The travel and tourism industry is always moving. That’s why it’s essential that you stay on top of the latest trends, technology, and tactics. The last thing you want is to be a step behind your competitors.
So how do you do it?
We've mapped the top trends, strategies and tactics so you don't have to. Whether you’re focused on destination marketing, resorts and hotels, or airlines, the following travel statistics will help you better connect with your consumers, lift conversions and drive direct bookings and ticket sales.
After you've checked out the data, read our travel and tourism marketer's campaign handbook and learn how to create killer marketing campaigns to increase bookings!
General Travel Statistics
Staying on top of the latest travel and tourism trends keeps your business competitive. These general travel statistics will help you do so, by helping you learn what's working for other marketers, where they're spending money, and what channels are providing the best return.
General Travel Trends
- In 2018, 79% of travel marketers used Facebook Ads, and that number will continue to rise with 65% of travel markets reporting they plan to spend more on Facebook Ads in 2019. (Sojern, 2019)
- Digital advertising represents the largest portion of ad spend for all global travel marketers in 2018 at 47 percent—and that number will only grow. (Sojern, 2019)
- In the future, 41% of travel marketers plan on using SMS or messaging apps, 39% plan on using real-time audience travel data, and 38% plan on using real-time supply and demand data. (Sojern, 2019)
- Facebook and Instagram, Amazon, and Google Ads were each cited by four in 10 global travel marketers as the top platforms to likely disrupt the industry in the next five years—with Facebook narrowly leading the pack. (Sojern, 2019)
- Over the next 5 years, marketers feel the following technologies are most likely to disrupt travel marketing: augmented reality or VR (20%), real-time travel audience data (17%), and smart speakers or voice search (13%). (Sojern, 2019)
- Three in five travel companies say they offer customer service via chat, 28% are experimenting with or actively using artificial intelligence and about a quarter are experimenting with or using voice search. (Phocuswright, 2018)
- U.S. online travel growth continues to outpace the overall market: The U.S. travel market grew a healthy 5% in 2018, with gains remaining stead in 2019. By 2022, total gross bookings will have increased to $441 billion. (Phocuswright, 2019)
- 81% of travel respondents considered it very important for brands to provide personalised experiences to their customers. In addition, 84% of respondents said that their firms were planning to invest more in personalisation capabilities in the next three years. (Travolution, 2019)
Marketing Budget and Spend
- U.S. travel advertising spend (ad spend) reached $7.6B in 2018 and European travel ad spend reached $4.6B – rising right alongside revenue growth. (Phocuswright, 2019)
- Advertisers will spend $5.84 billion on search in 2019. The travel industry has the fourth-largest search ad spend out of all the verticals we break out, making up 10.9% of total US search spend. (eMarketer, 2019)
- As brands work to make themselves visible to travelers, they are now spending 61% of their marketing budgets on online channels. That number is even higher for online travel brands such as OTAs, which allocate 73% of their spend to digital. (Phocuswright, 2018)
- On average, travel companies spend about 44% of their digital marketing budget on mobile solutions - a relatively high amount considering most booking still takes place on desktops and laptops. (Phocuswright, 2018)
Marketing Channels, Strategies and Tactics
- On a global scale, both Facebook (30%) and Instagram (28%) are seen by travel marketers as most effective for targeting new audiences. However, only four percent state that both Facebook and Instagram are effective to engage with loyalty members. (Sojern, 2019)
- More than four out of five advertisers use SEM because they are considered the most effective products for delivering bookings. (Phocuswright, 2019)
- At least 50% of tourism website visits is coming from mobile and, typically, it accounts for about 60-70% of traffic. This number is growing every year. (TwoSixDigital, 2019)
- Sixty-nine percent of travelers said they have used voice search while planning a trip. (Travelport, 2018)
- 50% of travel and hospitality companies today are gathering and using real-time data; 47% are using automated personalization. (Adobe, 2018)
- 53% of travel and hospitality companies personalize email content and 67% use responsive mobile emails. (Adobe, 2018)
- 61% of travel and hospitality companies are using automated personalization on the web; 56% on mobile devices. (Adobe, 2018)
- Just 18% of executives at travel and hospitality brands said they believe their company is a digitally mature organization. (Adobe, 2018)
The Traveler's Journey
- 74% of travelers use social media while traveling. (Martech Zone, 2018)
- 85% of travelers use mobile devices to book travel activities. (Martech Zone, 2018)
- 97% of Millennials share photos on social media while traveling, compared to 60% of all travelers. (Martech Zone, 2018)
- Travel website cart abandonment rates are higher than the overall average of 76.8%, currently standing at 81.6%. (SaleCycle, 2017)
- Approximately 75% of travel followers likely will “take action on videos they see, either swiping up (for more information), sharing with a friend, visiting a website or downloading an app. (Wex, 2019)
- 1,000,000 travel-related hashtags are searched weekly. (Wex, 2019)
Destination Marketing Statistics
Destinations now understand it's not just the millennial traveler who is on social media; everyone from baby boomers to solo travelers are being influenced by the photos and videos posted by their friends. Along with a greater focus on sustainability, destination marketing organizations are looking to technology and digital as a way to better connect with consumers and drive real-time sales.
