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Mindset-Trust

Mindset of the

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Headspace of the Modern Traveler

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The Trust Gold Rush: The Commercial Value of Brand Trust in Travel

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SNAPSHOT

  • Trust in travel brands will continue to strengthen as a key reason travelers choose one brand over another.

  • There are very real and measurable commercial opportunities tied to gaining and keeping trust.

  • The approach a travel brand takes to the information it shares and the way it communicates is the pivot point where modern travelers are giving and losing trust.

Over the course of our Mindset research in 2023 we saw brand trust steadily begin to surpass price and loyalty programs for influence on travelers’ choice among the segments we’ve studied. At the same time, 72% of travelers told us that travel and hospitality purchases are on their “must trust to purchase” lists, frequently being grouped with finance, insurance, and healthcare purchases. Not surprisingly, we also began to see the important tie between trust and commercial performance in the travel sector. Understanding what trust actually is and how it works for travel should be of growing interest for anyone developing strategies and objectives at travel brands.

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It's important to note that, in many ways, the travel industry is sitting in the ripple effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its acute impact on the role of brand trust. The purchase habits and expectations we all formed during this disruption have lingering effects on how we make travel decisions. Combine that with geo-political unrest and the impacts of environmental changes, and it’s easy to see why MODIV found 8 out of 1o travelers expect trust to increase significantly in importance for them in the next 18 – 24 months trust.

As a result of this continued trend, we’ve spent time over the last 6 months with over 4,500 global travelers to help us articulate how trust is defined by the traveling population and how best to interpret its many manifestations for commercial teams wanting to move their travel brands forward.

FINDINGS

1. Trust isn’t just a corporate value. It’s a legitimate commercial lever.

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7 out of 10 travelers are willing to pay significantly more for a trusted travel brand
72% say they will actively avoid or replace a travel brand that has lost their trust
  • Brand trust remains among the top three reasons respondents will choose a travel brand, with 87% telling us it’s a key factor for them when comparing travel brands, beating out considerations like loyalty status, level of service, and perception of the brand’s convenience.

  • 7 out of 10 travelers we surveyed told us they would be willing to pay “significantly more” for a travel brand they had a trust-based relationship with – a level of commitment that not even loyalty status or the availability of locations/routes have earned.

  • Share of wallet is also at stake when it comes to trust. 57% of respondents told us their number one reaction towards travel brands that earn their trust is to choose them over competitors. Conversely, more than 72% of travelers told us they will actively avoid or replace a travel brand that has lost their trust.

  • 62% of travelers also told us that when they trust a travel brand, they are “open or completely open” to trying new products or services from the brand as soon as they are released, without needing extensive persuasion or research. This makes cross-selling and upselling a much easier proposition.

  • An impressive 9 out of 10 travelers said their willingness to recommend a travel brand is directly related to their trust in that brand. In support of this, our analysis found that when a traveler feels trust towards a travel brand, they are 13 times more likely to recommend the brand to others, 3 times more likely to provide positive reviews and feedback in public forums, and 4 times more likely to advocate or defend the brand publicly. 

2. Trust: an emotion-light part of travel.

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6 out of 7 the average trust-rank travelers put on things like “value relative to price”, “quality of product/service”, or “how well the brand stands behind the promises it makes”
4 out of 7 the average trust-rank travelers put on things like “feeling like I belong”, “having a personal connection” or “sensing empathy and understanding”
  • Over 67% of travelers told us their trust in travel brands is primarily based on more pragmatic aspects such as “value relative to price”, “quality of product/service”, or “how well the brand stands behind the promises it makes”. More emotion-based elements such as “feeling like I belong”, “a personal connection” or “empathy and understanding” are important, but they consistently come up second to these harder, more objective drivers of trust, which is in line with how we see trust being awarded in industries such as banking, finance, insurance, and healthcare.

  • Of the 17 trust dimensions we tested, three are chosen consistently by all major traveler segments. 7 in 10 travelers will have at least two of the following on their list of reasons to trust a travel brand:

    • “I sense that my safety and security are actively being prioritized.” (Note: standards of cleanliness and attention to the spread of disease was a separate choice.)

    • “The quality of accommodations, transportation, and other travel services meets or exceeds what was advertised.”

    • “The prices quoted are transparent, with no hidden fees or unexpected charges.”

    • "The information provided, like destination guides or service descriptions, is accurate and reliable.”

  • For comparison, just under 36% of travelers had one of the following on their list of top reasons to trust a brand:

    • “Confidence that they will respect my privacy and consumer rights and handle my personal data responsibly.”

    • “Evidence they operate ethically, including being environmentally responsible and respectful of local communities and cultures.”

    • “Knowing that if issues arise during travel, customer service will be responsive, helpful, and effective in resolving problems.”

