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Expedia Partner Conference 2017: UK, US and Chinese travellers ‘prioritise experience over price’

Posted by Lee Hayhurst on
Expedia Partner Conference 2017: UK, US and Chinese travellers ‘prioritise experience over price’

New generational research from Expedia has found travellers from the US, the UK and China prioritise once in a lifetime cultural experiences over finding a good deal.

The study findings, presented to the Expedia Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week, highlighted shopping habits and what influences travellers in the three markets.

Wendy Olson Killion, global senior director of Expedia Media Solutions, told the division’s Insights Summit at the annual conference:

“Emotions, not dollars, are what drive decisions for most travellers today. The study revealed that for travellers from three of the largest global markets activities and experiences are leading priorities, ahead of deals and lowest price.

“The data also showed that travellers are receptive to ads with appealing imagery and informative content, illustrating a real opportunity for marketers to align their content with traveller interests to spur consideration.”

Key findings of the study included:

  • American, British and Chinese travellers prioritize trip activities, once in a lifetime, bucket list and cultural experiences above all else;
  • Millennials from the US and China travel the most (35 travel days per year), while British Gen Z travel the least (21 travel days per year);
  • British travellers go abroad, while American and Chinese travellers explore their own vast countries, but fewer than half have decided on a destination when they begin planning a trip;
  • Chinese travellers prioritize the social elements of travel, like the food experience and going somewhere they can vacation with friends, and allocate more of their budget to shopping and attractions or tours.

Other findings from the Expedia study:

Trip Types & Travel Logistics

  • Across all generations, British and Chinese travellers opt for relaxing and sightseeing vacations. In the US, Millennials and Gen X are most likely to take relaxing trips, while the youngest and oldest generations are taking trips to visit family.
  • Nearly 60% or more of all travellers get to their destination by plane. Road trips are the secondary transportation option in the US and UK, and train travel is also popular in China and the UK.
  • Hotels are the number one accommodation option for the majority of travellers in these countries, with more than 60% staying at a hotel. Although still small in comparison, Gen Z is the generation most likely to stay in alternative accommodations.

Planning Priorities

  • Across all generations, trip activities are priority number one for American and British travellers, followed closely by once in a lifetime experiences for American travellers and cultural experiences for British travellers.
  • Chinese Gen Z and Millennials prioritise feeling pampered during their vacation, while trip activities top the list for Gen X and Baby Boomers.
  • American and British travellers – particularly Baby Boomers and Gen X – place more importance on deals and special offers than Chinese travellers, who are more likely to prioritize the social elements of travel, such as the food experience and going somewhere they can vacation with friends.

Budget Basics

  • More than 80% of Chinese travellers and at least 65% of American and British travellers said budget was a primary factor when planning a trip.
  • All travellers allocated the largest portion of their travel budget to hotels—more than 30% for British travellers—and at 20%, flights were the second largest line item for American and British travellers.
  • Chinese travellers allocated more of their budget to shopping (16%) and attractions or tours (15%) than travellers from other countries.

Destination Decisions & Booking Resources

  • Travellers can be destination indecisive; fewer than half have decided on a destination when they begin planning a trip.
  • Younger generations are consistently the most open to inspiration; nearly 80% of British Gen Z travellers are deciding between multiple destinations or don’t have a destination in mind.
  • Baby Boomers are the most decisive – nearly 55% from the US and China have already decided on a destination.
  • Online travel agencies (OTAs) and search engines are leading planning resources for all travellers, and as the leading booking resource, OTAs convert the most travellers.

Advertising Influences

  • Approximately half of all travellers, and more than 70% of Chinese Millennials, said ads with appealing imagery can be influential.
  • Ads with informative content are most likely to influence younger Chinese travellers and older American and British travellers.
  • American and British travellers, especially younger generations, are most likely to be influenced by advertising with appealing deals.


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