2023 Travel Marketing Trends
12 Dec 2022

What should the hospitality industry expect for the travel sector in 2023? Thanksgiving numbers may show the demand for flights increasing, but does this bump signify a long-term uptick in travel spending? Provoke Insights, a full-service market research firm, investigated what is happening in the market and how this will impact brands in the hospitality industry.

Inflation’s Impacts on Travel 

Thanksgiving travel numbers reached the highest levels since the pandemic’s start. With airport attendance measuring in the millions, airlines may jump to conclusions and prepare for a busy winter moving forward. However, with the skies more open than they have been in years and fewer regulations for travel being enforced, Families may have rushed to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones with whom they have not been able to spend time.

However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that inflation has drastically impacted airline prices, with prices rising 42.9% in just one year. As inflation impacts discretionary spending, will this prevent people from vacationing? 

Consumers’ Reaction to the Economy 

Provoke Insights’ research has found that almost three-quarters of Americans (70%) report being more budget conscious. Since Spring 2022, the following changes have occurred: 

  • Only a fifth of consumers expects to travel in the next three months, down 12%.
  • 16% of consumers booked a hotel in the last month, a five percent decline.
  • 15% purchased airline tickets, a decline of five percent.

What Most Influences Purchases of Airline Tickets and Booking Hotels

Price (76%) and availability (41%) are the largest motivators to purchasing airline tickets—only a quarter care about quality. As a result, deals and specials would move the needle when it comes to purchases of these tickets. Promoting specials such as free baggage check and free wifi or emphasizing lower-tier seating prices, such as “basic economy,” could draw Americans on the fence about vacationing. In addition, showing that your airline has convenient times to travel may also be helpful to consumers. 

While price is also a concern when selecting a hotel, over half (53%) consider quality a primary deciding factor. An emphasis on the facility amenities and room features can pique the interest of consumers, while package deals or multi-night discounts could alleviate cost concerns.

Age Impacts Travel 

Age plays a factor in the types of vacations consumers have in mind. Marketing and advertising initiatives must tailor communication (e.g., messaging and imagery) to best fit each audience’s needs. 

Regarding domestic travel, Baby Boomers and Gen X are more likely to create itineraries within the States. It is important to note that these travelers have a higher household income and are optimistic about the future. 

Travel brands can appeal to these audiences by promoting weekend getaways and luxury experiences. As these travelers are likely to have more expendable income, companies can market higher-end packages with less concern about affordability. From media buys and imagery to messaging should focus on what appeals to this age group. 

On the other hand, international travel is more popular among younger Americans, especially Gen Z, has the highest propensity to get their passports out. These travelers are likely college or post-college-age who are ready to escape and explore the world after two years of isolation and virtual classes. 

Travel brands should promote exotic “backpacking” friendly experiences for this audience. All-inclusive deals or organized group trips will simplify planning for these young adventurers and add an aspect of much-anticipated social interaction. As they are younger, affordability may play a larger role in their travel destination.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

2023 Trends in Market Research
07 Dec 2022

Check out predictions for this coming year from Provoke Insights, a full-service market research firm! Our conclusions for 2023 come from industry articles, blogs, government data, and our own observations. As inflation remains present and interest rates continue to rise, companies will need to re-focus their priorities in the next few quarters. 

One Research Project Needs to Answer Many Needs

Current economic strains have company earnings below expected projections. Research budgets may not be as robust as they have been in previous years. Research companies will need to think outside the box for creative solutions to make research go further. It will be imperative to tackle two objectives simultaneously and find cost-effective solutions to finding the appropriate sample. 

Tech Budgets are Slowing

The technology sector in the last few years has been on fire, especially during the pandemic’s peak. The rapid industry growth resulted in a need for several market research projects. However, that is not the case anymore. The intense need for technology has decreased as more people return in-store, in-office, going out, and traveling. As a result, this sector’s demand for research is not as strong as it has been previously.

New Sectors Take Center Stage

The United States’ commitment to rebuilding infrastructure and reducing the climate crisis has resulted in money funneling into construction and sustainability categories. Both areas will need research help to support the growth areas as expansion occurs. In addition, consumer-facing brands have the opportunity to focus on sustainability goals that may have taken a back seat during the pandemic. Brands will need research to understand the best approach to successfully implement these new initiatives.

The Need for Strategic Insights, Despite Automation

Automation has been a hot topic in the research field for the last few years. It’s been most commonly integrated into more and more market research tools to deliver the data and in helping to interpret the results. As this technology matures, we will see automation becoming more specialized.

However, as more research processes become automated, the need for data to tell a story and provide strategic direction is ever so important. You will need more than just robots to help with the research.

