Now that the holidays are behind us, consumers are giving thoughts to how they might escape their current locale to either a warmer (or colder) climate.

Last month, we surveyed 250+ online adults about their intentions for winter travel, where they go to research their trips and what channels influence their decisions.

More than one-third (37.5%) of respondents plan to vacation this winter and travel more than 100 miles from home, 20% were undecided and the remainder had no travel plans.  When it comes to research, 62% of women have already begun their research vs. just shy of 50% for men. Men aged 18-34 years are the true laggards with only one-third (35.8%) having started their travel planning.

With so many vacation decisions to be made, hospitality brands should pay close attention to the trends and findings below to help adjust their advertising spend and maximize ROI.

Mobile research

When it comes to research and purchasing travel, device still matters and you’ll need to take this into consideration in your ad placement and content marketing strategies.

Laptops are still the major device used to plan a vacation; with 53% of respondents saying they use them exclusively when conducting travel research.  Forty-three percent use mobile devices in their travel planning and twenty-seven percent of respondents would be considered multiplatform travel planners (using a mix of mobile and desktop to plan travel). Only one-in-six (16%) are exclusively mobile.  Among 18-34 year olds and 35-54 year olds, nearly one half (48.4% and 46.6%, respectively) use a mobile device in their travel shopping experience.  Even among older segment (55+ years) – a significant percentage (35.2%) use a mobile device while travel shopping – although this number skews more to tablets vs. smartphones.

In regards to gender differences, women are more likely than men to visit a destination’s official website (60.8% vs 33.2%) watch a video review of a destination (52.4% vs 33.2%), and visit a destination’s official social media platform(s) (52.5% vs. 26%).

Here’s a snapshot of what consumers are doing on their mobile devices: 

The power of video

This winter, nearly half of all respondents are seeking out videos on their mobile devices as part of the vacation planning and 45.3% cite that they are influential. The number is even greater for viewing on desktops and laptops. With this information, it’s clear that brands should take note and leverage video content and ad unit placements strategically.

Tipping the scales

As you can see from the chart above, consumers are most greatly influenced by their family and friends – whether through online or offline channels. As stated earlier, video is a growing influencer and brands should take note on ways they can capitalize on this channel using various types of video ad units.

With travellers being influenced by both social networks and bloggers at almost 40% (each) – an influencer advertising campaign should be a consideration.  These types of campaigns can have long legs and create a nice “snowball” effect where the current traveller becomes tomorrow’s influencer.

One more thing…

Finally, 31% of respondents stated that they use mobile more on vacation than at home. That means that whether they have planned ahead or are more “impromptu,” you can take advantage of last minute opportunities to grab their attention “on the go” while their barrier of resistance is likely to be lower.

If you’d like to speak to us in greater detail about this study or the implications and opportunities for advertisers, please contact us and we will get back to you shortly!