  • When asked which touch points with a travel brand are the most influential on trust, 6 out of 10 travelers say the most important part of the customer journey for trust is during their post-trip evaluation of how their experience compared to what they were promised in advertising and/or owned on digital properties. Most describe this as a transparent and honest representation of what they can expect – even if it’s not a good story.
  • Over 56% of travelers told us that how a travel brand responds to their need to change reservations or how the brand reacts to unexpected crises are key influencers on their trust. This is nearly five times more likely to be true if the respondent is an active business traveler.

3. Information is Trust Currency.

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74% indicated that a brand's marketing content or information on pricing and fees is crucial to building trust
67% of travelers will avoid a travel brand if their is a lack of pricing transparency
  • For 6 out of 10 travelers, a travel brand’s approach to information and communication outranked quality of service and responsiveness to customer service issues as the leading driver of trust. No element we explored appears to have as strong an impact on traveler trust as information – whether in the form of marketing, reservation-related communications, or final pricing, information appears to be a currency travel brands can use to invest in trust.

  • Over 74% of the travelers we surveyed told us the information most relevant to their trust in travel brands is either the brand’s marketing content or the way they present their pricing and fees. Critically, these are also the two types of information most evaluated for accuracy after a trip.

  • In addition to information from the travel brand itself, travelers are building trust based on what they get from other sources as well. The most cited sources were public customer reviews and ratings (e.g., TripAdvisor, Yelp) and word-of-mouth recommendations from colleagues, friends, and family. The way a travel brand presents itself and engages on social media was the lowest-ranked source of information.

  • Information can have a dark side though when it comes to traveler trust. As we noted earlier, the intersection between the information provided by a travel brand and what the traveler experiences is the most volatile place for trust. 67% of travelers say lack of pricing transparency is the number one reason they avoid a travel brand, while 58% told us it was hearing one thing in marketing and getting or experiencing another during a trip. While most understand these mismatches are often outside the control of travel brands, nearly 74% told us any proactive communication acknowledging the difference not only maintained their trust in the brand but also elevated it.

4. The translation of traveler trust to commercial value.

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81% of travelers proactively seek ways to support the travel brands they trust
  • Over 81% of the travelers we spoke with told us they proactively look for ways to support the travel brands they feel they can trust. When pressed, one-third say they are willing to pay more for the brand, another third say they actively look to choose that brand over a competitor, and the final third say they are willing to recommend the brand to others.

  • While there are some clear macro patterns when it comes to trust’s commercial role, asking different segments of travelers across different trip types, provides more specific ways to think about trust and commercial efforts. Here are just a few of the standout patterns we see when it comes to the manifestation of traveler trust.

How important is trust when choosing a travel brand?
5 = my top consideration. 1 = not even on my radar.
What influences my trust in a travel brand? The one thing I'm most likely to do when I trust a travel brand… What breaks my trust in a travel brand?
Look to highlight trust for those travelers who rank trust higher. Focus on these touch points and sources of information to build trust with this type of traveler. Focus on building trust with this traveler or trip type if you want to influence once of these metrics. Be on the lookout for these issues if you're hoping to elevate trust with a certain traveler.
Response by Most Commercially Valuable Segments
Travelers with big budgets
Travelers comfortable with higher nightly rates in hotels and more expensive airfares
★★★☆☆
  • Transparent Pricing
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations from colleagues, friends, and family
Road warriors
Travelers who take more than 5+ trips per month.
★★★★★
  • Reliability of Services
  • Customer Reviews and Ratings (e.g., TripAdvisor, Yelp)
High earning Gen-Xers and Millennials
The traveling population with the most income and generating the most demand for travel.
★★☆☆
  • Quality of Experience
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations from colleagues, friends, and family
Responses by Trip Type
Domestic trips ★★☆☆☆
  • Accurate Information
  • Customer Reviews and Ratings (e.g., TripAdvisor, Yelp)
International trips ★★★★☆
  • Transparent Pricing
  • Recommendations from Travel Agents and Consultants
Professional / Business Trips
Includes: Training and Workshops, Conference Attendance, Client Meetings, Sales and Marketing Events, Team Building/Retreat
★★★★★
  • Reliability of Services
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations from colleagues, friends, and family
Standard Leisure Trips
Includes: Vacation, Family visit, Reunion, Anniversary, Honeymoon, Solo getaway
★☆☆☆
  • Consistent Service Across Experiences
  • Recommendations from Travel Agents and Consultants
Experience-Specific Trips
Includes: Sports event, Art and museum exploration, Nature retreat, Shopping trip, Adventure travel, Cultural event, Music festival, Food and culinary experience, Non-Work Related Education, Religious, Gaming convention, Medical treatment
★★☆☆
  • Consistent Service Across Experiences
  • Professional reviews in Travel Guides and Magazines

- Purchase New Products Without Hesitation    - Recommend the Brand to Others    - Pay More for the Brand    - Choose the Brand Over Competitors    - Participate in Loyalty Programs

