The technology platform surveyed more than 1,000 UK and US consumers, and found nearly two thirds (65%) of all UK consumers have yet to book a holiday for the year ahead, and almost half (48%) stated they had not started researching yet.
As a result, the company claims travel brands will come under pressure from a highly competitive online market and conflicting customer appetites in 2018.
Qubit’s research also revealed that three out of five respondents will only consult two to five websites when booking their holiday. “Facing stiff online competition and a discerning customer base, travel brands will need to move swiftly to secure revenues if they’re to benefit from 2018’s peak booking period,” the company said.
Younger travellers and those booking for families were found to be most eager for tailored, personalised experiences. Three out of five (60%) under-35 year old travellers and more than half (56%) of family bookers found recommendations received from travel websites very or extremely useful.
Qubit’s research also showed travel brands’ personalisation efforts are being recognised by consumers, with nearly half of respondents (45%) saying their favourite travel booking sites made an effort to personalise the experience to their preferences and interests. This rises to 56% for under-35s and 58% for families.
This has driven a strong consumer appetite for tailored, relevant experiences when it comes to interacting with travel brands, Qubit adds, indicating it will be a key tool for brands aiming to secure revenue in the peak period and beyond.
Meanwhile, the company said customers had moved on from more traditional channels, with 11% reporting they visit in-store to research destinations, with 13% choosing to book their trip in-store. Less than 2% of customers said they used travel call centres for inspiration, booking or post-booking advice.
Dan Bensley, travel industry lead, Qubit, said: “As we enter the peaks period, brands will come under pressure to deliver more sophisticated online experiences if they’re to win over those customers yet to book holidays in 2018.
“Businesses that invest in artificial intelligence-powered personalisation technology will be well positioned to capture the low hanging fruit of the younger and family travel market. However, brands will also need to deploy an array of methods to appeal to the high-spending older demographic. This research shows that a one-size-fits-all digital approach is not enough in this increasingly hyper-competitive market.”
Quibit carried out an online survey of 529 consumers in the US and 523 consumers in the UK, using Toluna Quick Surveys.