Industry Update
Press Release 3 May 2018

Booking.com research exposes surprising gap between travel ambitions and reality

Despite the world at their fingertips, lingering anxieties prevent many travelers from making the most of their trips

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BOOKING.COM
  • Booking.com research reveals that travelers are keen to push their limits and seek out the new, yet are being held back by language barriers and niggling anxiety
  • Almost half (44%) of people today want to be a limitless traveler, someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different and is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to travelling
  • Yet two thirds (63%) don't believe they are being adventurous enough while on vacation and are missing out on making the most of opportunities whilst traveling
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Technology has transformed travel, shrinking the world with thousands of destinations only a click away. However, new research reveals a significant two thirds (63%) of today's travelers don't believe they are making the most of their travel opportunities.

Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travelers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has conducted research across 20,500 global travelers to uncover the barriers and anxieties which prevent people from making the most of every trip and reveal how they can move to a state of truly limitless travel.

The research shows that despite a world of opportunities one in five people (20%) have never felt limitless on vacation and one in 10 (10%) have only ever felt limitless once.

Nevertheless there is a strong desire to be a limitless traveler [i], with almost half (44%) of people worldwide expressing that aspiration and over three quarters (78%) wanting to make the most of every travel experience and travel with no regrets.

The Booking.com research also shows almost two thirds (62%) of people want to experience new cultures, over half (51%) want to taste local delicacies, over a third (39%) are keen to experience staying somewhere new and a third (33%) want to embrace meeting new people whilst travelling, which Booking.com can help travelers unlock in new places.

Overcoming travel trepidations

A common worry is the language barrier, as over a quarter (28%) of respondents agree this can hold them back from planning a trip and one in five (20%) are nervous about getting lost without speaking the local language. Travelers believe they are being held back by struggles to find accommodation (34%) and over a quarter feel anxious about unfamiliar situations when travelling (26%).

When asked what would remove travel barriers and anxieties for future trips the top factors respondents called out were great accommodation options (37%), positive reviews from other travelers (35%), being able to ask questions and directions in the local language (26% and 23%), and being able to order their favorite food (22%).

Helping hand from technology

Technology can help overcome these concerns as over half (52%) of travelers admit to using technology frequently while travelling. As a global leader in digital technology, Booking.com has already brought travellers its pilot Booking Assistant, an Artificial Intelligence chatbot which empowers customers to get first-line support for upcoming bookings, all through a single intuitive chat interface. With over 147 million real guest reviews on Booking.com travelers can also research and get advice in their own language before they go.

Booking.com is piloting a unique partnership in the US, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia with ili, the world's fastest offline translation device. With customer support in available in 43 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Booking.com is an expert at connecting people of different languages and this partnership will further help travelers to overcome their travel concerns around language. Booking.com, a leader in digital technology, is continually exploring how innovative technologies, such as this, can overcome traveller stress and enable travellers to discover more.

Pushing the limits

One in two (55%) travelers think the best thing about travel is getting outside their comfort zone, confirming that they want more unique travel experiences to push their travel limits. The top getaways which travelers haven't done before because they are too afraid, but would love to try one day include:

  • Volunteering trip (39%)
  • Gourmet adventure (38%)
  • Mystery trip (38%)
  • Sabbatical trip (36%)
  • Ancestry trip to find out about their heritage (36%)

In addition the top five trips that people have already been on and would like to go on again, as they allow them to experience travel to the fullest, are:

  • Road trip (54%)
  • Last minute trip (38%)
  • Solo trip (34%)
  • Long distance train journey (32%)
  • Backpacking or hiking trip (30%)

Traveling without limits isn't confined to the younger generation as although over a quarter (27%) of Generation Z (18 to 24 year olds) intend to take a road trip, Baby Boomers (55 to 64 year olds) are looking to get more adventurous with the trips they take and a fifth (20%) intend to go on a backpacking or hiking trip and one in five (18%) are planning a road trip. There is also a surge in solo travel to push limits with two fifths (40%) of global Baby Boomers having taken a solo trip in the last year, and a further fifth (21%) planning to take one in the future.

Pepijn Rijvers, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments: "Travel can fulfil dreams, exposes us to new experiences, and ultimately enriches our lives for the better. Not only do we want to connect travelers with amazing places to stay, but we also provide knowledge and advice about a destination so that no matter where you choose to go, you can feel inspired to see more, go further and embrace every amazing opportunity along the way. As an industry innovator, we are continuously looking for ways to use the latest technologies to take the friction out of travel and empower people to experience the world, wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do."

[i] Someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different and is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to travelling

About ili

Ili is the world's fastest offline translator designed for travelers. It can translate your words into other languages in as little as 0.2 seconds without an internet connection. It's simple to use, all you need to do is press the button and speak into it. Developed by Logbar, a Japanese startup, ili has been used by over 50,000 travelers around the world. ili has also received high praise from outlets such as Forbes. ili gives you a chance to explore different countries in brand new and exciting ways. Shop, dine, and navigate easier than ever thanks to ili's translation technology. Say hello to the locals and introduce yourself. You're bound to meet someone special. ili currently translates from English to Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese. Updates will be available in the near future.

About Booking.com

Established in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com B.V. has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com now employs more than 17,500 employees in 198 offices in 70 countries worldwide. With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At Booking.com, we connect travelers with the world's largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses and even igloos. The Booking.com website and mobile apps are available in 40 languages, offer over 29 million total reported listings, including more than 6 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, and covers more than 152,000 destinations in 228 countries and territories worldwide.

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