- When I Receive Inaccurate Information    - When there are Safety or Security Issues    - When Services are Unreliable    - When there are Issues with Quality of Experience

MODIV'S TAKE

From Insight to Impact: Leveraging Trust in Your Brand Strategy

Whether a new shift in mindset for travelers or something that’s been a steady consideration for years, it’s clear that activating against traveler trust offers travel brands meaningful commercial opportunities. Doing so requires pulling a very complex and sophisticated lever that requires a unified effort across an organization’s commercial teams – marketing, sales, brand, loyalty, revenue management – to align priorities and strategies. It will be a team sport and not everyone will even be aware of the rules. It will take proactively engaging with and educating all your revenue stakeholders on the value of trust and then mapping a playbook for starting to mine the value of trust. We’ve partnered with organizations looking to do just this, so if you’d like to chat, MODIV is always available to go deep on this topic.  

BE REAL

It’s clear that transparent, straightforward, and honest communication is critically important to travelers when it comes to trust. Carefully and mindfully looking at marketing messages, images, and pricing overviews will help. Additionally, when applicable, doubling down on post-trip communication when something hasn’t gone “as advertised” and acknowledging the impact it may have had on trust, will go a long way in keeping trust from eroding when the inevitable miscues happen.

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SAFETY FIRST

With safety and security-related efforts being another strong driver of trust, something we expect to continue growing in importance and impact, find ways to elevate these even more in your communications, especially with segments and cohorts who are more sensitive to these issues when traveling.
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MEASURE IT

With as much influence as trust appears to have on commercial performance, it will be important for travel brands to begin treating the measurement of traveler trust more formally. Look for ways to measure your strategies and brand choices in terms of their impact on traveler trust. Ensure you’re capturing the movements in trust over time with the most important segments of your customer base so you can stay ahead of trouble groups and areas.
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78% more likely to pay extra for trusted hotel brands
vs
67% willing to do the same for loyalty programs
ABOUT MODIV MINDSET

MODIV findings represent

24,000+ travelers surveyed annually
22 Countries Represented
11 localizations
2,000+ digital conversations in a month

The Why & What

What is MODIV Mindset and why was it created?

MODIV Mindset is a bi-monthly global survey engaging with over 1,000 travelers across 22 countries and 11 localizations. We created it to supplement our clients' existing insights strategies, providing them with rapid, actionable information on connecting with travelers and their ever-evolving expectations in commercially viable ways.

What consumer trends led to the creation of Mindset? Modern consumers, particularly travelers, demand a personalized experience; they prefer brands that understand their unique needs and preferences. The hospitality industry faces numerous challenges in this regard, especially in the wake of the impact left by the global pandemic-induced disruptions. MODIV Mindset was created to help hospitality brands navigate these challenges and deliver experiences that are individually tailored and purposed.
How does Mindset help with consumer research needs? MODIV Mindset was designed to address the challenges our hospitality clients face in cataloging, interpreting, and using consumer insights. The survey provides agility, speed, price efficiency, and specificity. It serves as a real-world, inspirational starting point for our clients to develop unique strategies for identifying, marketing to, and fostering relationships with modern travelers worldwide.
Who are the target respondents of Mindset?

MODIV mindset tracks 16 psychographic, demographic, professional, and travel behavior dimensions – with standard segment and brand reporting. Each bi-weekly wave of MODIV Mindset is tightly screened to ensure we’re speaking with:

  • Travelers who are at least 21 years old
  • Travelers who take 4+ trips per year (covering all stay occasions) 
  • Travelers living in one of the 25 countries we monitor

We also balance our samples (oversampling when necessary) to ensure we’re capturing:

  • A balanced representation across genders
  • A representative sample from each country based on the percentage of that country's GDP made up of travel (inbound and outbound)
What parts of the travel industry does Mindset cover? The survey covers lodging, air, and car rental (including on-demand services). It provides over 16 demographic, psychographic, and professional attributes for complete, real-world segmentation. It catalogs drivers of expectations, preferences, and trust across these segments and explores expectations of travel brands at various price points and for different trip occasions.
What is modiv's approach to reporting patterns and trends? MODIV Mindset focuses on identifying patterns and trends that persist over multiple survey waves. We refrain from reporting anomalies or insights that do not recur or grow over several waves. Furthermore, our emphasis lies in understanding future-focused mindsets rather than past behaviors – we are interested in what travelers hope and expect in the next 6-12 months.
How is your research validated? Our results are regularly reviewed by industry experts for validation and interpretation. This ensures that our survey lives up to our expectation that it provides commercially relevant, real-world insights.
How have hospitality brands used MODIV Mindset? Our clients have found numerous applications for MODIV Mindset, from defining unique marketing strategies to building meaningful relationships with modern travelers. If you'd like to see specific examples or explore how you might be able to use it too, please contact us directly. 
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