New Trip Advisor Survey Includes Voluntourism Stats

In case you havent seen it… read the full article here.

Sustainable travel has taken off, quite literally. TripAdvisor, an online travel operator, has surveyed 700 U.S. travellers and found that 71 percent of them will choose eco-friendly options within the next 12 months. One year ago that same figure was 65 per cent.

Another 57 percent said green travel is a constant feature of their plans while another 44 per cent said they tended to be greener at home than while they were away. Another 47 percent said they were equally green both at home and away.

The research also surveyed travelers’ perception of green claims by hotels. 44 per cent said they “mostly” believe it when hotels claim to be eco-friendly, while 32 per cent said they rarely do. 41 per cent said they need to see it firsthand to believe it while 24 percent would be convinced if the hotel produced an environmentally friendly certification.

Money is not a problem for half of interviewees, who said they would be happy to spend more money to stay at an environmentally-friendly place. 23 per cent said they wouldn’t mind spending an extra $25 per night to stay in greener accommodation, while 9 per cent said they could spend between $25-$50 extra for that. Also, the financial crisis does not seem to affect green travellers. 75 per cent of them said the economy does not affect their preference for eco-friendly travel choices.

It seems that clearer information wouldn’t go amiss, though. Sixty percent of travelers said they rarely know for sure whether hotels are truly eco-friendly while13 percent said they never do.

Voluntourism is getting bigger and 24 per cent of respondents said they would consider it while 3 per cent had already done it. 16 per cent of respondents were unfamiliar with the term.


Can Social Media Truly Increase Travel Sales?

Some great new stats out from Reuters and Bloomberg! Granted this is more for hotels and canned package vacations but it will start there and grow to niche markets. Read the full article here, highlights below:

  • Facebook linked 15.2 million visitors to hotel websites in 2010, a 35 percent jump from the prior year, according to a 2011 study by travel researcher PhoCusWright. Of that number, about 568,000 resulted in a booking—a conversion rate, in industry parlance, of almost 4 percent. That’s higher than the conversion rate from travel review sites.
  • Almost 118 million Americans alone will research travel purchases online this year, up from 114.5 million in 2011; online bookings will jump from just over $100 billion to almost $120 – to the tune of 98 million bookings.
  • First-time visitors to five-month-old Trippy are invited to sign in using their Facebook credentials and then are prompted to select a destination. The site combs data streams of relatives and friends to compile a list of recommended hotels and restaurants.

Best Travel Websites – How Does Yours Rank?

I’m helping to build a new website for a client and an interesting debate arose – who has the best website out there? Who should we try to emulate? Who can we learn from?

I reached out to many industry contacts and everyone scratched their head – not one site really jumped out as above and beyond the rest. A lot of people said they could name a list of horrible sites but hardly anyone could name great sites.

Now – I know what you’re thinking – ‘define a great site’. Nevermind SEO for a second, nevermind all that programming mumbo jumbo in the background that is necessary; I’m talking about which websites clearly state on their homepage what differentiates them, which websites make you want to hang around a little longer, which websites inspire even the most jaded of us to get out there and travel??

Here are a couple examples of gorgeous sites that tell their story effectively, whether by images or headlines. These happen to also be the companies that consistently win awards and are featured by the media.

I hear you whining already, ‘these are big budget companies and that’s not my company’ – stop whining. Most of these could be designed very similarly in a WordPress template and be cheap to update and maintain.

From the adventure world:

And my current favorite in the Voluntourism world:

So who did I leave off the list? What great sites are out there that I’m missing???