The research business has changed significantly over the past several years. Now that we all spend so much time online, our every move can be monitored. You no longer need to conduct research on what happened in the past or even what just happened. All this is now available by the minute—what is trending online is what is trending in real life.
However, the future cannot be predicted by digital behavior so, for now at least, the future remains a mystery. Understanding your client is still predictable and if you’ve got the right instincts and know-how, anticipating the future can mean prosperity.
But what if you didn’t have to go with your gut and you knew what type of vacation or preferred brand your clients were considering? Wouldn’t that make you even more productive?
I think I can help you out, as it relates to the affluent traveler. In the July issue of Luxury Travel Advisor, we gave you a sneak peek into MMGY’s 2014/15 Portrait of Affluent Travelers. This piece of research takes a look at affluent consumers who actively travel. So here’s the good news and the bad news.
The Good: 20 percent of all affluent travelers use a travel advisor today and 25 percent said they would be using a travel advisor in the future. That’s a 5 percent increase from past research, which is a significant jump. So the word is getting out on the value of planning and booking with a travel advisor.
The Bad: What we all need to work on to drive even more growth is determining where affluent consumers go to get the best price on hotels. The percentage of consumers using direct-to-hotel websites and OTAs far outweighs the miserly 6 percent who feel a travel advisor can provide competitive pricing. We all know this is perception, not reality. You are best off focusing your marketing message on this fact and working on that perception. If successful, your forthcoming 5 percent increase next year will increase even more.
For those of you that want to fully understand the future of luxury travel, the MMGY Global Portrait of Affluent Travelers is available at www.mmgyglobal.com/research.