Researchers with strategic experience will be in high demand as they can uncover insight into the data through which AI sifts. Often researchers only create graphs and regurgitate the data. The need for storytellers to provide actionable results that answer business objectives is crucial.

Sampling Experts Needed

The days of “setting and forgetting” a survey in-field are over. Online survey tools allow for wider reach and quick turnarounds. Unfortunately, this opens up opportunities for bots to infiltrate, even if the survey software offers safeguards. Although many marketers may want to bring their research in-house as budgets are cut, many won’t have the bandwidth to implement the necessary quality checks while the survey is live. Research companies carefully comb through every respondent that comes in to ensure they qualify, answer questions thoughtfully, and do not rush through. These extra eyes on your survey will ensure you get accurate insights and actionable results. 

The Economy, Marketing, and the Restaurant Industry
05 Dec 2022

How does today’s economy impact the hospitality’s food and drink category? Has it impacted the dining experience? Have patrons changed their frequency of eating? Provoke Insights investigated concerns facing dining establishments in its fifth wave of the consumer trends research. 

Economic Impacts on the Restaurant Industry

Prices of services and products are rising across the board, and American consumers are noticing. When it comes to restaurants in particular, over 80% say they have noticed an uptick in the cost of menu items.

Consumers’ wallets (and appetites) are hit hard as inflation is impacting everything from supermarket runs to going out to restaurants. As a result, Americans are cutting down on the amount that they eat out. This is especially true at full-service establishments, where half of Americans are dining less frequently.

When patrons do eat out, almost three-quarters are making budgeting changes to their ordering. Over half are selecting cheaper items (53%), while others are cutting out dessert (42%), appetizers (39%), or drinks (31%).

To combat these concerns, restaurants must take an active approach to attract diners:

  • Fast food and fast casual restaurants can offer discounts and promotions to ease the concerns of budget-conscious consumers.
  • Fine dining establishments can consider unique offerings and experiences to attract diners, such as live music events, wine tastings, or new technologies.

Menu Availability Impacts on the Restaurant Industry

Inflation is not the only concern for those dining and food and drink establishments. Menu item availability and limited staff are other issues that are impacting dining experience.

Less than thirty percent of consumers are satisfied with menu item availability at restaurants. Many others have experienced being told their selection is sold out for the evening. To avoid these situations, restaurants can create more limited menus or prix-fixe offerings that utilize ingredients that are more assured to be kept in stock. This may mean fewer exotic offerings, but it will prevent customers from feeling frustrated that they can not order their first-choice selection. 

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

The Alcohol Industry and the Role of Online
28 Nov 2022

What is happening in the alcohol sector this fall? Provoke Insights investigated consumers’ alcohol buying behavior in its fifth wave of the consumer trends study.

Who’s Drinking Alcohol?

Americans like to drink! Almost half (40%) of consumers will be making alcohol purchases. These individuals are more likely men with a higher household income. They consider themselves more environmentally friendly. As a result, eco-friendly alcohol brands may stand out from the crowd. As these Americans favor shopping at small businesses, it is still important to have a presence at mom-and-pop liquor stores.

These consumers prefer to stick to familiar alcohol brands. However, in-store availability is a top influencer for 40% of these consumers when considering alcohol. To stay top-of-mind, brands in this category must ensure their products are available at multiple online and in-person retailers.

A Closer Look at the Liquor Sector

Vodka (21%), followed by whiskey (17%), is the most popular. While in-store still dominates for hard alcohol purchases (81%), over one-quarter of liquor purchasers buy online (28%).

The method they purchase online is mixed; online delivery services, big box retailer websites, national alcohol websites, and liquor store websites are all channels being used. Liquor brands need to consider the multiple ways consumers purchase online, as there is no single way.

Liquor buyers aren’t just drinking. They are interacting with their favorite alcohol brands as well:
Two-thirds (66%) engage with brands online, primarily through the brand’s website (28%), followed by social media (22%).
As brand familiarity is important to alcohol buyers, actively connecting to buyers online is essential for liquor brands to have an edge over competitors.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

Winter 2023 Trends: The State of the Economy
22 Nov 2022

The traditional holiday season is filled with family, joy, and tons of shopping. This year, inflation, the economy, and job stability are on people’s minds. How will this season be different from others? How should brands react to this changing environment?

At Provoke insights, a full-service market research firm, our bi-annual consumer trends study keeps a pulse on the market across multiple industries. The extensive study allows Provoke Insights to stay ahead of the trends and understand consumer mindset in the current moment. We understand how the outside world impacts brands!

Here is a peek at the groundbreaking data included in the reports.

