The weather had a greater economic impact on local UK tourism in 2012 than the Olympics. Holiday budgets are still constrained this year but people are planning more short breaks. Everything we think we know about the future of travel is wrong!
The so awaited Travel Seminar, organized by Arena at the fabulous Soho Hotel, hosted a grateful number of travel professionals last Thursday. From tour operators to travel journalists and art gallery directors, all attendees mingled with new industry contacts and enjoyed the five fascinating talks.
The morning opened with Simon Calder, senior travel editor at The Independent. His photographic tour of his enviable journeys around the world got the whole audience alive, expectant about the enormous change in the way we travel. According to Simon, “British Airways is turning into Easyjet and Easyjet is turning into British Airways”.
Bernard Donoghue, Director at ALVA, gave very remarkable insights in the UK inbound and domestic tourism, such as “London receives more visitors from Jersey than from the whole of China”. Although 17 out of the 20 most visited London attractions have free areas, Brits tend to spend a lot of money on museums and art exhibitions, especially temporary expositions, gift shops and cafeterias.
The way the emotional side of our brain works when it comes to making travel related decisions was very precisely explained by Justin Gibbons, Creative Director at Arena, and his colleague Mark Holden, Head of Futures. As human beings, we use a system of emotional tags to categorize the large number of marketing messages we receive every day. According to Justin, “higher emotional states result in more vivid memories”.
To finish up, Ed Cox, our Head of Digital, exposed some remarkable user experience examples to convert ‘lookers’ to bookers. Ed talked about the importance of removing barriers during the customer’s journey. If you take remember just one thing from his presentation, it should be “don’t get in the way of the checkout”. That’s why he recommends asking customers to register once they have made the purchase.
For every £100 spent on acquiring web visitors, £1 is spent on converting them. No wonder that the average conversion rate of travel websites is only 1.45%! With all our expertise, Arena can’t wait to change these figures.