Tourism is a booming industry and online travel sales are fuelling growth.  In Europe they reached $170 billion by the end of 2012, whereas there were $15 billion more in the USA.

However, the same two markets will grow the least between 2012 and 2017. It is a different story for Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) where compound annual growth rates between ten and 20% have been forecasted for the same period.

The findings are from a new white paper released by market research company, Euromonitor, titled Understanding the 21st Century Traveller, which offers insight into trends on travel and tourism and how to target the next generation tourist.

AirBnB’s niche is widening

Modern travellers are increasingly turning to more economical alternatives to the hotel room. AirBnB has prospered as tourists rent less expensive lodging and homeowners look at other ways to finance a mortgage they might be struggling with.

The US, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Africa all appear to be more at ease with private holiday rentals. In Latin America and the Asia Pacific, consumers are less comfortable going down this route for accommodation.

Although the vacation market performed better than hotels in 2009, luxury travel has made some gains. Premium hotels and air travel expanded to the tune of 2-10% per year over 2010-2012, despite a decline in 2009.

Clamour for luxury holidays higher in Spain and Italy

Most of Western Europe managed luxury hotel sales totalling $1-4.9 billion apart from Spain and Italy. Demand for this type of accommodation must be higher there, as value sales fall into the $5-9.9 billion category.

Travel companies should be considering these trends, according to Euromonitor’s head of travel and tourism, Caroline Bremner, when targeting the various sections of society that make holiday purchases online.

“Technology is changing the direction of travel and tourism and it is imperative to capitalise on social media to reinforce a positive brand image, reach key demographic segments and create a conversation with prospective tourists.”