On this edition of Slingshot’s /Explore Podcast, we talk with Mike Gallinari, Leisure & Travel Analyst at Mintel, and the author of Mintel’s new 2019 Travel Planning Report. Mike shares the latest insights on today’s key traveler segments, how they plan for leisure travel, what they look for throughout the process, and the real role social media plays. We hope you’ll join the conversation.
On the key segments of vacation planners:
We identified four key segments that we call Relishing Revisitors, Extemporaneous Empty Nesters, Foraying Families, and Generational Globetrotters. With the Empty Nesters and Globetrotters, they tend to be older and have more time on their hands. The children are grown, and they don’t have that family travel mindset.
The Globetrotters are interested in going places around the world, more independently than the other older group. This group likes planning the trips themselves, whereas the Empty Nesters want a professional to take care of everything.
The Relishing Revisitors are more inclined to revisit destinations they’ve been to before… they have less of a “see the world” attitude.
The one most marketers want to know about is the Foraying Families, because this is where those young Millennial parents fall. They still have that Millennial mindset of wanting to see the world, only now they’re trying to figure out ways to bring their kids along.
On the even split between these four groups:
You’ve got one quarter of travelers out there that want to revisit destinations, and that’s a huge opportunity. But one group that many overlook is older generations. They’ve accumulated a lot of wealth, the kids are grown, and they have a lot to spend on travel. They have the means and the ability, so it’s a mistake to overlook them. This is especially true as we see more multi-generational and “skip” travel.
On the distinct nature of repeat visitors:
The key is they want the same place, but not the same experiences. So you have to lure them with new offerings. That’s how you get them back, by presenting a new and interesting experience every time.
On the travel planning process:
It’s important to remember that for many people, planning a trip is something they enjoy. It isn’t a burden. Instead of having tools that do everything for people, it’s important to have stuff that works. A booking engine that streamlines the process, for instance.
And brands need to be present on the ground as well. One of the big things we found is that travelers are willing to change their plans if a good deal pops up when they’re on vacation.
Travelers are inclined to maximize the time they have. So being able to give them options once they’re on the trip is important.
On the evolving role of social media:
It’s not as big of a factor in inspiration and planning as many of us want it to be. Of the people we surveyed, Facebook was a factor for only about 15%, Instagram only about 11%. But that skews by generation. And it plays an important role in bragging when on vacation. We find that a lot of people have trouble disconnecting from social media, even when they say they want to.
There has also been a lot of friction between (social media) influencers and suppliers about the value of it… and even among legitimate influencers, how much are we really moving the needle? That’s a question we have to ask.
On what makes a destination sharable:
There are destinations that do the work for you, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Everyone wants that picture. There are also plenty of things resorts can do to put people in places where they’ll share.
One clever way to do it is just figure out what people are already doing with your resort on social media. You can’t force it. If they’re doing it a certain way, work with that. If you force it, you lose the authenticity and make it less fun.
Don’t let go of the original tenet of the hospitality industry, which is do it really well. That’s the most important thing for getting repeat travelers. It’s easy to get caught up in influencers or new technology, but don’t forget to know what the guest wants and provide it to them.
Mintel is a global supplier of marketing intelligence, focusing on consumer insights, CPG brands, and marketing performance analysis. Check them out at www.mintel.com.