Is Santa in Savings Mode?

In fifteen industry-specific reports, our newest complimentary research highlights how consumer trends are shifting. Three years since Covid began, fears of the pandemic have decreased, but consumers have other growing concerns, from inflation to the economy. Jobs stability is not as much of a worry.

This wave, in particular, highlights how these concerns are affecting buying habits as we head into the most spending-heavy time of year.

Consumers fear their financial future. They are experiencing price increases, particularly at supermarkets and restaurants. These concerns are lowering optimism levels below those of Fall 2020 and leading Americans to tighten their spending. Almost three-quarters (70%) of consumers report being more budget conscious in the past six months. Consumers eat more at home, make fewer impulse purchases, and buy store-label brands. One in ten say they are cutting down travel.

What Can Brands do?

As budgeting constraints affect multiple industries, brands must actively reach consumers this holiday season. Couponing or exclusive experiences may help consumers open their wallets and prevent buyer hesitation. Maintaining relationships with buyers through social media can keep products top of mind, giving buyers time to think and make their purchases decision less impulsively.

Though some strategies can apply across the board, each brand must decide what is best for their industry and company. Check out our industry-specific reports from our Winter2023 Trends, and keep following our blog for industry summaries.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

The Pros and Cons of Custom Competitive Analysis Research
03 Nov 2022

All brands, regardless of industry, are competing for consumer support and loyalty. How can brands best understand their market share? Competitive analysis research can be a brand’s blueprint to gauge how they stack up versus the competition. This research can measure a product’s awareness, satisfaction, and loyalty while also comparing the metrics to those of similar products. Though the research has immense value, conducting it can be tricky. Here are some pros and cons to help determine if competitive analysis research is the best fit for your brand.

The Pros of Competitive Analysis

See where your brand stands against competition

It is imperative for any company to pinpoint who its competition is in the market. Otherwise, how can you measure the success of your product? Competitive analysis can help answer a number of questions about how your brand is perceived compared to the competition in the market. How aware are consumers of your brand vs. others? Which brands in your competitive set lead in ad awareness? And ultimately, which brands do consumers prefer? Answering these questions sets benchmarks based on other products to assess their own success.

Understand consumer choices

Just as important as “what” brands consumers buy is “why” they choose to buy them. If a brand is a leading choice among buyers, it is important to know what works so that the company can continue to provide these attributes in its products. Conversely, if a brand seems to be playing catch-up to the competition, companies will need clear direction on improving their offering. It is crucial to include probes within your competitive analysis to gain a strong POV of why or why not they are purchasing your brand. This will allow you to better assess the top attributes that lead to purchase and loyalty and the pain points that deter a consumer from picking the product.

Measure growth with tracking research

Knowing how your brand compares to the competition at a given moment can be helpful, but tracking the changes over time takes competitive analysis to the next level. Integrating a competitive analysis into an annual or bi-annual brand tracker can reveal consumer behavior changes as companies adjust their products and advertising. Though this can benefit any brand, this methodology is especially useful for companies that are not currently the top consumer choice. Tracking a competitive analysis over time can help these brands make adjustments based on consistent consumer feedback to allow them to grow and ultimately overtake the competition.

The Cons of Competitive Analysis

Picking the wrong competitors can tank your research

To run a successful competitive analysis, the brand in question needs to be compared to the proper competitors. A company may want to compare against as many brands as possible, but overcrowding a survey with too many options can flatten the research results. Additionally, brands may have different competitors in different markets, making a national study tricky to create and analyze. Companies should consider conducting preliminary research to uncover the true competitors to include in the analysis. It’s also smart to always include a question on unaided awareness to pinpoint additional brands that can be included in future waves.

You may be unprepared to take in what you find

Sometimes research needs to be the humbling voice in the room. The nature of a competitive analysis could bring in negative sentiment toward your product and an outpouring of praise for a competitive brand. Sorting through such results can be disappointing and difficult to accept. For this reason, it is important to design your survey to give you strategic results and clear calls to action. As a result, your brand will likely see improvements in future waves.

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Brand Benchmarks and Norms: Where does your brand stand?
01 Sep 2022

How does your brand measure up in your industry? What is driving brand equity? And how can your brand stand out in a saturated marketplace? Does your advertising work better than your competition? Brands should look to benchmarks and norms to answer these questions. 

Provoke Insights has released multiple benchmarks that can be used to understand where an industry stacks up against others. Marketers can also use the data to determine where their brand is compared to others in its category.

Brand Equity Benchmarks

How strong is the power of the brand? How does your brand fit compared to the industry? Provoke Insights evaluated hundreds of brands toå come up with the industry average. 

