When in Rome: A Study in Traveler Persona Segmentation
Today we were pleased to join our friends at the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) and Euromonitor International in a webinar on The New Online Travel Consumer. We presented global and regional search trends for 2013 and insights for what will come in 2014. A key focus of our talk was how traveler types, based on search and booking behavior combined with consumer data insights benchmarked into 10 persona categories, differ by travel destination.
To illustrate the point, we compared travelers to Berlin, Budapest and Rome.
In general, we found that for European travel, length of stay was typically less than 4 days and the average search to book window was 38 days. The top Search Persona for travel to Europe in 2013 was the Adventure Seeker. The Adventure Seeker is 25-35 years old, upwardly mobile in their career, active on social media, looking for cultural/adventure travel experience, often travels with friends and takes 6+ trips/year.
For travelers coming to Berlin, the average search to book window in right in line with the Europe average at 38.8 days. However, the travelers are more budget minded than the average European traveler with the Free Spirits, Self Seekers and Buck Listers being the top booking persona types. The top 9 of 10 source markets for search are in Germany, reinforcing high local and drive demand.
Budapest has the longest search to book window of the three destinations at 40.3 days. Consistent with the region, Budapest’s top search persona was the Adventure Seeker. And the Adventure Seeker was also the top booking persona, converting for Budapest at twice the rate of search. Source markets were distributed throughout Europe with demand from London to Rome and Madrid to Stuttgart.
The shortest search to book period goes to Rome at 35.7 days, indicating that travelers have more definitive plans about their Rome travel. Adventures Seekers, like in Europe, were the top search persona, and together with Bucket Listers, generated 45% of total demand for Rome in 2013. These two personas are very different – one a young professional looking for adventure and one a senior looking to cross Rome off their must-see list. The source market list reflects the global appeal of Rome as it includes Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S. Each destination attracts a unique traveler with a unique set of search and booking characteristics that must be considered in the marketing strategy and campaign execution.
When marketers consider these differences, they increase marketing efficiencies, improve ROI and ultimately increase visitation.