Recent Poll Indicates Consumers To Spend Less and Look More Online For Deals

| July 14, 2008

A recent poll conducted by Prospectiv, a customer acquisition and email marketing solutions provider, asked consumers about how they prefer to conduct their travel planning and research. Prospectiv also polled consumers about rising prices and whether or not current economic conditions are influencing their travel plans this summer. Prospectiv's Consumer Preference Index (CPI) poll findings indicate the following:

• 79 percent say rising prices (fuel, food, lodging, consumer goods) will affect travel planning decisions
• 72 percent are seeking relief through online resources and say they use the Internet as their primary resource for researching travel information and special offers, followed by family and friends as a second resource (17 percent) and only 4 percent relying on travel agencies/agents

Regarding their preferences for receiving travel promotions information, Prospectiv's poll revealed the following:

• 60 percent polled prefer to learn about travel offers through online resources they select or sign up for, including enewsletters, electronic vouchers/coupons and promotional web sites,

• 38 percent expressed a preference for postal mail and 2 percent chose the telephone

What are the top promotions consumers are seeking this summer travel season?

• 48 percent polled prefer a rebate on gas expenses
 
• 31 percent chose discount offers for hotels/resorts/lodging and extended stays

• 14 percent would like discount offers to preferred restaurants, stores and/or attractions

• Bonus air miles and discounted car rental tied at 4 percent respectively

"Most consumers today prefer the convenience of online resources for travel information and offers, even more so when prices are rising across the board and everyone's looking for that special deal," says Jere Doyle, president and CEO of Prospectiv. "Marketers who step up their online lead generation and direct marketing initiatives during tough economic times have the opportunity to acquire new customers who will appreciate offers and promotions through the recession and for the recovery when they're ready to spend more."

Tough Economic Times Impact Consumer Travel Spending and Planning

While consumers go online for special offers and promotions to offset rising costs, many say they're also tightening their travel budgets when asked about spending this summer travel season compared to last year.

• 64 percent polled expect to spend less on travel this year compared to last year

• 19 percent will spend the same

• 17 percent will spend more

Consumers reported the following as their top price increase concerns when making summer travel plans this year:

• Fuel (impacting gasoline/airfare prices) - 84 percent

• Lodging (hotel, resort, rental property) - 8 percent

• Food - 7 percent

• Consumer goods (sports equipment/clothing, summer wear) - 2 percent

Asked how rising prices (fuel, food, lodging, consumer goods) will affect their decisions regarding summer travel/vacation plans, consumers reported the following:

• 38 percent will take a 'staycation' this year - stay at home and take day trips

• 25 percent plan to vacation closer to home to save money due to rising gasoline/airfare costs

• 14 percent expect to take shorter vacation/vacations to save on lodging/dining out/food costs

• 10 percent will stay with friends/family

• 7 percent polled are planning to eat in more versus dining out while on vacation

• 6 percent don't expect rising costs to impact their vacation at all this year

Travel Marketers Take Note of Green Messaging

With rising fuel prices and related concerns top of mind among consumers this summer travel season, Prospectiv asked poll participants for their views on travel/hospitality company 'green policies' to find out if these messages influence consumers when making vacation/travel plans.

Poll findings revealed no direct impact on consumer purchasing decisions, but green messaging can create a favorable brand impression.

• 41 percent polled said clearly stated 'green policies' (i.e. fuel/energy conservation, recycling) gives them a favorable impression when choosing a travel/hospitality company, but has no direct impact on their purchasing decisions

• 37 percent said it has no influence at all

• 23 percent reported that clearly stated green polices are very important when making travel/vacation plans

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