Business English Listening Practice

Vacation Trends - Transcript

Discussion in publishing company about survey results and consequences of it.

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Sophie: OK, that was interesting Claire. Thanks for that report. Now I'd like to turn to what Barry has been doing for the last couple of weeks. Barry?

Barry: Thank you, Sophie. Now as you may remember, our group was asked to carry out a comprehensive survey about American vacation habits, especially pertaining to Europe.

Sophie: Could you tell us all something about how these results were obtained first, Barry, before we move onto the real bones of the results.

Barry: Yes, of course. We've been running ads on travel and tourism websites over the last couple of weeks and anyone who completes the survey had their e-mail address put into a draw and, erm, I can't remember what the prizes were, but you know, the usual sort of thing, mp3 players, mountain bikes, I think the top prize was a Vespa scooter. Pretty good really.

Sophie: Remind me to ask Stephanie. She was responsible for the prizes. I would have liked that Vespa for myself!

Barry: Now, we had a total of eleven and a half thousand responses so the reaction was pretty good, I'm sure you'll agree. We were also running ads for our European guide books alongside the surveys and sending another targeted ad to each of the e-mail addresses. I was speaking to sales this morning and they calculate we've had something in the region of 600 extra book sales through this promotion so that just about covers the cost of the prizes anyway.

Sophie: That's really good work, Barry. You've done a fine job with that survey. Now, to the results.

Barry: I just want to say a few words first about why we were doing the survey. Is that OK?

Sophie: But of course. Yes, we should hear about that first.

Barry: We are totally revising all our European City Guide category of guide books for next season, so we wanted to know why people were heading for Europe, what they wanted to do once they were there and what would persuade them to go back. Particularly relevant to ourselves were questions about what they used guide books for and how important recommendations about where to go were in their minds. Oh, and what financial category of tourist they saw themselves as - you know, budget traveler, biz exec type, and so on.

Sophie: So we had over eleven thousand responses in all?

Barry: Yes and I just wanted to outline a few of the main findings of the survey. We first asked people to say how often they went on vacation and 88% said they tried to at least once a year with 27% saying twice a year. We asked how many would be interested in taking a city break in Europe, which of course is the focus of our new range of guide books.

Sophie: Europe is still very popular, isn't it?

Barry: Well, it would seem so as more than two thirds said they would enjoy the chance of going on a city break there. Paris came out on top, followed by London, Rome and Berlin. That coincides precisely with the order in which our guide books on those cities will be released next spring.

Sophie: That's good to know. Now, what about the reasons people are coming to Europe and how can we use this information.

Barry: Well, we asked all our respondents who had been to Europe why they had chosen to go there over another destination and the main reasons were as follows, in this order: Culture, historical places, family connections, language considerations, that's for going to Britain or Ireland obviously, and finally because other members of their family wanted to come. I think the primary reasons given are more important for a guide book publisher like ourselves. I think we need to focus more on the cultural and historical aspects in our European City Guide collection of guide books. And I think we need to make that especially clear in our advertising campaigns for these books. In that way, we can both persuade people to go to Europe for the cultural aspects and also to buy our books at the same time.

Sophie: You said before that you asked the people taking this survey to classify themselves. What was the thinking behind that, Barry?

Barry: Well, we like to ask people how they see themselves as it tells us something about how likely they are to buy and use one of our guide books. People who see themselves as travelers before tourists, which was some 64% in our survey, are more likely to purchase one of our City Guides.

Sophie: In order to find out all the interesting things there are for them to visit in the role as travelers.

Barry: Exactly. Now another very important targeted question we asked concerned what our vacationers did in preparation for their big trip. How many of them would consider buying one of our guide books, for example. We ended up with a long list of what people do to prepare for a vacation abroad. Watching TV programs about their destination was the most popular at 37% of respondents. 29% would visit websites to find out more and then 22% would buy or consider buying a guide book, which is where we come in of course. Then there were some other answers given such as asking friends for recommendations, visiting their public library to do some research and getting information from the travel section of the newspapers.

Sophie: Barry, were there any results from this survey that you would say were surprising or unexpected?

Barry: Well, one of our final questions gave us a few surprises to be honest. We asked how reliable people thought different sources of information were, whether they believed everything they heard or read on TV, websites and in guide books like ours.

Sophie: And I presume they would trust our books more, wouldn't they?

Barry: We thought that too, which is why we were so surprised when both travel websites and TV programs came out ahead of us. It seems people trust the information in our guide books a little less as they consider the information to be possibly out-of-date, whereas websites and the TV are supposed to give totally up-to-date information. It's something I think we need to tackle in our next advertising campaign.

Sophie: Well, we certainly have plenty to think about. I can see the European City division is going to be busy for the next few months. Now, I want to move onto the latest sales figures for our Asia department. Now, you'll all remember how last year, it was...

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