Answering the 1.2 billion dollar question: What motivates travelers?

Lionel Avezou

Senior Manager, Research, Innovation and Ventures, Amadeus

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Think back to your most memorable travel experience. Perhaps, it’s hiking to the top of Kilimanjaro, eating in a Michelin star French restaurant, or renting a boat to sail around an exotic coastline.

Often when people travel, they are seeking new or unique experiences, or the chance to indulge in their passions. Travel providers can capitalize on this willingness to invest in something special – but only if they understand exactly what it is that their customers want. This is the basis of our new innovation foresight report, Understanding traveler motivations.

When beginning a travel search, the first thing you think of is usually the destination. Most people have an idea of the country or the city – but how about the neighborhood or street? Imagine, as a foodie, being able to choose a hotel based on the fabulous nearby delis? Or if you love craft beer, being able to ensure there will be lively bars in the vicinity.

With the power of big data analytics and innovative thinking, this is now possible. Amadeus recently invested in Avuxi, a startup enabling that uses intelligent heat-mapping to rank the popularity and features of every street on earth. This means travelers can be sure they’re staying in a place which suits them.

"Almost half of total travel spend is done at the destination, which represents 1.2 billion Euros*."

Despite these advancements, travel companies should remember the weight that non-bookable content such as reviews and images have on consumers. Nowadays, travelers rely heavily on user-generated content in order to choose a hotel room or experience out of hundreds. By properly leveraging this content, and showing an offer that is right for the individual traveler’s needs, providers can ensure they stand out against the rest.

Once a traveler has chosen their destination, they may wish to plan their experiences there in advance. Making it simple for the traveler to see their entire trip and plan ahead is key - this is something travelers spend a lot of time doing, as they try to curate the perfect experience.

Of course, there will always be those who prefer to live in the moment and resist booking activities ahead of time. For these travelers, there is Amadeus Sherpa. This innovative concept was built by Amadeus with millennials in mind (who use the phone to text but not to call!) and helps to connect travelers with small, local tour and activity providers that are usually hard to reach. For example, say a group visiting France wants to book a kayaking experience for the same day. Local providers don’t often have online booking systems, and in fact 85% of activity bookings still take place offline. However, the traveler may not feel confident in calling them to book, particularly if there is a language barrier. Sherpa uses machine learning technology to guide a chat-based interaction, before connecting to the provider’s inventory and allow travelers to book on the fly.

What is certain is that the devices in your pocket and around you – or ambient interfaces -have become ideal channels to offer the service you need, when you need it. 

"Over 70% of destination content is booked onsite at the destination, so mobile's potential to transform travel destination content is a no-brainer."

It is true that the way we search for and book travel is changing. Soon the prescriptive search options of today will give way to travelers being able to curate their perfect trip with ease. Currently, aggregating and selling destination content is not easy for travel companies, which makes collaboration essential. Today’s travel offer is incredibly vast and will only keep growing. This means travel companies need to offer contextual and personalized products with the right mix of content to be relevant.

Read more about what motivates travelers when selecting destination content and the importance of non-bookable content in our landmark report, Understanding traveler motivations.

*Figure only includes leisure travel spend, and is the result of Amadeus desk research aggregating data from various sources (Euromonitor, PhW, Visa, IATA)