Trips are one of the best reasons we work every day. And I’m not saying that just because I truly believe it, but also because I’ve heard it from so many people around me. Somehow, we never get over that adolescent stage when we need a generous motivation each semester in order to “focus” better on the tasks.
We now go through difficult political and social times around the globe. Still, both us, as individuals, and the travel industry need to reposition and think brighter. Enough with this, let’s come back to our lifestyle story, together with two interesting guests from this industry.
I believe more and more in the complex systems of information filtering one builds around its searches, on and offline. We want to find that thing now and fast. But when we’re talking about vacations, where is the research happening and how do we weigh the options? You’ll also find out, in the second part of the article, which are the top spots worldwide and which city received almost 19 million visitors last year.
Google recently implemented Google Destinations, a basic service in this stage, which allows the users in the search for vacations to easily go through pieces of information regarding flights, hotels, popular itineraries and points of interest. You only need to type terms such as „Asia destinations” or „Croatia travel”. It’s the first time the company launched a feature for mobile first, without previously having a desktop version. On this matter, the Romanian financial paper „Ziarul Financiar” quoted last week Google’s local country manager, Mr. Dan Bulucea, who said that one third of the Romanian search engine users used their phone to discover data related to tourism, a double percentage compared to 2014. „The increase in every country is remarkable, almost double”, the official added.
WhereFor is a brand new project which aims to offer affordable trip plans including flight and accommodation, depending on your budget. Pick the amount you want to spend and choose the departure city. Your potential dream vacation is now pinpointed on a global map so you can see which destination is a winner. More about this with Ryan Wenger, CEO of WhereFor.com
PS: What was your insight on this project?
PS: Do you feel people started to travel for the love of travelling and are more open to exploring instead of checking a list of classic destinations?
RW: Yes. Americans used to only visit cities like Rome and Venice, and now you can find (and always hear) them filling the cafes of harder to reach places like Cinque Terre. I think social networks like Facebook and Instagram provoke inspiration and FOMO.
PS: From your statistics up to this point, what’s the average amount people put into the search box?
PS: What thrills the users most: that they can choose budget wise and it’s faster to see cheap offers or that they discover destinations they haven’t thought of, on a budget?
RW: Both. WhereFor challenges people’s assumptions of where they can afford to visit. Once you realize you can afford to visit Moscow, I think it’s hard to go back to booking the same mundane trip you took last year.
PS: For taking the vacation they deserve, as you state on the website, users can opt for financing. Is your mission to make vacation affordable for everyone?
RW: Yes. Travel changes people, and it should not be reserved for people with a sizable savings account. We want to make financing easy by not charging any interest rate or fees.
It’s crystal clear that the adventures of our friends and of those we follow on social media play a great role in what we start to need for ourselves in terms of travelling. The rich, cultural European Capitals are still among the first options for all and that’s because they are a continuous source of beauty and inspiration. The MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index shows that London had in 2015 the biggest number of overnight stays, 18.8 million tourists to be more precise, with Bangkok not far behind. Still, a Conde Nast Traveler study mentions Florence as a first pick, considering the overall experience.
„The classic destinations will always be on everyone’s list. Rome, Milan, London, Paris Bruxelles, Madrid, Wien, München are go-to places for all who love to travel. They are a sort of a must in order to gain powerful experiences and great knowledge about civilizations and, why not, about yourself. Also, there are those who choose exotic destinations once a year, like a reward for their hard work. And here I definitely need to mention Asia – Thailand, Indonezia, Cambodgia, China, Seychelles.” Mirela Petre, Communication Specialist at esky.ro, tells me.
PS: What is the trend in plane tickets and accommodation search?
Mirela Petre: There are a lot of them, all depending on the type of journey one dreams of. For example, many of us use the smart phone to plan a trip – whether we search for a city, a ticket reservation or car rental. And that’s obvious from the great success our mobisite and app have. Customization is everything now! For some travelers costs matter the most, especially when they need to choose between two or three options. That’s the case of the European city breaks. There are others who are focused on a dreamy destination and they save (some money) to get where they want; most frequently in Asia, Africa or America. Last but not least, we noticed that more and more travelers choose to discover a few destinations a year so they organize short trips, plus a longer vacation.
PS: From your statistics, which is the medium amount per person that the users are willing to spend on a vacation?
MP: It really depends on the type of the trip. Just to mention an average: the clients pay around 150 € for a ticket to a European destination and 1000 € for the transcontinental ones, as for hotel stays, people spend 265 € for short trips and about 770 € for the longer vacations.
PS: How important is the content that you make about destinations? Where do customers do the research in general?
MP: It matters a lot, of course. We know that because we constantly receive feedback from clients, via email or private messages on social media. Look, for example, Instagram and Facebook are responsible for creating the “want”. We see an amazing picture from a place we haven’t heard of and we read the comments. Later, in a month or two, when it’s time for planning, we remember that photo and we search for details: how to get there, points of interest etc. Then, customers see our blog and learn more about other people’s experiences in all sorts of cities. More, when there are dilemmas about specific documents they can go to the Travel’s Guide, an encyclopedia that answers all of the questions.
PS: Plane tickets got more and more affordable. What destinations less explored do you recommend and which ones do you think that have a wow growth potential?
MP: We market the best parts of each and everyone’s life so we really must be aware of what will make everyone happy. Travelling now has become less expensive and that leaves us room for recommendations and new ideas. Considering also the international trends, I would say that Dublin (and the surroundings) is perfect for city breaks if you love walking around the old streets. Portugal, the country with the most trophies won at the World Travel Awards this year, will become very popular. It’s a favorite for those who like natural landscapes, quiet beaches and a longtime history to discover. For the adventurers there are fascinating places in Asia: Myanmar, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and Sri Lanka. These are countries where there were massive investments in tourism and services lately, so this is a good reason to put them on the list, but also because the continent offers warm weather and greetings at every step, an impressive flora and an inspirational culture.
The fact that we are becoming more addicted to our mobile phones doesn’t come as a surprise. The apps that encourage experience sharing are just a starter for indulgence ideas and a support for the courage to experience with the heart (and camera) open.