Affluent Americans Feeling Positive on Personal Economy
There are encouraging signs indicating that agents’ high-earning clients are inclined to spring for travel this year. That’s according to a new study of 1,000 Americans in households with $100,000 or more in annual income. Conducted online in March by Engage:Affluent, the survey found that 53% expect to be better off personally a year from now than currently. If the economy continues to show improvement, 34% said they will increase their spending.
Millennials Are More Upbeat on Economy Than Boomers
Consumer confidence appears to be growing among members of Generation Y as well, according to a report from Packaged Facts called Millennials in the U.S. There is much diversity among Millennials, ages 18 to 29, but there also are many generational ties and preferences that bind them and differentiate them from older consumers. Despite high unemployment rates, Millennials tend to be more optimistic than their elders about their personal economic futures and that of the country as a whole. The survey found that 43% of 25- to 29-year-olds think they will be better off financially in the next 12 months – twice the rate of consumers aged 45 or older.
Want to Reach Those Young Optimists? Here’s a Tip
How can travel agents tap into the optimistic Millennial market segment? Social media and mobile marketing are the tools of choice, according to the Packaged Facts survey. Still, face-to-face techniques such as event marketing have their place, the report said.
Mobile Travel Booking Outpaces Online Growth
While online travel spending is expected to reach $120 billion this year, representing 11% growth over 2011, its growth rate is slow compared to that of travel bookings made via mobile devices, according to eMarketer. The market research firm estimates that 16 million Americans will book travel via mobile this year, up 33% from about 12 million in 2011. By 2016, the number of mobile users booking travel on their devices is expected to more than double to 36.7 million. Significantly more mobile users will research, but not necessarily purchase, travel during the forecast period: 37.8 million this year, rising to 73.3 million in 2016.
Longer-Term Booking Trend Shows Traveler Confidence
“People are planning off into the future, which to me is a really good thing. What they’re really saying is, ‘I think things are going to be significantly better at the end of next year, so I’m willing to commit these dollars and book something 12 to14 months in advance.’ To me, that’s a great sign.” – David Walsh, independent affiliate, Avoya Travel / American Express
Are You Taking a Free Ride on ASTA?
At the launch of ASTA’s May membership drive, CEO Tony Gonchar offered a parallel between ASTA and National Public Radio (NPR). “The entire public domain benefits from being able to tune into NPR, but not everybody pays for the privilege. NPR has an audience of listeners who free ride on all of the great work that’s being done.” The same thing is happening with ASTA, he said. He noted that while NPR also gets government and private sector grants and funding, ASTA is solely dependent on membership dues. Currently, the dues being paid into ASTA are not enough to support the association and its efforts, he said.
A Little Thing Called Staying in Touch
“The difference between a great travel agency experience or an average one is that little thing called staying in touch with your customers – calling them after the trip: ‘How was your trip? Was it everything you expected? How can I help you start thinking about your next trip?’ It's those kinds of things that make people feel really good.” – Dwain Wall, senior vice president and general manager, CruiseOne
Priceline: iPhone, iPad Users Have Ritzier Hotel Preferences
Which mobile technology users are most likely to book upscale hotels from their smartphones or tablets? According to Priceline.com’s recent survey of Android, iPhone and iPad users who are booking hotels and rental cars through its Hotel Negotiator app, iPad users choose three-star or higher hotels 69% of the time, iPhone users choose them 63% of the time and Android users just 54%. When the Hotel Negotiator app was introduced for the iPhone in 2009, mobile customers were booking hotels in the three-star and above level 82% of the time. The change “is another indication that the mobile marketplace for travel services is broadening, as the popularity of mobile devices grows,” said John Cain, Priceline’s chief product officer.