The global online travel market is now in a rapid development period, and the online travel may become a competitive investment mergers and acquisitions field in the future. The whole structure of travel market is changing. There is a close relationship between customer characters and offline and online travel market segmentation. This paper aims to discuss the online and offline travel customers segmentation of the global travel agencies instead of focusing on one city or one country. The discussion will be given by separately introducing the characters of customers and online and offline travel markets. A case study of US will be discussed too. And then this paper will compare offline with online travel markets. This paper will give some suggestions for the travel market segmentation.
Key Words: online travel, offline travel, customer characters, market segmentation
1. Introduction 3
1.1 General Background 3
1.2 Purpose and Significance 3
1.3 Methodology 3
1.4 Structure of the Thesis 3
2. Literature Review 3
2.1 Online and Offline Markets 4
2.2 Travel Customers 4
3. Travel Customer Factors and Customer Behaviors 4
3.1 The Travel Shopping Process 4
3.1.1 Inspiration 4
3.1.2 Search and Planning 4
3.1.3 Validation and Booking 4
3.1.4 Experience and Sharing 5
3.2 Travel Customer Factors 5
3.2.1 Income Factor 5
3.2.2 Education Factor 5
3.2.3 Age and Gender Factors 5
3.2.4 Geographical Factor 5
4. Characters of Online and Offline Travel Markets 5
4.1 Case Study and Data Analysis of US Travel Markets 5
4.2 Characters of Online Travel Markets 6
4.3 Characters of Offline Travel Markets 6
5. The Comparisons of Online and Offline Travel Markets 6
5.1 The Comparison of Market Share 6
5.2 The Comparison of Market Segmentation According to the Customer Characters 6
5.2.1 Income Segmentation 6
5.2.2 Education Segmentation 6
5.2.3 Age and Gender Segmentation 6
5.2.4 Geographical Segmentation 7
6. Discussion 7
6.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Online and Offline Travel Market Segmentation 7
6.2 Suggestions 7
7. Conclusion 7
7.1 Summary 7
7.2 Implication 7
Reflective Report 7
Today’s travel consumers make use of a growing variety of web resources to help them research and book travel. This list has evolved beyond branded promotional material to include ratings, reviews, videos, photos and social media commentary from travel peers. More than ever before, this positive and negative online information has the ability to make or break purchase decisions. The travel industry is highly focused on mobile bookings, but research shows that many consumers are still not ready to make large travel purchases via mobile devices. On mobile devices, travelers who had made other product purchases on their mobile devices were much more hesitant to book travel: only 34% had booked travel through their tablet in that timeframe, and 28% had booked via smartphone (Online Travel Market, 2012).
1.2 Purpose and Significance
This thesis aims to discuss the online and offline travel customers segmentation of the global travel agencies instead of focusing on one city or one country. This paper aims to separately research the characters of customers and online and offline travel markets. This paper aims to do a case study of US to make a clear investigation of online and offline travel customer segmentation.
This paper will give some references and suggestions for the travel market segmentation of global travel agencies.
This paper will use both literature review method and case study method. Before writing this paper, a lot of literatures about online and offline travels have been reading. And a travel agency of US will be investigated as a case study. The data report of this American agency will be introduced and analyzed.
Structure of the Thesis
This paper first introduced the background of the global online travel market and offline travel market and the purpose and structure of the thesis.
The second chapter introduces the literature review of the papers including the previous studies of online and offline travel markets and travel customers.
The third chapter introduces the travel customer factors and customer behaviors including the travel shopping process, age and geographical factors etc.
The fourth chapter of the thesis introduces the characters of online and offline travel markets separately and a case study and a data analysis of the US travel markets are done.
The fifth chapter of the thesis does a comparison between offline and online travel markets from two perspectives including the market share and market segmentation.
The sixth chapter of the thesis discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the online and offline travel markets and gives some suggestions for the travel segmentation. And the seventh chapter draws the conclusion of the whole thesis.
Online and Offline Markets
Fewer tourists are using their computers to access travel information, according to a GiestCentric report and, according to IDC, by 2015 more users will access the internet through their mobile devices than anything else. Not only are potential customers using their mobile devices to access the internet, but to plan their trips as well. Since 2009 the number of leisure travellers using their mobile devices for travel information has increased by over 450%, according to The 2012 Traveler Study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT (Online Travel Market, 2013).
A great deal of these users ends up making their bookings via mobile device. 40% of leisure travellers book using mobile browsers, while only 12% book using apps. 36% of business travellers book using mobile browsers while only 17% book using apps. Of the seven reasons that led potential customers not to make a booking from their mobile devices, four of them were due to the website's lack of quality, another due to a lack of trust in the security on mobile devices, and the remaining two due to factors outside of hoteliers’ control. In a study conducted by GuestCentric with over 300 hotels, a whopping 60% of smartphone bookings were for same night or next night stay. (TravelDailyNews, 2013)
Almost half of the mobile hotel bookers surveyed had already left home and were on the road when they made their reservations, according to the findings for Priceline.com’s fall 2012 snapshot survey . And free internet access edged out free breakfast and free parking as the hotel perk most important to mobile-equipped travellers.
The survey found that 43% of the mobile bookers who reserved Tonight-Only Deals hotel rooms were in their cars when they booked their room, while 14% said they booked from a remote wi-fi hotspot. Similarly, 40% of those who booked Express Deals rooms said they were on the road when the bookings were made. (HOTELMARKETING, 2012)
The online travel industry in the Middle East is flourishing at an unprecedented rate with online bookings growing by nearly a third this year, according to a Travelport co-sponsored study carried out by PhoCusWright. Findings show that online travel sales in the Middle East will grow 31% from 2011 to almost $10.4 billion in 2012 and are set to reach $15.8 billion by 2014. This means that in 2014, online bookings will make up nearly a quarter (22%) of all travel bookings made in the region. The research also shows the rapid development of regional Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), which are growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18% between 2010 and 2014. In 2011, 39% of all online bookings in the Middle East were made via OTAs and the gross booking value via OTAs is set to nearly double from $3.1 billion to $6 billion by 2014. Rabih Saab, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Travelport said that the Middle East is one of the world's fastest growing tourism destinations and source markets, and the online potential is immense. Air remains the strongest category online, accounting for 67% of all online travel bookings in 2011. Online hotel sales in the Middle East accounted for 32% in 2011 and car rentals made up the remaining 1%. Notably, 59% of all online hotel bookings were made through OTAs as opposed to direct bookings via hotel websites. (HOTELMARKETING.COM, 2012)
Travel Customer Factors and Customer Behaviors
The Travel Shopping Process
3.1.2 Search and Planning
3.1.3 Validation and Booking
3.1.4 Experience and Sharing
Travel Customer Factors
Age and Gender Factors
Characters of Online and Offline Travel Markets
Case Study and Data Analysis of US Travel Markets
Characters of Online Travel Markets
Characters of Offline Travel Markets
The Comparisons of Online and Offline Travel Markets
The Comparison of Market Share
The Comparison of Market Segmentation According to the Customer Characters
Age and Gender Segmentation
5.2.4 Geographical Segmentation
6.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Online and Offline Travel Market Segmentation