiquity, they are not popular holiday research tools – not many said that a smartphone was their first port of call for researching, and just 1 in ten overall use one in the research process. 

With the continued use of search engines as the main port of call for travel research, search engine optimisation (SEO) is key for any business looking to generate traffic to their website. This will be crucial in building brand awareness among Millennials, especially for travel companies’ own websites and price comparison sites which are mostly favoured by the older generations.

Efforts still need to be made to make the booking process on mobile devices more streamlined as this opens up an opportunity to reach consumers on the go, as well as using their data to provide relevant targeted advertisements and offers. Just under half of consumers agree they would be willing to share information about their previous holiday/preferences with travel companies in exchange for personalised recommendations.

Just over half said they would be happy for a company to contact them to get feedback on their holiday experiences. Despite concerns about online security and privacy, a large proportion of consumers clearly understand the benefits of sharing their information with companies, indicating that this can be a transparent and co-operative process in which companies could give people a more active role.

This report will map the customer journey from the various starting points to the various finishing points in the holiday research and booking process. Its aim is to better understand how brands need to communicate with customers at different stages of their journey. It will analyse consumer behaviour and preferences in the holiday market and relate them to what is happening in the broader industry, with the aim of identifying where things are going next and where opportunities for growth lie.

It will cover key developments in the macroeconomic environment as well as technological innovations within the travel industry.

It will review the starting points and other research sources used by different types of holidaymakers, looking at sources used to book, websites and apps used and lead times in the process. It will also examine attitudes towards the research and booking process in an effort to understand customer preferences and identify opportunities.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Scope of the report
      • Executive Summary

        • Domestic holidays in decline but outbound on the up
          • Figure 1: Forecast domestic holiday market volume, 2009-19
          • Figure 2: Forecast overseas holiday market volume, 2009-19
        • Short European breaks surprisingly not so popular
          • Figure 3: Holidays taken in the last 12 months, March 2015
        • PC, tablet and word of mouth key research touch points
          • Figure 4: Starting point for research, March 2015
          • Figure 5: Number of research sources used in general and online, March 2015
        • Desktop/laptop booking dominates
          • Figure 6: How last holiday was booked, March 2015
        • Tablets to play a greater role in the customer journey
          • Direct bookings with accommodation providers going strong
            • Figure 7: Websites/apps used to book last holiday, March 2015
          • Customers keen on video content and open to sharing
            • Figure 8: Consumer attitudes towards research and booking, 2015
        • Issues and Insights

          • Offering more multi-functional services for the customer journey
            • The facts
              • The implications
                • Smartphones show untapped potential for the customer journey
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Bricks and mortar travel agents must reach out and embrace technology
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Domestic fall, outbound rebound
                              • Consumer confidence grows as oil prices fall
                                • Strong Pound boosts eurozone appeal
                                  • Technological developments empower consumers
                                    • Changing role of bricks-and-mortar stores
                                    • Market Background

                                      • Outbound rebound expected in 2015…
                                        • Figure 9: Estimated total holiday market volume and value, 2009-19
                                        • Figure 10: Estimated overseas holiday market volume and value, 2009-19
                                        • Figure 11: Estimated domestic holiday market volume and value, 2009-19
                                      • …driven by rising consumer confidence and lower oil prices
                                        • Stronger Pound increases eurozone appeal
                                          • Figure 12: Pound versus euro, April 2008-April 2015
                                        • Technological developments
                                          • Disruptive influences
                                            • Concept stores
                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                              • Starting point – Digital devices dominate…
                                                • …but smartphones not yet established as a research tool
                                                  • Search engines still dominate the research process
                                                    • Social media plays a minor role but has potential
                                                      • Booking point – Traditional computers still lead
                                                        • Research starting point to booking point
                                                          • Tablets to take a central role
                                                            • Travel agents still appeal to the youth market
                                                              • Under-35s use OTAs; over-50s book direct
                                                                • Positive attitudes towards data sharing…
                                                                  • …particularly among Millennials
                                                                  • Holidaymaker Profiles

                                                                    • Holidaymakers’ finances
                                                                      • Figure 13: Financial situation of general population compared to those who went on holiday in the last year, March 2015
                                                                    • Where people have been in the last year
                                                                      • Figure 14: Holidays taken in the last 12 months, March 2015
                                                                    • Holiday type – Package or independent?
                                                                      • Figure 15: Holiday type booked, March 2015
                                                                      • Figure 16: Holiday type booked, by last holiday taken, March 2015
                                                                      • Figure 17: Destination or budget as the influencing factor? March 2015
                                                                  • Research Sources

                                                                      • Figure 18: Research sources, March 2015
                                                                      • Figure 19: Holiday type booked, by research sources, March 2015
                                                                      • Figure 20: Number of research sources used in general and online, March 2015
                                                                    • High street travel agents suffering
                                                                      • Innovation and immersion
                                                                      • Starting Point for Research

                                                                          • Figure 21: Starting point for research, March 2015
                                                                        • Digital device ownership
                                                                          • Figure 22: Digital device ownership, March 2015
                                                                        • Why the role of smartphones is important
                                                                        • Online Research Behaviour

                                                                            • Figure 23: Online research sources, March 2015
                                                                          • Social media’s role
                                                                            • Programmatic advertising
                                                                              • Programmatic advertising on social media
                                                                                • Fincallorca
                                                                                  • Thomas Cook
                                                                                    • Etihad Airways
                                                                                      • Brand awareness
                                                                                      • How They Finally Book

                                                                                          • Figure 24: How last holiday was booked, March 2015
                                                                                        • Research starting point to booking point
                                                                                          • Figure 25: Starting point for research, by how last holiday was booked, March 2015
                                                                                        • Young parents key smartphone targets
                                                                                          • Agents appeal to under-35 package bookers
                                                                                            • The path of least resistance
                                                                                            • Booking Lead Times

                                                                                                • Figure 26: Booking lead times, March 2015
                                                                                            • Websites and Apps Used

                                                                                                • Figure 27: Websites/apps used to book last holiday, March 2015
                                                                                            • Attitudes towards Research and Booking

                                                                                                • Figure 28: Consumer attitudes towards research and booking, March 2015
                                                                                            • CHAID analysis – The Customer Journey In Travel – May 2015

                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                • A need to improve smartphone usage
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Attitudes towards research and booking holidays – CHAID – Tree output, May 2015
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Attitudes towards research and booking holidays – CHAID – Table output, May 2015
                                                                                              • Appendix

                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                    • Definitions

                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                    To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                    The Customer Journey in Travel - UK - May 2015

                                                                                                    £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)