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