Australian travellers expect to spend more in 2013

TripAdvisor has announced the results of the world’s largest accommodation and traveler survey – the TripBarometer by TripAdvisor.

This study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm StrategyOne (a division of Edelman Berland), will be biannual and reports on top travel and hospitality industry trends, according to more than 35,000 travellers and accommodation around the world.  

The results of the TripBarometer highlight country level, regional and global trends within the travel sector and reveal insights into economic outlook, travel planning, booking methods and traveller expectations. The report shows that Australian properties are moderately optimistic about their business prospects in 2013, while 44% of Australian travellers plan to increase their travel spend this year.

Percentage of respondents optimistic
about business profitability in 2013
North America82%
South America77%
Middle East71%

Australian accommodation is able to look back at last year with satisfaction: 80% of the over 700 properties surveyed for the TripBarometer reported that 2012 was economically successful for them. In fact, 19% of Australian accommodation owners went so far as to describe 2012 as “very profitable”.

A majority (68%) of Australian accommodation are optimistic about their probability this year, which is in line with the global average of 68%. In spite of the positive economic outlook, the optimism does not seem to be reflected in the Australian hospitality industry’s hiring plan for this year. Only 10% of Australian accommodation plan to add new jobs in the next six months.

Accommodation in Australasia amongst Least Optimistic About Profitability in 2013 (ranked in order of optimism).

Accommodation owners from Australasia polled in the TripBarometer are amongst the least optimistic in the world.

Percentage of respondents who
plan to increase room rates
South America48%
North America43%
Middle East39%

Looking at hiring trends within the global accommodation industry, 19 per cent of respondents are planning to add new jobs in 2013. Region-ally, accommodation in Asia will offer the most opportunity for job seekers with 32 per cent of respondents stating they will be hiring, whereas just eight per cent of accommodation in Australasia plan to add new jobs this year.

Australasian accommodation is amongst the least likely to increase their room rates in 2013, with 36 per cent of accommodation providers planning to increase rates this year. However, in Australia, 46 per cent of properties are planning to increase room rates in the coming months. Furthermore, Australian accommodation are offering a host of incentives to attract guests, including free Wi-Fi connection (50 %), followed by special offers (47 %) and discounts on rooms (40 %).

Global Travellers’ Plans to Increase Travel Spend Present Opportunity for Accommodation

Travellers from Africa are showing the biggest increase in their planned travel spend for 2013, with 76 per cent of respondents saying they es-timate that their travel budget will increase this year. Travellers from the Middle East (75%) and South America (58%) also plan to spend notably more on travel in 2013. Globally, 50 per cent of travellers expect their travel spend to go up this year.

Online Channels Acting as Megaphone for Traditional ‘Word of Mouth’
The TripBarometer reveals that 69 per cent of travellers globally use travel review websites when researching and planning their trips. Sixty-two per cent of respondents in Australasia and close to seven in ten (69%) respondents in Australia look to travel review websites.

Percentage of respondents who expect their travel budget to in-crease in 2013
Middle East75%
South America58%
North America44%

The three sources of information reported as being most useful by travellers both globally and in Australasia are all online sources.

Respondents finding source
most “useful” (Global)
Information SourcePercent
Travel review websites38%
Web based travel agencies19%
Travel operator websites16%
Friends and family10%
Travel magazines & brochures6%
Social media4%
High street travel agencies4%

With travellers going online for their travel research and planning, they are also showing preference for online as the primary booking channel. Globally, the majority of travellers are booking accommodation via web-based travel agencies (27%), closely followed by accommodation’ own websites (23%).

Business owners report their own website as the channel that generates the most amount of bookings (35%) for them, followed by online trav-el agencies (18%). The data paints a slightly less positive story for high street travel agents, with nine per cent of travellers booking their last ac-commodation through an offline travel agent.

Looking strictly at the results for accommodation in Australasia, 48 per cent report their own website as the channel that generates the majority of their bookings, followed by online travel agencies (13%) and telephone (12%). Consequentially, 60 per cent of all bookings for hoteliers in Australasia are generated through direct booking channels (website and telephone).

The results of the TripBarometer reveal that travel review websites have the biggest influence on travellers’ decisions when choosing a hotel: 93 per cent of travellers globally indicated that other people’s reviews and opinions on travel review websites have influenced their decision to book accommodation for their last trip. Not surprisingly, a majority (96 per cent) of accommodation globally perceived online reviews are of cru-cial importance for generating booking.

Sustainable Travel Gaining Importance

The TripBarometer reveals that sustainability is a key concern for travellers when making travel plans with 72 per cent of Australian consum-ers indicating that it’s important for accommodation providers to have eco-friendly practices. Fortunately, Australian accommodation are ranked amongst the greenest in the world with 83% of them currently reporting having practices in place to reduce the impact their business has on the environment. According to the survey, properties indicate that they are doing their bit for the planet by implementing a wide range of eco-friendly practices. The most common initiatives indicated by Australian accommodation respondents are energy-efficient bulbs (92%), followed by towel and linen re-use programmes (86%) and water-efficient toilets and showers (81%).

“The TripBarometer has revealed useful insights into what global travellers are planning and shone a light on the areas where accommodation providers can do more to meet guests’ expectations,” said Christine Petersen, President, TripAdvisor for Business. “With travellers choosing digi-tal channels for their travel planning and research, traditional word of mouth has been amplified and online booking has become the norm across the globe. Furthermore, as travel budgets increase and accommodation in Australasia plan to keep room rates steady, it seems likely that Australa-sia will prove to be great value for money for international travellers this year.”

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