By Kevin May

One inevitable area of travel exhibitions and conferences is that many organisations use the occasion to throw out some fascinating statistics and trends.

ITB in Berlin this week was no different – here are some of the more interesting factoids and tips from over the course of the week.

Google’s Future of Travel session, hosted by Dr Bernd Fauser, head of global travel top accounts:

  • Mobile phone is THE device of future – microphone, camera, touch screen, GPS chips, all elements that will be used for booking, sharing, checking in, research, inspiration of the travel journey.
  • Five billion mobile phone users and more shipments of smartphones than PCs by the end 2010.
  • Forecast for 2013 will see mobile users outweigh desktop, and by 2015 more search from mobile than desktop… possibly sooner.
  • 44% of Twitter feeds come from mobiles.
  • Desktop and mobile show different peaks and booking patterns: highest on Fridays for mobile, highest on Mondays for desktops (mobile figures highest for “bedtime browsing”).
  • 10% of Google search for travel is now on a mobile – looking for maps (especially at weekends), Google Places, Streetview, Google Goggles. Product search covers rail, flights, hotels, car rental, but less looking for packages.
  • 38% of Easyjet mobile bookings are departing within 10 days (desktop is 13%).
  • 70% of mobile hotel bookings are for the same day, with the peak day on Friday.
  • tripled mobile booking during Q4 2010.

Christine Petersen, president of Tripadvisor for Business:

  • Vital to consider a key trend: shift in social media from wisdom of crowds to wisdom of friends. Facebook is KEY and the industry MUST maximise integration to make connections happen.
  • 21 people every minute add a TripAdvisor review. Adding Facebook can help multiply share of voice.
  • Consumers are moving from desktop to the “second screen”, such as mobile and tablet. Most web use on PCs takes place during the week (working day), iPad popular during week nights, mobile at weekends.
  • Almost 10% of TripAdvisor site traffic now on the mobile site.

Rohit Talwar of Fast Future Research on Future of Travel 2020:

  • Turbulent decade ahead, with mobile leading a “What I Want, When I Want” demand.
  • 3D holograms and augmented reality technology to impact on travel for mobile, in-flight and tablet use.
  • Personalisation will become norm for use of the web.
  • Traveller behaviours: too busy to care; complex lives and some pressured by finance; many craving simplicity; and the wealthy are hard to please (growing demographic).
  • Industry will start to see co-branded hotels for signature hotels – hypothetical example, Armani Hotel in Dubai or a Rough Guide Intercontinental.
  • Build multiple revenue streams – asset light, insight rich.
  • Look at business as open innovation test environment rather than dev and roll out one model when perfect

Christian Boellhof of Prognos:

  • Megatrends: more globalisation (Asia will dominate world growth within ten to 20 years); North America will prominence.
  • Overall world GDP growth in next 20yrs around 3% (China responsible for 40% of growth, North America 20%, and Europe 12%).
  • Ageing population and growth – likely to be longer working life for all. Impact on tourism with see no less money but overall less leisure time. Impact could be more cash but it may go to health care/pensions, so less on travel.

Growth of mobile:

  • 40% will use mobile for destination information.
  • 39% outbound travellers own smartphones (more than half use for device location or augmented reality services).
  • 30% will make changes to a booking during trip.
  • 25% for electronic check-in.
  • 30% for social networking during trip.

General travel trends:

  • Up to 4 million travellers looking for new destinations, looking for value-for-money and price-led deals.
  • Skyrocketing energy prices and rising agricultural prices to hit overall travel strategy.
  • World tourism remains on fast track – (January 2011, for example, saw +8% growth in number of flights y/y).
  • 46% people say financial crisis not impacting travel decisions. 25% say influential, but figure was at 35% in September 2010.
  • 2-3% growth in outbound tourism predicted for Europeans in 2011. 3-4% for travellers worldwide.
  • Average global spend on a trip currently at Euro 1,141.
  • Europeans took 402 million trips in 2010, 3.5 billion nights away, around Euro 330 billion spent (slight decrease in spend on trips but an increase on accommodation).
  • Europeans also saw general growth of one-to-three night trips but a decrease in four nights an more, with leisure travel growing 4%, business travel 1%.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, cruise trips up 10%, air up 4%, car hire up 2%, bus up 1%, rail down -4%.
  • Top destinations for European travellers: Spain 11%, Germany 10%, France 9%
  • 51% of European outbound trips are now booked online, with more than half booking dynamic packages.