Trend Watch: September 13, 2010

Travelers Get Smartphone Savvy

Nearly one in five (19 percent) travelers have downloaded a travel-related app to their smartphone, says the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2010 Portrait of American Travelers. Among that group, nearly half have navigated a destination using built-in GPS functionality (47 percent) or searched for the latest information on flight schedules (46 percent). Three in 10 have compared airfares or hotel rates (29 percent) or shared information or photos about their travel experiences (28 percent) using their smartphone. Around one in six has booked air travel or lodging (18 percent) or viewed a virtual visitor guide that provides information on things to do and see while visiting a destination (15 percent). The report notes that three out of 10 cell phones in use in the U.S. have Internet connectivity.

Agents Still In Demand: Survey

Most Americans surveyed (70 percent) say they would consider using a travel agent to plan important trips and special vacations, and 45 percent for an unfamiliar or exotic destination, while a similar proportion (40 percent) for a longer or more complicated itinerary (i.e.. multiple destinations). In the survey done by Mondial Assistance USA, parent company of travel insurance brand Access America, just three in 10 (29 percent) say they would not consider using a travel agent when planning a trip. Almost two in 10 (17 percent) say that using a travel agent for planning travel is more crucial than in the past, and another 8 percent say it was as crucial then as it is now.

Fall Sees Travel Rise

Fall is no longer the off-season, according to a recent TripAdvisor survey that found 86 percent of respondents are planning leisure trips this season compared to 73 percent who took trips last fall; 42 percent plan to take their biggest trip of the year this fall. Other highlights:

• 54 percent of respondents are planning an urban getaway, making city trips travelers’ top choice for fall
• 36 percent expect to take one trip this fall, while 41 percent are planning two getaways
• 45 percent plan to spend more on travel this fall than the same time last year

Trust Offline or Online Deals?

Most American consumers in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic prefer to learn about promotions and offers via postal mail and newspapers rather than online sources such as social media platforms, says a national survey by ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting.

Travel, however, was the exception—18- to 34-year-old consumers preferred online to offline information 42 percent to 35 percent. Overall, 25 percent of U.S. respondents this year said much of the online information can’t be trusted, up from 19 percent in 2008; 20 percent said they trust information received by mail more than online, up from 12 percent in 2008.

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