Global: What factors are deciding travelers’ choice of destination today?
January 24th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

Global: What factors are deciding travelers’ choice of destination today?

Travel may have gained new meaning for everyone following the pandemic, but what’s influencing consideration for travel destinations among global consumers?

A new YouGov survey has asked consumers from 17 markets what would influence them to consider a travel destination. Perhaps unsurprisingly, recommendations from family and friends emerged as the strongest factor (48%). That’s followed by deals on fights, hotels and activities (42%), ease of travelling (38%) and reviews from other travellers (34%). Next come seeing a destination in a movie, tv or ad (26%), travel brochures (18%), and lastly, recommendations from a travel agent (13%).

When we look at the data market-by-market, recommendations from family and friends comes out as the most influencing factor in 14 of the 17 places we surveyed. Nearly three in five consumers in urban Indonesia (63%) and India (58%) say that suggestions from this group of people is important to them. While it’s mostly in Asian markets where recommendation is highest, 52% of Spaniards also cite this as a factor.

In Singapore and Italy where recommendations from family and friends doesn’t come out on top, deals on flights, hotels and activities is the highest influencer (59% and 43% respectively). Urban Mexicans (53%) and Danes (37%) are almost equally influenced by recommendations from family/friends as they are by the best deals. Across age groups, the share of younger consumers who decide on their destination based on the best deals is higher – 18-24-year-olds: 45% and 55+: 38%.

Online consumers in Hong Kong are most likely to be influenced by ease of travelling. Three in five consumers (60%) would consider destinations that don’t require visas, vaccinations and other testing. This is not a major influencing factor in most western markets, with the share being as low as 22% in Demark and 27% in France and Sweden. However, it’s the second most popular choice among Germans (33%) and almost half of the consumers in most Asian countries and the Middle East pick this factor.

Two in five Polish consumers (41%) take reviews from other travellers into account – that's second to only recommendations from family and friends (48%). Spaniards too are more likely to be influenced by other travellers (40% cite this factor) compared to almost a quarter of Americans (24%) and a third of Brits (31%).

At least two in ten consumers from 15 markets are influenced by destinations shown in a movie, TV show or ad, with a third of consumers being from Singapore (35%), UAE (33%) and Australia (32%). However, slightly less than one in ten French (8%) and Danish (9%) consumers say the same, with US consumers being one of the three least likely markets to be influenced by what they see on screen (18%).

Once a major source of information in many markets, travel brochures now feature lower on the list. While at least one in ten global consumers are influenced by travel brochures, urban Indians have the highest share of consumers (31%) who say they like to flick through hard-copy marketing material before they come to a decision. Americans and Swedes are among the least likely to say they look at recommendations from travel brochures (12%), followed by 13% of Brits, Italians and Danes.

Recommendations from travel agents have some of the lowest clout of all the factors we asked about with the highest shares being slightly more than a quarter of urban Indians (27%), followed by Indonesians at 24%. However, surprisingly, when split by age the share of younger consumers who go to a travel agent for suggestions over-indexes compared to older consumers, with 18-24-year-olds sitting at 16% and those 55+ at 11%.

Nearly one in ten global consumers (14%) also said that they are influenced by none of the provided options when considering their travel destination. And while the share of those who said the same in individual markets is sometimes considerably lower, a quarter of US consumers told us this was the case for them.

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The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 511 and 2628 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in November 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.