City breaks - the new 'summer holiday' for connected generation

Technology is fundamentally changing the way young, digitally-connected urban dwellers research and book their holidays, according to new research.

Cold, dark January days are typically when we look ahead and start planning for our summer sunshine, so the story goes. However, the combination of affordable, easily-accessible city break destinations and ever-increasing mobile penetration is shifting the travel market to a more immediate booking mind-set, and creating year-round demand for weekend escapes.  

Exterion Media, Europe’s largest privately held Out-of-Home advertising business, through its award-winning consumer panel, which regularly surveys urbanites across the country, found that 57 per cent of 16-34 year olds had taken a last-minute city break in the past year. This figure rose to two-thirds (64 per cent) for those in London – renowned for its enviable overseas transport links. research

The research demonstrates the impact of new technologies and freely-available holiday inspiration on this trend, with 80 per cent basing their choice of destination on online research (83 per cent in London). The prevalence of mobile is evident in the research with a third of urbanites – and 55 per cent of those aged 16-34 - researching their holiday on their mobile phone, and nearly 1 in 6 booking on their smartphone (rising to 1 in 5 among young Tube users).

Mobile is continuing to have an impact on how urbanites research and book their trips away,” according to Exterion Media’s Category Director for Travel, Transport and Tourism, Laura Botton. “Our research shows that mobile is having an effect on how people are researching and booking their holidays – with access to the internet and apps that are available wherever they are. This is demonstrated by the fact that twice as many young Tube users booked their holiday on their phone last year as in 2014" research

For younger, digitally-savvy consumers, who are perhaps more frequently connected, there’s no shortage of inspiration with a plethora of travel research entry points available. From the survey we found that 4 in 5 young Tube users use search engines or travel review sites (81 per cent and 82 per cent respectively) to research their holidays. Image-based social media sites such as Instagram also provided inspiration, with 1 in 5 telling us it was a factor in their holiday research.”

Tellingly, when choosing their accommodation, three quarters (74 per cent) of 16-34 year olds also said that Wi-Fi was an important facility – a significantly higher priority than air conditioning (40 per cent), room size (34 per cent), or access to a TV (28 per cent). research

From a marketing perspective, it is apparent that this digital-savvy generation places great value on exploring the world. We believe that effectively utilising opportunities for prominent, travel-related Out-of-Home advertising campaigns that point consumers toward the digital channels, where they can find more information and take advantage of special offers, is an effective way of powering this continual appetite for adventure,” she added.

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