The Hyper-Informed Traveler, a Decade of Growth

Head of Research and Insights
Published 7/17/18
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How Travel Media Usage Has Changed Over the Last Decade

Travelers are using media from more sources and across more points in their travel experiences than ever before. We have coined the term, the “Hyper-Informed Traveler”, to reflect a highly complex and fragmented media landscape.  For more on this, check out my blog post, "The Rise of the Hyper-Informed Traveler"

Working with our research partner Destinations Analysts, who have tracked US leisure traveler behavior, interests and media use over the last 11+ years, we took a long term look at how media use has changed over the last decade, which is summarized in our new research white paper, The Hyper-Informed Traveler.

This new resource highlights how the rapid penetration of smartphones (around 6/10 of all US travelers now use them in planning and travel) has spurred tremendous growth in user-generated content and social media use in travel over the last decade; up 5x and 7x respectively over that period. 

It also showcases how print usage in US travel is far from being in decline and has held firm and even grown slightly over the last decade.  Still around half of US travelers still use print at some point in their trip planning or travels each year. Print is showing continued strength in travel but certainly the role of print has shifted towards a far greater emphasis on inspiration and motivation. For more on the role of print – see our research summary from partners such as Destination Analysts and Longwoods in our white paper, The Value of Print.

Not surprisingly, a look at different generations of US travelers shows a far higher mobile, UGC and social usage among younger, Gen Y travelers. However still just under half of all Baby Boomers use traveler reviews and UGC in trip planning and almost one-third use social media content posted by friends/family. 

This research highlights how content and media planning needs to respond to a highly complex, multimedia, fragmented marketplace. US Travelers are accessing more information from more places than ever before. Considering how to deliver your message across multiple channels and media types is key as is the ability to generate "cut through". Measurement of results – though still highly imperfect, is essential to understand which content, creative, media and channels are working – and what are not. 

Check out the companion blog "The Rise of the Hyper Informed Traveler" for added context and detail on these recommendations.