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Bowker Study Explores Information Habits Of Travelers

Posted at 11:55AM Tuesday 24 Jul 2012

World travelers continue to find more reassurance in printed guidebooks than online information sources

Buyers of travel guidebooks are much more likely to travel outside their home country than general book buyers and they like printed guidebooks to help them get the most out of their exotic destinations. That's according to new research from Bowker, an affiliate of global information company ProQuest. In the new exhaustive study, Bowker explores the information-gathering and social networking habits of recreational travelers in the U.S. and U.K as well as how apps and websites help them in the vacation planning process. The study aims to enable travel publishers to plot rapid changes in consumer behavior sparked by new Internet-based resources.

"Travel publishing is at a crossroads. As consumers' use of the Internet and digital books grows, travel publishers have been investing in developing e-books, apps and websites," said Jo Henry, director of Bowker Market Research. "This research identifies the information sources travelers are turning to and how satisfied they are. In particular, we explored how digital forms of information compare to physical guide books."

The research was conducted simultaneously in the U.S. and U.K. Among the revelations: guidebook buyers' choice of foreign destinations and their pursuit of cultural activities as a major part of their vacation plans were key reasons behind the purchase of printed guidebooks. In both the U.S. and U.K., travel websites and advice from friends and family were important sources of information for all travelers, even guidebook buyers. Americans also rely on free printed leaflets, while British travelers opt for online travel forums.

Travel apps are used to help plan holidays – more often in the U.K. than the U.S. – and tend to be from non-guidebook publishers. American travelers are more likely than their British counterparts to say the websites and guidebooks they use are 'vital' or 'very useful' in travel planning. In both countries, websites from non-guidebook publishers received a higher usefulness rating than the resources provided by traditional travel publishers.

Use of social network sites has not crossed into travel planning in either the U.K. or the U.S.; so far, they are mainly tools for sharing pictures and experiences as well as staying in touch with friends.

The 2012 U.K. and U.S. Travel Reports explore the behavior and attitudes of travelers in three unique categories: guidebook buyers, non-guidebook buyers and non-book buyers. The reports are now available either separately or together, providing a full and detailed analysis of travelers and their information sources, with a commentary by Travel Publishing expert Stephen Mesquita.

For more information please contact James Howitt at james.howitt@bowker.com.





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