These destination marketing statistics will help you learn about today's trends and the strategies other DMOs are using to reach and convert their audiences. This will allow you to figure out which tactics will work best for your destination.
Destination Marketing Trends
- 52% of Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) say that delivering personalized ads and offers in real-time is their top challenge. (Sojern, 2019)
- 52% of future travelers have liked a Facebook page related to their destination. (MDG Advertising, 2018)
- 60% of consumers were influenced by consumer generated content when planning travel, whereas the influence of professional brand images was only 19% in 2019. (Simpleview, 2019)
- International-tourist arrivals around the world have gone from a little less than 70 million as of 1960 to 1.4 billion today. (The Atlantic, 2019)
- 38% of active Instagrammers head to the app to discover travel photos and videos from influencers, celebrities and brands. (Facebook, 2018)
- 50% of user-generated content galleries on DMO websites don't include a call-to-action. (CrowdRiff, 2019)
- 80% of DMO Facebook ads send visitors to their website. (CrowdRiff, 2019)
Targeting Millennials on Social Media
- 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s vacation photos or social media updates. (amp agency, 2016)
- 37% of millennials have had their holiday destination influenced by social media. (WeSwap, 2018)
- 34% of millennials have actually booked a holiday because of content seen on social media. (WeSwap, 2018)
- 28% of millennials trust social media over magazines, television and Google and TripAdvisor reviews. (WeSwap, 2018)
- 43% of millennials won't go on holiday without checking in, making sure their followers can see their travels. (WeSwap, 2018)
- 31% of millennials said that posting holiday pics online is just as important as the holiday itself, and 29% wouldn't choose a holiday destination if they were not able to post on social media while there. (WeSwap, 2018)
- When it comes to destination inspiration, leisure travelers ages 18–34 are 2.4x more likely than those ages 35 and over to discover travel destinations via mobile. (Facebook, 2018)
- 40% of UK Millenial travelers say they consider how Instagramable a location is when trip planning. (MDG Advertising, 2018)
- Overall, 60 percent of travelers use social media to showcase their vacation photos. This number rises for Millennials—a whopping 90 percent of young travelers share their vacation photos on social media during their trip. (MDG Advertising, 2018)
When it comes to resort and hotel marketing, the space is more crowded than ever before. Between OTAs, home sharing alternatives and regional competition, independent hoteliers and hotel chains are looking to target potential guests earlier in their journey. In 2020, tactics like personalization, user-generated content and digital advertising will take centre stage in the fight for traveler's attention.
Keep browsing these stats to finetune your hotel marketing strategy.
