The Rise of the Hyper-Informed Traveler

Director of Research and Online Marketing
Published 9/19/17
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Complex. Fragmented. Comprehensive. These are just some of the adjectives that can be used to describe how travelers plan their trips in 2017. Here at Miles, we have coined the term “Hyper-Informed” to describe the travel media landscape and the sources of information that travelers now access. 

At Miles, we have been monitoring the media use and travel planning behaviors of travelers for more than 10 years with our research partner Destination Analysts. Their State of the American Traveler quarterly survey of U.S. leisure travelers has consistently tracked a rise in the range and complexity of media that travelers are accessing. This has a created a Hyper-Informed Traveler: More visitors are using more sources of information than ever before in the history of our industry. 

Print usage by U.S. travelers remains at near record levels in 2017 (see our recent white paper, “The Value of Print”), but there has been a bewildering explosion in the types of digital media that travelers are accessing. Usage of all media types, both print and digital, are up sharply in the last few years. See below. 

Online, the Hyper-Informed Traveler is, to steal a Star Trek phrase, in hyper drive. The rise of mobile at the center of the travel experience has spawned the Micro-Moment, described by Google as hundreds of short interactions with content by users on their smartphone. This has seen an exploding number of tourism-related website visits that travelers are taking before booking. Expedia’s most recent The Path to Purchase research in the U.S., Canada and the UK showed a staggering 121-plus website visits by the average visitor to travel-related website before making a booking. See below. 

What does all this mean for tourism and destination marketers? Here are four fundamental marketing principles that should underpin your marketing to today’s Hyper-Informed Traveler:  

#1: Targeting and Personalization

Now more important than ever, content delivered to the Hyper-Informed Traveler should be optimized, relevant and specific to their individual interests and needs. 

#2: Multimedia

Messages, content and campaigns to the Hyper-Informed Traveler needs to be delivered across a complex range of media and channels, both online and offline. Work with marketing partners who can offer this. 

#3: Complementary

In this multimedia environment, creative, content and campaigns need to be planned from the start to be cross media and cross channel – with content taking advantage of the unique characteristics of each platform. 

#4: Quality vs. Quantity

In short, focus on metrics that matter. Measuring which of these channels, media and creative drive real engagement, interest and active travel planning has never been more important. Have precise goals (we call them Signals of Intent to Travel or SITs) against which to measure success.  

Sources: 

The State of the American Traveler, 2009 - 2017, Destination Analysts – also available on the Miles ‘How We Think’ section of our site

Value of Print White Paper, 2017, Miles 

The Path to Purchase for American, British and Canadian Travelers, 2016, Expedia Media Solutions

Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile, 2015, Think with Google