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The choices Americans make in deciding where to travel, how to get there, and where to stay are influenced by many factors. The relative effects of these factors are constantly changing. The recently released report from Ypartnership, entitled 2011 Portrait of American Travelers investigated the travel habits of over 2,500 adults. These individuals answered questions on their reasons for travel, the logistics of their travel itineraries, and how they make their vacation plans. Additional areas of inquiry included their media habits and social values.
Consumers indicated that personal recommendations from family and friends remain highly influential in their searches for ideas and inspiration in their travel plans. Yet they also consider more traditional media such as guidebooks, brochures, and television in their research. As they move from seeking inspiration to finding specific advice, consumers rely less on traditional media and more on personal recommendations. As expected, many consumers predominantly use internet searches to find the best airfare and rates. The use of travel agents has decreased significantly as the internet allows consumers to comparison shop on their own.
Therefore, hotel management companies should maintain a strong web presence while continuing to advertise on television and in magazines. A successful hotel management company will also distribute brochures to its guests. Not only do customers still consider this traditional form of media in making their travel decisions, but such brochures may also encourage past guests to mention a particular hotel or resort to their family and friends. Word of mouth is likely to remain a powerful factor in choosing accommodations for a long time. By staying current on how customers make their decisions and what aspects of travel are the most important to them, companies can maximize their profits while also providing consumers what they are searching for in a vacation and promoting future business.
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