Reconstructing Travel and Leisure

Using TAM data to calibrate localization investment as you rebuild

Reconstructing Travel and Leisure

Using TAM data to calibrate localization investment as you rebuild

Arle Lommel

Arle Lommel is a senior analyst at CSA Research. He has extensive experience in language, linguistics, localization technology, and standards, and holds a PhD in Folkloristics.

Rebecca Ray

Rebecca Ray is a director at CSA Research. She has over 35 years
of experience in the localization industry, and an MA in Latin American Studies.

Arle Lommel

Arle Lommel is a senior analyst at CSA Research. He has extensive experience in language, linguistics, localization technology, and standards, and holds a PhD in Folkloristics.

Rebecca Ray

Rebecca Ray is a director at CSA Research. She has over 35 years of experience in the localization industry, and an MA in Latin American Studies.

Life will never be the same again for anyone on the planet after this past year — and especially for anyone working in the travel and leisure industry, international or domestic. How-ever, as this sector begins to look forward to reconstructing, multilingual offerings should be part of most organization’s portfolios, even in the case of much domestic travel. Language should now, more than ever, be leveraged as a wow factor to win back potential travelers by rebuilding their confidence that the experience that you will deliver will have been worth the wait. The time to prepare is now.

Integrate TAM Data into Strategic Planning for Localization

As you put together — or polish off — your business plan or ROI proposal for this year, make sure that you have data based on your total addressable market (TAM) for audiences outside of your principal domestic market. Note that the data shared here is pre-pandemic; we recommend that you decrease the numbers provided by the percentage that you deem realistic for your sub-sector. Regardless, Figure 1 shows an example of how to use this type of data.

The data provided in the graphic are an average of all companies in our current data set for travel and leisure. It is based on the assumption that the companies are selling in all markets where their languages can provide additional revenue and that they are equally efficient in reaching these markets. These assumptions do not describe the behavior of actual companies, but when averaged across all companies, they provide a reason-able approximation for the TAM targeted by specific industries. Use the following data points to benchmark your language selection and performance against the industry average:

  • The proportion of TAM held by English native and non-native speakers. English is the top language in terms of average TAM share. The portion for native speakers indicates those English-speakers that will not benefit from translation or interpreting services. The non-native quantity indicates those that will generally be vulnerable to competition from better-localized or local rivals that can provide native-language support for products and services.
  • The proportion of TAM held by English native and non-native speakers. English is the top language in terms of average TAM share. The portion for native speakers indicates those English-speakers that will not benefit from translation or interpreting services. The non-native quantity indicates those that will generally be vulnerable to competition from better-localized or local rivals that can provide native-language support for products and services.
  • The next nine highest languages in terms of average TAM. The figures for these languages round out the top ten largest languages in terms of average TAM. Populations for these languages are not counted in the English non-native range, even if they can also speak English. Of course, the language mix best for your company may differ significantly depending on what regions you target, the demo-graphics of your customers, and other factors.
  • The proportion of TAM available through languages not in the top ten. This figure is the average total percentage accessible through any additional languages, regardless of how they rank for any individual company.
  • Average number of languages supported. This is the average number of languages appearing on the sites examined for travel and leisure, excluding monolingual ones.
  • Average number of languages supported. This is the average number of languages appearing on the sites examined for travel and leisure, excluding monolingual ones.
  • Total number of languages supported. This number rep-resents all languages supported by any company in the sample.
  • Average percentage of global TAM forfeited due to lack of localization. This figure is the average potential TAM that companies do not address when they do not provide a language through which to access it.

Figure 1: Average global TAM by language in the travel and leisure sector. Copyright CSA Research.

Applying data

When applying data, ask yourself four questions:

  1. Do you rely more or less than the industry average on non-native speakers of English? If your audience has significantly more non-native speakers, you will be vulnerable to better-localized competitors. Aim to reduce this number by providing the languages that your customers prefer, even if they can use English.
  2. How does your list of additional languages compare to the average? If you are missing any of the top ten, you may be forfeiting significant revenue opportunities. However, make sure to evaluate these results in light of your global strategy. For example, adding Korean will not make sense if your expansion strategy is currently focused on Europe.
  3. How many languages do you support compared to the average? Global enterprises need more languages than do local ones. As your geographic footprint expands, aim to beat the average. Companies that treat localization as an expense, rather than as an investment, are likely to walk away from significant revenue.
  4. Is support for less common languages valuable to you? The figure for the portion of global TAM not addressed due to lack of localization provides a good idea of how much additional market share is available through localization.

The TAM figures can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your localization strategy. For example, if you only obtain 2% of your revenue from Simplified Chinese while the industry average is 16%, it may indicate that you need to improve marketing with the applicable market(s) or that you have significant room for growth. The language-specific figures can help you identify over- and under-performing languages as you reassess and rebuild your business.

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