A wide-ranging study into travellers' booking preferences found that they differ greatly depending on the channel they are using at the time of each brand interaction, according to SDL's research report, 'The Modern Traveller: A Look at Customer Engagement in the Travel Industry', which illuminates consumers' travel habits involving personal travel such as holidays. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

To reveal the different expectations and behaviours of today's travel consumer, SDL Campaign Management & Analytics surveyed 4,000 consumers in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, and found that, taking into consideration the differences in usage and preferences across the three primary channels, travel providers must deliver more consistent and contextually relevant omni- or multi-channel experiences.

  • Online
    Online reigns supreme when it comes to booking travel, with nearly 80% of respondents making travel arrangements online. Of all the regions, the United States does far less travel booking in person at only 5%. With 84% of respondents stating that a positive online or web experience is important or very important when booking travel, the connection between the online experience and the likelihood to share a positive experience becomes critical, as the power of word-of-mouth recommendations is one of the most credible forms of information available today.
  • Mobile Apps
    The survey respondents indicated that more than 60% use mobile apps when traveling. However, there are certain geographic markets leading the way in mobile app usage. At the top of the usage charts are the United States and Australia with 75% of U.S. travellers and 65% of Australian travellers using mobile apps while on vacation or holiday. This is in comparison with the United Kingdom, where less than 50% of the travellers use mobile apps while traveling.
  • Email
    Results show that email is still an important channel for travellers, and it is mainly preferred for travel reminders, such as airline reservations, hotel check-in times and tickets for events. In fact, 83% of global survey respondents like to receive travel reminders by email with only 9% not wanting any reminders at all.

The survey also found that most peoples' holiday really is the last bastion of relaxation, with nearly 70% saying they unplug completely - or as much as possible - while they're away. And those in the United Kingdom are the best at unplugging on holiday at 74%, followed by Americans at 60%.

This "digital unplug" behaviour pattern includes not tweeting about every meal or checking-in at every location. Travellers wait to share stories and pictures about their holidays via social media until after they return home. While nearly one-third of survey respondents do share their holiday experiences, that usually only happens when they get back.

According to Bob Hale, CEO for SDL Campaign Management & Analytics, "With travel and tourism being identified as one of the fastest growing sectors, it is imperative that brands build and scale their customer experience management practices to meet the changing needs of customers around the world."