Deloitte have undertaken a study which looked at how people were using the internet and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to choose and book their holidays. Their headline findings were that:
- 15% of UK travellers going abroad use on-line Travel Agents to research destinations, offers and prices before they book their holidays
- 13% use package holiday websites
- 13% use price comparison websites.
For people opting to stay in the UK, 12% book their hotel directly from the hotel’s own website, 9% use a hotel comparison website and similarly 9% browsed a catalogue or brochure.
Many people stated that they felt much more confident booking their holiday on-line and many also use on-line communities on Facebook etc to check out holiday destinations before they book and to share advice, information and opinions.
The study picked up some other interesting snippets with the straitened financial circumstances of many people or the uncertainty around their jobs more people were waiting until the last minute to book their holiday. There has been a 60% increase in last minute bookings between 2008 and 2011.
The huge growth in social media and our increasing interaction with our peers through on-line communities has certainly been strengthened by the use of Smartphones and many companies are pushing development of applications that combine internet browsing with the shopping experience. On May 15th 2012 Virgin Holidays released their new I-phone app which uses augmented reality software. The app includes a store locator and promotes current offers and destinations but it is once you are in an actual Virgin Holiday Store that all the new features really come to life. Hidden offers only accessible by the app will appear on your phone and the app uses the phone’s inbuilt camera to bring you a heightened experience. Hover your phone over a brochure and a video will play of the destination. If you have an android phone your app will be released this summer so don’t worry you to will have access to this amazing application.
Virgin have always had a reputation for being at the forefront of developments and this app certainly keeps them there. The added bonus is that the app is free to download so if you have an I-phone try it today but make sure you try it inside a Virgin Holiday Store to get the full benefit.