Hospitality Travel Trends
- Analysis of 321 million social engagements found at least eight of the largest hotels have tested some kind of virtual reality experience during the past 18 months. Most of these experiences were programs that paired VR devices with consumers’ mobile devices. (Adobe, 2017)
- Although 77% of marketers use at least one social media platform for marketing purposes, less than half (48%) say that they see return on investment from this strategy. (IMPACT, 2018)
- Booking abandonment rates on hotel websites are 78.3%. When asked why, responses around researching and price comparison were the most common. (IMPACT, 2018)
- Visitors to hotel websites that include UGC galleries spend 90% more time on those sites, and luxury hotel brands that source more than half of their posts from user-generated content receive 2.6 times higher engagement than brands that don’t. (Gartner L2, 2016)
- 48% of people are likely to feature the hotel on social media in exchange for a reward. (Oracle Hospitality, 2018)
Social Media for Hospitality
- A social-media-first branding strategy is used by all hotel segments, from international luxury hotel chains (79%) to hotel groups (73%) to independent hotels (52%). (Sojern, 2019)
- Facebook and Instagram are the top social channels for direct response, but independent properties are almost equally enthusiastic about paid search (36%) as Facebook and Instagram (38%). (Sojern, 2019)
Digital Ads for Hospitality
- 71% of international luxury hotel chains use YouTube for advertising. (Sojern, 2019)
- Almost half (48%) of hotel marketers indicated their top challenge in 2018 was keeping up with the fast-paced advertising and technology landscape. (Sojern, 2019)
- 72% of international luxury hotel chains expecting to invest in digital advertising this year, followed by international mid-tier chains (69%), hotel groups (65%), and independent properties (53%). Over a third (37%) of inns and 36% of homeshares also expect to invest more in digital advertising this year. (Sojern, 2019)
- Delivering personalized ads and offers in real time was identified by almost half of hotel marketers as another key challenge in the current marketing landscape. (Sojern, 2019)
- Hotel marketers had a full 50% of ad spend devoted to digital channels in 2018. (Sojern, 2019)
- Across the board, hotel marketers plan to increase digital advertising budgets in 2019, with more than 6 out of 10 (62%) planning to spend more in 2019. (Sojern, 2019)
- In Facebook ads, almost half (49%) of hotel and resort CTAs drive viewers to the websites. The next most popular option is to promote special sales and deals, which cover 40% of Facebook CTAs for the hospitality sector. (CrowdRiff, 2019)
Facebook and Instagram for Hospitality
- Almost half of all respondents indicate they plan to increase their digital ad spend on Facebook and Instagram specifically (ranging from 62% of international mid-tier chains to 45% of inns). (Sojern, 2019)
- Of the digital channels utilized by hotel marketers in 2018, Facebook and Instagram received the most budget, with 22% allocated to these social media behemoths. Paid search came in second (19%), followed by private marketplace advertising (12%). (Sojern, 2019)
- Facebook was deemed most effective for targeting new audiences for inns (35%), hotel groups (32%), and international luxury and mid-tier chains (27%). (Sojern, 2019)
- Twenty-nine percent of independent properties felt Facebook excelled most at driving reach and brand awareness; notably, 25% of international luxury hotel chains also identified this as Facebook’s top strength. (Sojern, 2019)
- A substantial number of hotel groups (24%), inns (24%), and international mid-tier chains (21%) also felt Facebook was most effective for personalizing messages and offers. (Sojern, 2019)
- International luxury (35%) and mid-tier (29%) chains found Instagram to be most effective in targeting new audiences. Hotel groups and inns both saw almost equal value in Instagram’s use to target new audiences (23% and 17%, respectively) and to personalize messages and direct offers (22% and 17%). Independent most often use Instagram to drive reach and brand awareness (19%). (Sojern, 2019)
Tour Operator Statistics
Whether you're a multi-day or single day tour operator, one thing is for sure: experiential travel is hot. Consumers want to be involved in the places they visit, rather than just pass through. It's no wonder then, that historical, food and sunset tours all saw massive growth last year. Travelers are also increasingly turning to their mobile devices and social media when they're looking to book a travel experience.
The following statistics will help marketers in this sector better understand how consumers are booking tours and activities today, and in turn, how to capture their attention.
Tour Operator Trends
- 55% of tour and activity suppliers do not have a third-party reservation system, and of those who don’t, 67% use email or calendar to manage their bookings. (Phocuswright, 2017)
- Online tour & attraction gross bookings will more than double from 2015 to 2020, growing from 11% in 2016 to 21% in 2020. (Phocuswright, 2017)
- GetYourGuide mobile transactions represented 40 percent of the 6 million tickets it sold in 2017; they forecast a majority of its bookings will take place on mobile soon. (Skift, 2018)
- In the second quarter of 2018, TripAdvisor’s non-hotel revenue accounted for about 27 percent of the company’s overall business, with tours and activities holding the fastest growth rate among its various products. (TripAdvisor, 2018)
- The activity/tour/experience segment will grow to $183 billion by 2020, and accounts for 10% of global travel revenue. (Phocuswright, 2017)
- Travelers looking for tours and activities online are aged between 25 and 44 years old, slightly more likely to be female. (Tour Scanner, 2019)
