Online travel websites are now the most popular way for consumers to book accommodation and transport for their trips, new research shows.
Text100’s Digital Index: Travel & Tourism revealed key trends within the market that show how consumers are using the internet to research and book their holidays.
While travel websites are the biggest source for hotel and transport bookings, activities are more often than not booked when holidaymakers reach their destination.
But whether travellers are looking for inspiration for which destination to visit or trying to refine the small details of their holiday, recommendations from friends and family remain the top influencer, at 63 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.
Internet searches were found to be the second most important influencer, with 55 per cent of respondents saying it influences destination choice, and 54 per cent saying it helps them choose the finer details of their holiday.
With this in mind, it's vital travel companies encourage their customers to post content on both their website and review websites, and connect with them through social media.
The research found holidaymakers are more likely to post about positive experiences than negative experiences. Travellers were most likely to comment on the shopping at a destination, followed by the local cuisine, fine food, historical sites and outdoor activities.
So how can travel companies use these trends to influence their content marketing strategies?
User generated content is clearly vital for travel companies so they should encourage participation in discussions through informative and thought-provoking content which invites users to share their views.
While holidaymakers are unlikely to purchase tickets for holiday experiences until they get abroad, choice of activities and facilities is important in initially selecting a destination. Consider creating content around the top five things to do in a given destination, ask for comments and recommendations on your website and open the discussion up for people to contribute on social media.
Brands should make it easy for users to connect with them on social media and look beyond the obvious choices of Facebook and Twitter. A pin board on Pinterest which encourages people to share their favourite holiday snaps could be a great way to increase engagement with your brand.