The chart below assesses different characteristics that influence brand equity. The data below represents the general population according to the US Census. Each question was asked about the brands in the category below via a 7-point agree scale. The data shows an aggregate of the top three of the agreed scale.

Fits Needs Leader Innovative Purchase in the Next Year Pay More for Brand
Average 80% 78% 77% 77% 71%
Alcoholic Beverages 74% 76% 69% 76% 66%
Automotives 80% 79% 78% 65% 73%
Banking & Investing 82% 77% 78% 82% 64%
Beauty 76% 73% 73% 75% 72%
Cleaning Supplies 85% 84% 82% 87% 77%
Clothing 83% 78% 77% 81% 73%
Ecommerce 81% 79% 78% 82% 69%
Footwear 87% 82% 79% 81% 77%
Furniture 78% 75% 73% 70% 71%
Hospitality/

Tourism

77% 75% 75% 70% 68%
Insurance 83% 78% 74% 81% 65%
Luxury 70% 81% 80% 62% 71%
Non-Alcoholic Beverages 79% 78% 73% 79% 67%
Outdoors 77% 79% 77% 72% 70%
Technology 85% 82% 83% 76% 73%
Toys 73% 76% 77% 72% 74%

Brand Loyalty Benchmarks

Consumers are more loyal to some industries than others. So, what does that mean? Some shoppers tend to stick with their favorite brand over and over again. This is particularly true in the automotive industry. However, in the hotel industry, travelers are less loyal as they want to try new brands.

The Brand Loyalty Benchmarks are based on a five-point scale from “only purchasing the brand” to “only purchasing other brands.” The loyalty score is calculated by the mean overall industry score minus the individual category score. For more information, visit out Spring 2022 Trends Page.

Industry  Loyalty Score 
Automobiles  14.31
Major appliances 12.61
Airline 11.11
Cruise line 9.01
Power tools  7.71
Skincare 6.11
Electronics 6.01
Fine Jewelry/watches 2.41
Beauty supplies 2.51
Hotel -7.19

Proprietary Advertising Norms 

Provoke Insights also has several proprietary industry norms to help with advertising testing. These benchmarks are based on an aggregate of several ad tests. This information helps determine if the assessment of the marketing material is below or above the competitive advertisements.

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Furniture in 2022
25 Aug 2022

While furniture tends to be a household item purchased infrequently, there are plenty of consumers who recently bought in this category. Among those who are buying furniture, what are their similarities and motives? How do these consumers feel about furniture brands? Where are they going to make their purchases? In Provoke Insights’ fourth wave of in-house research, we aimed to discover consumer mindsets, purchasing trends, and brand loyalty in several industries, including furniture.

Who’s Buying Furniture?

In the last month, nearly one in ten Americans (9%) purchased furniture. These consumers were more likely to be employed full-time and have children. They are also willing to pay more for sustainably sourced items and read the newspaper weekly. Interestingly, furniture shoppers are more concerned about shopping in-store due to COVID.

A major home improvement was a common motivator for furniture purchases. Furniture shoppers were also more likely to have recently moved homes. Furthermore, these shoppers have discretionary income to spend. In addition to furniture, they are buying other high-ticket items, such as electronics, vacations, and cars.

Where Are They Shopping for Furniture?

While in-store purchasing remains a popular furniture purchase method, online shopping in this category and catching up. Over two-fifths of furniture shoppers (43%) used the Internet for their purchases. The main reason for buying furniture online was the ease of purchase, followed by lower prices, free delivery, and more inventory available.

However, the in-store experience is not going away as the majority (79%) of consumers want to buy future furniture in stores. Those who plan to purchase online are younger, parents, affluent, and living in urban areas. Additionally, these online furniture purchasers are willing to pay more for sustainably sourced items.

Lack of Loyalty

Brand loyalty in the furniture industry is not high. Less than one-third of consumers (31%) said that they only or mostly purchase one brand of furniture. The majority of furniture shoppers (62%) purchase from many different brands. This lack of loyalty signals an area of improvement for furniture companies to stay top of mind.

Download the full report for free here.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the spring of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

Market Research and the Food Industry: Branding
10 Aug 2022

When it comes to launching a new food brand or line, market research can be make or break in determining the product’s success. Research can answer questions such as:

  • What is the ideal price for the product?
  • Who has the highest propensity to purchase the product?
  • What markets would the product be most successful in? 
  • What are the current eating habits of prospects and customers?
  • Who is the competition?

Market research surely isn’t the only contributor to a product’s success, but it is a good place to start in ensuring a baseline of security within the market. Included below are the different ways market research could be helpful within the food industry context.