- While 51% of Facebook ads for tour operators drive traffic to the website, a large percentage registered as "Other," which includes downloads for guides and destination-specific info. (CrowdRiff, 2019)
The Booking Process
- Travelers who book their activities ahead of their trip spend 81% more on transportation than those who wait to book their destination. (Booking.com, 2019)
- 57% of online tour and activity bookings were carried out via mobile in 2018 but 73% of revenue was from desktop. (Trekksoft, 2019)
- 38% of tour and activity bookings happen up to two days before the day of the activity. (Phocuswright, 2019)
- Travelers who book their activities ahead of their trip spend 47% more on lodging and 81% more on transportation than those who wait to book in destination. (Google/Greenberg, 2018)
- 35 percent of travelers have used mobile phones to book a tour or activity while already in destination for a vacation, with TripAdvisor dominating with just over half of the bookings. (Skift, 2018)
- Only about 13% of online tours and activities bookings happen with real-time connectivity, according to Trekksoft, largely because much still depends on day-of schedules of tour guides and that of attractions. (Trekksoft, 2018)
- Almost half (48%) of activity/tour/experience bookings happen while travelers are at their destination. (Google/Greenberg, 2018)
- The average booking cart is slightly above US$150. Travelers tend to book expensive activities more in advance compared to cheaper activities. (Tour Scanner, 2019)
- Experience is the name of the game in travel today. In fact, 67% of high-income travelers said they would rather spend their money on activities than a nicer hotel room. (Skift, 2019)
- Guides and operators added 30,000 new experiences to TripAdvisor last year, increasing the number of available experiences, tours, and attractions by 50%. (TripAdvisor, 2018)
- Historical and heritage tours jumped 125 percent in popularity in 2017 for global travelers, while sunset cruises increased 86 percent and private day tours were up 79 percent. Food experiences, though, were the fastest growing category in terms of traveler spend; spending was up 61 percent in 2017, with travelers from Canada, the UK, and Australia leading the way. (TripAdvisor, 2018)
- 42% of British travellers are looking for more action-packed trips and rely on social media influencers for inspiration. (Icelolly, 2018)
Did you know that the market for theme parks is expected to reach $44.3 billion by 2020? This means that even the most remote theme park can expect to see a rise in profit with an improved marketing strategy.
These stats will give you insight into challenges, strategies and processes of other attraction marketers.
- 46% of attraction marketers say that delivering personalized ads and offers in real-time is their top challenge. (Sojern, 2019)
- Eighty-five percent of consumers use their phones to book travel activities, including restaurant reservations and sightseeing tours. (MDG Advertising, 2018)
- Activities are the third largest segment of travel at $129 billion. (Phocuswright, 2016)
- 89% of millennials plan travel activities based on content posted by their peers online. (Entrepreneur, 2017)
- 21% of travelers who use social media for inspiration when researching trips are looking for info on attractions. (WebFX, 2017)
- 40% of travelers post activity/attraction reviews on social media after returning home. (WebFX, 2017)
- Mobile searches for “things to do/activities” + “near me” have seen a 6X increase over the last two years. (Think with Google, 2018)
- 50% of activity bookings are made less than eight days before consumption. (Tour Scanner, 2019)
Airline and Cruiseline Statistics
When it comes to cruiseline and airline industry trends, marketers should know that more than ever, digital is key to building a lasting community, and driving customer loyalty and bookings. With over 70% of consumers finalizing flight purchases online, this is a no-brainer! Scroll through the following stats to learn what's working, and what's not, in this industry.
- In 2016, social media teams with less than five people were found in over 60% of the airlines; in 2019, this number is just over 30%. (SimpliFlying, 2018)
- Airline social media budgets are rising in 2019. The key reasons for the budget increase were advertising spend (40%) and the acquisition of new tools (34%). (SimpliFlying, 2018)
- Customer service teams are now involved in the social media efforts of 44% of airlines, up from 26% last year. (SimpliFlying, 2018)
- Of the digital ad spend of an travel segment, airlines allocated the most amount of spend (12%) towards video. (Sojern, 2019)
- In 2018, the cruise travel market segment reported spending 45% of their marketing budget on digital (compared to 50% for hotels), but 77% plan to spend more in 2019. (Sojern, 2019)
- The top 3 digital video channels are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, and 62% of cruise marketers intend to spend more on Instagram in 2019 than other video channels. (Sojern, 2019)
- 70% of cruise marketers shared that the top reason for them to leverage data is for better segmentation and targeting, where they get the ability to target travellers based on intent and/or where they are in the path to purchase. (Sojern, 2019)
- Customers are increasingly using online channels for search and booking. Over 70% of consumers research and finalize flight purchases online. (PWC, 2016)
Get Inspired By Travel Statistics
Through these 100+ statistics, one fact is clear: the way consumers dream, search and book travel today has changed.
No matter if you're an industry veteran or just getting started, you need to stay on top of the trends to develop your own strategy and best reach your target audience.
Image credit: Clarisse Meyer