Empowering Inspiration: the future of travel search¨ highlights that for the
destination, shopping and booking process, consumers in emerging markets are
more frustrated than their developed country counterparts due to information
overload and a lack of confidence that they are getting a good deal
Cross-market comparisons show that younger, savvy consumers in emerging
markets are mastering social media and mobile travel information more than
most developed markets
Dubai, UAE, 04 March, 2012: A new industry study released today, Empowering inspiration:
the future of travel search identifies trend-setting consumers´ behaviour and motivations
when shopping for travel online, and identifies their experience during the destination selection,
shopping and booking processes. The study also details the key trends and predictions for how
consumers want to be able to search for travel online in the future.
The Amadeus-commissioned study, conducted by travel industry research authority
PhoCusWright Inc., surveyed 4,638 travellers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, India, Russia and
Brazil. In addition to consumer insights, PhoCusWright conducted 18 executive interviews with
thought leaders around the world to gain industry perspective on where travel search is headed.
Although the travellers under review are not representative of the mainstream consumer, they
have the most sophisticated shopping needs and represent the early adopters whose current
behaviours and preferences are leading indicators of behaviour in the future.
Key findings include but are not limited to:
The frustrations and pain points travellers face when planning and booking travel
All consumers face frustrations during the shopping and booking process, however, those in
emerging markets are more frustrated than their developed counterparts. For example, in the
shopping process 47% of U.S. travellers experience frustration online, compared to over 78% of
Russian travellers. This is due to information overload and the lack of confidence that they are
getting a good deal.
New ways in which travellers would like to search for travel
In the developed markets, nearly 50% of travellers had a particular place in mind, whereas
in the emerging markets, it was only about a third of travellers. Catering to these travellers is
advantageous, as attracting shoppers earlier in the purchase funnel broadens their audience
and reduces their reliance on search and referral traffic. Furthermore, more than four in 10
travellers across the markets are flexible about travel dates, thus tools that help determine
where and which travel dates have the lowest price have widespread appeal. It is time to think
outside of the traditional city pair/travel date box.
How travellers want to use mobile devices and social networks when planning and
sharing travel experiences
Three in 10 travellers in Europe currently have no interest in using their mobile phones for
travel-related activities, but U.S. consumers show levels of interest comparable to emerging
markets for mobile features such as alerts and check-in. Mobile device usage for travel is
more than twice as common in emerging markets, most notably in India, where nearly 24% of
travellers research destinations online on their phones.
Looking ahead, the report also looks at how new technologies may change travel planning in
the future, including but not limited to:
• The truly private ¨private sale¨: Marketplaces around the world have been flooded
with promotions, deals, and now flash sale brands that tout discounts with no context of
whether an individual would be interested in the product. As consumer segmentation and
behavioural targeting to consumers becomes more sophisticated, sellers will be able to
microtarget promotions to specific consumers, offering products that are actually relevant for
Cumulative ¨intelligence¨: With hundreds of options, online shoppers are overloaded.
Eventually, programmes will learn from an individual´s behaviour over time by observing and
aggregating common patterns. Micro-segmentation will help companies analyse behaviour
and deliver increasingly intelligent results.
• Smart systems and virtual private assistant: Devices will become smart and
interconnected, and will store and make sense of information consumers look at. The
programme will recognise and process inputs from the sites consumers visit and what they
do on them, and will act as an assistant on the consumer´s behalf.
Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Middle East and North of Africa, Amadeus: said: “The
Amadeus commissioned study aptly brings to light global trends, the significance of which can
be seamlessly translated to this region. Increased internet penetration in the Middle East and
across the globe has resulted in a significant evolution of online and e-commerce business
A recent report released by research firm Euromonitor International shows a monumental spike
in e-commerce growth across the Arab world, with online sales tipped to reach US$2 billion
(AED7.34bn) by 2016. The report also found that online shoppers in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi
Arabia spent $US1.01 billion on e-commerce sites in 2011, with many local retailers reporting a
twofold increase in revenues.
Medawar added: “In today’s competitive market, online travel providers must adopt technologies
that provide an added value to consumers. Technology has and will continue to impact the way
agents do business, the effects of which will invariably trickle down to impact consumer buying
Carroll Rheem, Director of Research, PhoCusWright said: “Megabrands…are applying
enormous talent and imagination towards solving traveller problems. It is mission critical for all
travel retailers…to understand and adapt to how consumers want to make travel decisions, not
just how they have made them in the past. This study [illuminates] the things companies can’t
see in their clickstream and conversion – desirable elements their websites currently lack.”
To download a copy of the ‘Empowering Inspiration: The future of travel search’
study, and to register to attend the webinar in partnership with PhoCusWright, please visit