Ve Insights Illustrates That Seasonality Rules the Travel Industry Year: Sept 2012 - Oct 2013 Review

By Kathy Heslop |

November 7, 2013 | 4 min read

Early November is the time for World Travel Market, a major event for the global travel industry. It’s been the Mecca for the travel market professionals since 1980, and currently attracts about 46,000 senior travel representatives, government officials and international journalists from all over the world who all converge on ExCel in East London at the same time. They represent over 180 countries and regions and are in London for the purpose of driving their businesses forward. Ve representatives were naturally in attendance.

The timing for the WTM is no coincidence at all: November has long been known to be a slow month for the Northern hemisphere’s travel market. From the point of view of the consumer, all Christmas trips are already booked and summer is too far away to plan. For the industry, November is the perfect time to reflect on what’s been achieved and to outline the strategy and the vision for the coming months, which tend to be much busier.

This perception of the industry cycle is supported by the statistics from VeInsights, a Ve Interactive data driven product. November appears to be a slow month for the travel sector (travel agents, airlines, hotels and experience events), both in terms of customers’ interest (measured by checkout baskets formed online) and online sales.

For instance, the number of online sales of travel agents in November 2012 was only 45.5% to monthly average for the past 12 months. Customers’ interest was equally low – 51.3% of total baskets to monthly average. It was similarly slow for hotels – number of online sales of 74.5% to monthly average and customers’ interest at 79% to the average level.

The airlines industry had it somewhat better – the number of online sales of airlines, recorded by Ve Interactive, stood at 96.5% to monthly average in November 2012. Customers’ interest in purchasing airline tickets was only 94.4% to monthly average.

However, after a trough there is always a boom time for each sector. January appears to be the busiest month for hotels and travel agents. In January 2013 travel agents’ online sales saw an uplift to 173.8% to monthly average; while customers’ interest to travel agents’ products grew to 164.2% to monthly average. There’s a similarly strong uplift for the hotels: number of customer sales is up to 137.5% to monthly average while customers’ interest is up to the level of 146.2% to monthly average.

Airlines industry sees a peak in online sales later – our data shows it’s April, the time when customers are making reservations for their summer holidays. In April 2013 the number of online sales of airlines grew to 145.1% to monthly average (while customers’ interest, measured by total baskets, was at 137% to average). Airlines sales stayed above average for the summer months – between 102 and 114% to monthly average, confirming that summers continue to be the busiest time for the airlines, including last-minute purchases to escape for more sun and sea.

Experience events sector shows a different dynamics. The number of sales in experience events peaks in December (153.6% to monthly average, as of December 2012) and stays very strong throughout the summer (varying between 110 to 137% to monthly average between May and August). Interestingly, customers’ interest in experience events (as measured by formed baskets) is highest in the summer months – 132.2% to monthly average in July, compared to 107.4% in December. It appears, that in December online shoppers are less inclined to abandon their baskets for experience events than in the summer, when the weather allows for more varied outdoors activities.


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