Ideal Price

When trying to determine the perfect price for a product, there are a lot of possible market research techniques to implement. One of the most widely used techniques is the Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter. This technique has participants assign prices to various prompts to understand the individual’s perception of the product’s value. Through plotting all of the price points collected, the ultimate result is theoretically the ideal price, something falling in between too-cheap and too-expensive.

Ideal Audience

One of the most utilized market research techniques to determine who the product should be marketed to is the use of segmentation. Researchers will ask consumers questions about themselves and their likelihood to purchase in an attempt to subdivide the market into more and less receptive consumers. Segmentation is a great technique because it helps companies better understand the sub-groups within their market and the different characteristics that are associated with each. This helps with understanding not only who to market to but how to market to them as well. 

Ideal Market

To help a company understand how successful their product is in a particular market, a company can determine a product’s market penetration. This involves quantifying how much of the market uses their product. This number can then be compared to their competitors to understand where they are falling short and thriving. Once this analysis is complete, a company can attempt to explore different marketing channels to increase its market share. Different channels could include premium and wholesale, for example. 

Trends

Market research can also be extremely helpful in understanding the current market situation. Because the economy, inflation, and world politics are so dynamic, companies must have a solid read on their market to ensure their product’s success. For example, in the last decade there has been a massive shift from brick and mortar stores to online purchasing platforms. Market research can help companies understand how best to market to their consumers in an increasingly online world, whether that means redesigning their websites, increasing their SEO, paying for pop-up ads, etc. In any case, it is essential that companies stay ahead of the curve and continuously iterate their marketing strategies. 

Understanding the Competition

Not only does market research help a company understand how customers are interacting with their product, but also their competitors. Especially in the hyper-competitive food industry market, companies that have a good understanding of their competitors will be able to better differentiate their products from the pack.  

Conclusion

As our world continues to change and evolve, so does the market. Consumer needs and preferences sometimes can be hard to keep up with, but market research allows companies to stay ahead of the curve during all product development and launch stages. This research is helpful and necessary to ensure the product’s initial and continued success. 

Interested in reading more on market research? Check out our other blogs here. 
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Alcohol in 2022
09 Aug 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic changed peoples’ going-out habits. For countless months, people had to take a pause on their normal activities, such as going out to bars, restaurants, and parties. Quarantine and social distancing became the new normal. In fall 2021, as people began to venture out more and more, we saw an increase in alcohol purchasing. In the spring of 2022, Americans continue to purchase alcohol. But who is buying alcohol? What trends do they follow? Where are they drinking alcohol? How loyal are they to their tried and true brands? At Provoke Insights, we created our fourth wave of in-house research with the goals of tracking consumer mindsets, purchasing trends, and brand loyalty in several industries, including alcohol.

Alcohol Purchaser Profiles

In the last three months, 73% of Americans purchased some type of alcohol. Let’s break it down by type.

The Beer Shopper

Beer is the most popular choice of alcohol, with almost half (48%) of Americans purchasing it. These shoppers are more likely to be millennials, male, and parents. Interestingly, beer purchasers are also the most loyal to their brands with over half (51%) agreeing that they are only or mostly loyal to one brand of beer. As they have less apprehension about eating out at restaurants than other purchasers, drinking outside the home is not a concern for this group. In fact, one-quarter are ordering beer while dining out, and one-third are drinking beer at bars. 

The Wine Shopper

Wine came in second place, as 44% of Americans have purchased it in the last three months. These shoppers tend to be female and have children. Unlike beer, wine drinkers are the least loyal to a specific brand as nearly three-quarters are open to trying new labels. They are more likely shopping small business and online. 

The Liquor Shopper

42% of Americans are purchasing liquor. These shoppers are very similar to those who purchase beer;  male, parents, and are less concerned about dining out. While other types of alcohol are more often consumed at home or casual parties, Liquor is more commonly reserved for bars and special occasions. 

The Hard Seltzer Shopper

Hard seltzer has yet to become a popular alcoholic beverage of choice as less than one-quarter (24%) of Americans are buying it. Those who are drinking this product are employed full-time and are willing to pay more for sustainably sourced items. Additionally, these drinkers are loyal, as nearly half (48%) have a hard seltzer brand they only or mostly buy. 

In-Store Sales Dominate

Among all the different types of drinks, in-store purchasing is the most popular method of obtaining alcohol. Only 10% or less of shoppers from each category prefer to purchase online. While online shopping for wine was a popular method last year, it has decreased greatly. In 2021, 41% of wine purchasers bought wine on the internet. However, in 2022, this number has gone down to 10%.

Download the full report for free here.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the spring of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.