The Importance of Market Research in Travel the Industry

In an industry as dynamic as travel and tourism, market research is vital. It is usually the case that customer data is collected on a continuous basis in this sector. The matter is complicated further when businesses target many customer niches at once. Especially when these segments all have very different needs and different behaviors. A travel agency that targets many market segments may have to conduct several separate studies or forgo other studies to research one highly profitable niche. Nevertheless, when appropriately executed, market research can identify significant opportunities and help increase company profits and build travel brands. Read on as we discuss the importance of market research in the travel industry, the types of research, and how everyone from tourism boards to small travel agencies or attraction managers can benefit from these.

What is the Importance of Market Research in the Travel Industry?

Understanding how a traveler segment makes their decision and their pain points will significantly aid in how a travel brand serves its customers. These are what some market research studies equip travel decision-makers with. Furthermore, understanding who goes where and for what reasons helps travel brands properly position(or reposition) themselves and informs their customer targeting and promotional strategy. Other than that, research can also validate the feasibility of an area as an attraction. Simply put, market research is the end all be all in the quickly transforming field of travel and tourism.

The efficacy of market research in the realm of tourism is often tied to how often the study is repeated. As travel trends are known to quickly shift with the ever changing socio-economic and political landscape, data that was previously collected can become obsolete quickly. Due to the same reason, research in travel and tourism (although highly beneficial) can also be rather risky, especially since good research is not cheap.

Types of Research in Tourism

  • Tourism Barometer
  • Visitors Attraction Survey
  • Management Research
  • Rural Tourism Research
  • Economic Impact Analysis

What is a Tourism Barometer?

A tourism barometer is a data displaying system that is usually accessed by a tourism alliance (generally consisting of museums, airlines, hotels etc.) who all input data into the system. Data collected usually includes the number of hotel bed/nights, the number of foreign visitors in the airport, the number of tourist attractions visited by these visitors, and the number of city cards activated. This data is displayed and updated monthly to members of the alliance. This data system is excellent for noticing patterns as they appear and quickly catching on to travel trends.

What is a Hotel Bed/Night?

A hotel bed/night calculates how many beds in a hotel are occupied as opposed to the standard of calculating how many rooms or suites are occupied.

What is a City Card?

City cards are a tourism package that offers free access to certain attractions in a city. It is sometimes accompanied by free transportation benefits and often comes with discounts and promotional offers for certain restaurants, shopping, and entertainment centers.

What are Visitors Attractions Surveys?

A Visitors Attractions survey analyses visitor data across attractions of a specific geographic area to arrive at trends. These trends are then used by stakeholders to understand the market situation better and ultimately formulate strategies to increase the number of visitors and better accommodate existing ones. The findings from these surveys can also be used to inform regional planning and development work. 

Furthermore, attractions researched under this method can benchmark themselves against each other. In that way, this method fosters healthy local competition. Data such as visitors’ demographic and national background is collected from attraction businesses in this kind of study.

Here is an example of a Visitors Attractions Trends Report produced in England in 2020, using a Visitors Attractions Survey.

What is Management Research in Travel and Tourism?

Management research seeks to identify managerial issues or bottlenecks preventing a tourism business’s success or advancement. The study that a neutral third party conducts is almost like an audit of a company’s management and employees. The outcome of such research is usually a change in the decision-making process of a travel company. 

For example, it may very well be the fact that a travel business is well-positioned in the market and offers attractive deals. However, the organization’s internal issues or it’s being encumbered are holding it back.

What is Rural Tourism Research?

Rural Tourism research is when an institution evaluates the market potential of a rural area as a holiday destination and researches the possibilities of new product (or, in this case, new experience) development. Countries’ governments usually conduct this study to increase the number of visitations to their lands, help rural communities earn additional income, as well as increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s economy.

What is Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) in Tourism?

Economic Impact Analysis is a research method that accounts for how much tourism sectors bring into the economy. This is measured through both direct and indirect means. Variables measured include but are not limited to production caused, jobs created, wages and taxes accrued. Usually, a city, state, or nation patronizes a third party (usually a tourism research agency) to conduct such research for them. 

A metric known as the Tourism Satellite Account (or TSA) accounts for tourism’s contribution to the economy. 

Gulf Reps and the Importance of Market Research in the Travel Industry

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and destination representation company in the Middle East. With our many alliances and a rich network of travel experts, we are able to not only deliver superior cross-national travel campaigns but also stay on top of travel trends and quickly move to capitalize on them. 

However, what we pride ourselves on the most is our ability to direct the Arab traveler to our client’s destinations. This is our pride because the Arab traveler is often seen as the most sought-after traveler segment. Our strategic positioning enables us to influence this highly profitable segment along with our mixture of marketing, PR activities, and unmatched connections.

To find out more about how Gulf Reps can help move your travel business forward, don’t hesitate to contact us on +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at