Favoroute carried out research on its users and discovered some interesting trends. Our research also confirms what we already suspected – everything is online and now: everything is becoming mobile. The desktop research that replaced traditional use of guidebooks is now transitioning into the smartphones in our pockets and, consequently, the opportunities for mobile travel guidebooks are increasing exponentially.
The need for a travel guidebook app
The profile of the average respondent was a female internet user between 22 and 45 years of age who may or may not usually buy a travel guidebook. And whilst most of the people interviewed didn’t already know about any travel guidebook app, everybody identified that they could use one. Our research found that some younger users aren’t using travel guidebooks anymore as they find them inconvenient or quickly outdated. The smartphone revolution and the availability of an online guidebook app is working to change all of that and bring back guidebook relevance for young users.
After the internet (91%), tips from friends are the most consulted source when people are planning their trips, with 65% of respondents saying they’d look to those near and dear for advice. This conveys how people appreciate personal advice from people they trust. By harnessing the power of the internet and combining it with tailored content from reliable authors, mobile guidebook apps have the opportunity to change the way we plan our travels.
Amongst the 13 different travel styles Favoroute has available for its customers, City Trip stood out as the clear preference with 77% of respondents marking it as one of their two preferred styles. The undying appeal of cities proves to be everlasting. With so much on offer – so many sights to see, so many bars and restaurants to choose from – cities will always come out on top as the destination of choice for the majority. Travellers want a mix of experiences: they want to see the main sights but also get a feel for the local culture and as it is a holiday after all, they also want to relax a little. Cities offer this perfect balance.
The road trip dream is alive and well, as the next most popular travel style with 36%. Following that, Art & Culture, Travel with Family, Backpacking, Outdoor & Adventure are similarly popular with not much between them. Crucially, the research found that digital guidebooks were deemed to suit any sort of trip of any style or length and therefore all users can be served with a mobile app.
Who do you travel with?
Half of respondents travel with their partners. This figure was most likely influenced by the average age of the respondents, who are in a phase of their life where a partner will be the first choice of travel companion. In other research, 42% of people plan the trip together with their partner or friends, so it’s interesting to note that the choice of trip and travel style is often settled on as a compromise between people, and not by individuals.
With 1 out of 5 respondents choosing ‘friends‘, our nearest and dearest buddies represented the second most popular choice of travel companions. A similar number of respondents answered that they travel with family or solo, 14% and 13% respectively. In the ‘other’ category, we have every other type of travel whether you like travelling with your dog, cat or people you meet along the way.
The most valued element in a guidebook
When asked what they would do if they left their guidebook at home, more than half of respondents said they would carry a map and make their notes on it. The rest of respondents said they would either write down important information on a piece of paper or their smartphone. Surprisingly, no respondents selected the option of going to the tourist office to ask for information, showing how in this day and age, people are relying less and less on traditional sources of information.
Perhaps even more surprisingly, the most important factor in choosing a travel guidebook according to respondents is the availability of maps, even more important than the amount of content. It makes sense after all, as what can you do with a lot of information and no idea where to see it all? Maps prove to be the fundamental element of any guidebook.
When do you read your travel guidebook?
With the convenience of guidebooks being available on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, they are now accessible to their readers at all times. One of the best features of online mobile travel guidebooks is that they cater to all respondents – not only those who read their guidebook during their trip but also those who plan before.
For guidebook authors, it’s interesting to note that most people read their guidebook both during planning and during the trip, therefore the perspective from which the guide is written should not only address pre-trip departures but also those who are at their destination.
Mobile guidebook use
Respondents made it clear that use of a guidebook app will mostly be combined with other sources of information. Only 16% of users said they would rely solely on the information available in the mobile guidebook. On the other hand, 82% of respondents would combine the advice in the guidebook with other sources of information, whether that be a print guidebook, or perhaps general internet research or advice from friends of family. This really represents how people are sceptic nowadays about accepting and relying on only one source of information and how they are more likely to turn to other sources for validation or second opinions.
For mobile guidebook creators, its important to realise the content you create does not need to be an entire repository of information about a destination but instead the most important element to consider is the quality of the material presented. Other factors that are essential in optimising guidebook apps include interactivity, visuals and brief loading times.
Favoroute currently has guidebooks for destinations across the globe, from the major cities with their eternal appeal such as Paris, Rome and London to the unexpected destinations that truly set Favoroute apart. With customised maps, app-wide interactivity, stunning photo galleries and high quality content, Favoroute meets the demand for interactive, personal and mobile travel guidebooks.
All graphs and charts were based on Favoroute research carried out during 2016.