MRS Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Conference 3/3


Rounding up our highlights of the MRS Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Conference, this post looks at advances in the use of technology for market research in the tourism sector and the importance of considering emotion as part of the holiday buying process.


As use of technology progresses in the market research sector it’s worth bearing in mind different techniques to help keep track and deliver insights.

Chat bots are being used increasingly within the industry to gather information straight from respondents. Rather than just another traditional PowerPoint presentation, video diaries are also being used to record short one minute reminders of key insights for internal sharing as well as a fresh take on a rolling delivery to clients.

When thinking about modern consumers, Kurt Stuhllemmer, Partner at Hall and Partners, said, “the way people share is becoming much more visual” and “we need to embrace this new way of sharing and communicating”. This is true of both capturing data and using these techniques to present to clients.

Interestingly Toby Shaw, Director of Marketing for Celebrity Cruises, echoed this sentiment talking about customer communication in general. He said we need to keep, “speaking the language in their world” and “get to know the customer’s voice”. This is a sentiment we whole-heartedly agree with at The Language Factory.


Unsurprisingly, emotion is a key driver and barrier in the context of purchasing decisions and, as we’ve learnt, none more so than for travel. What may be surprising is the amount of value we place on keeping our stomachs happy when travelling. According to Noreen Kinsey, Head of Retail and Leisure at Future Thinking, “we plan with our stomachs, food is a key pillar when deciding where we will go and what we will do”. She went on to say her study showed we can never underestimate the power of a cup of tea as, “nine out of ten people will consume food and drink when visiting leisure venues” and will factor that into their overall budget for the trip!

When thinking of emotions as a barrier, you may also be surprised to hear that thinking about paying for things often gives us the, “same emotional experience as pain” according to Dr Jane Leighton, Director of Consumer Science at Nielsen. Nevertheless, when they decide to buy, the action of purchasing normally makes them forget all about the pain points they suffered in the decision-making process.

Far from unifying us, our emotions, and their impact on the buying process, vary in different segments. Millennials, for example, are driven to get exactly what they want so achievement and excitement are key drivers. However, they also want to take charge of their holidays so companies offering package-deals have to think of new ways of attracting them.

Closing thoughts

The good news for brands in the tourism industry is that emotions help drive the affinity with certain brands, and for some segments the nostalgia factor will definitely have people coming back. In a climate of disrupters and accelerated digital change, it’s more important than ever to use insights wisely to capture, ‘identifying signals’ in amongst the ‘noise’ and know when to act upon these. As James Bland, Director of Hotels and Hospitality at BDRC, said: [those in the tourism sector need to have] “intricately planned agility”. Stick to your strategy but don’t stop listening for the insight that you may have to respond to quickly.


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