Monday, November 29, 2010

Are Kiwis Contemplating a Holiday?

Will Kiwi families be travelling this holiday season?

As we are fast approaching December, most Kiwis are starting to think about what they may be doing over the Christmas/New Year and January holiday season.

For those that will be going away for a break, the elongated decision making process of where to go and where to stay has probably begun for most consumers. They will be open to stimuli on the television, radio, magazines, newspapers, brochures, directories, friends, family, social networks and using work time to randomly browse the the internet for inspiration.

Never before has there been so much information available across all sorts of media. Before booking a travel experience, a potential guest will often go on a journey filtering different media to plan their holiday-break well before they leave home. Unfortunately many will become distracted along the way and end up purchasing one of those incredibly good value large screen LCD TVs or outfit their family with Apple devices instead.

In spite of the increasing competition from gadget consumerism, those that will invest in a holiday experience will inevitably make a decision last-minute. More than likely, accommodation at their first (or second) choice holiday destination may not be available by the time they start to making qualified inquiries. It is often forgotten that 4 million Kiwis tend to go away on holiday together at the same time of year.

The table at the bottom of this post shows the most popular destination and accommodation websites in New Zealand for the week ending 20 November 2010 and gives us some insight of what potential holiday-makers are looking at on the web pre-holiday season.

What stands out for us is the emergence of a new accommodation sector: The private "holiday home" market. Websites such as the AA's Bookabach and TradeMe's Holidayhouses are taking advantage of a flood of privateer homeowners that are increasingly willing to expose themselves to the short term accommodation market. Those websites that resell private homes appear to be solidifying themselves into the top-10 websites where Kiwis go when planning travel.

While the stats are interesting, they frustratingly do not give the full picture. Some websites in the top-10 are just informational postcards, some are Online Travel Agents (OTAs) while others are a bit of both. It is unclear if lookers are converting onto bookers.

We suspect that and are converting browsers into sales at a ratio well above all others. We also suspect that there are other sites not featured in the top-10 that are attracting solid bookings from Kiwis:

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