by Tanya Gazdik, November 17, 2016
The largest potential for impact occurs during the initial stages of the booking path when 66% of American, 54% of British and 73% of Canadian travel bookers notice advertising, according to a survey commissioned by Expedia Media Solutions, the ad sales division of Expedia.
As booking nears and users are exposed to more advertising, recall declines as much as 44%, illustrating that timing is everything and advertisers should target travelers early in the booking path in an effort to influence decisions.
“The 2016 Traveler’s Path to Purchase” study, conducted by comScore, analyzes desktop and mobile device usage, content consumption, resources utilized, destinations considered and the role of digital advertising in the decision-making process. It explores how the interaction between travel booking websites and other influential online and offline touchpoints can impact the purchase journey for American, British and Canadian travelers.
The research shows that consumption of digital travel content is on the rise with a growth rate of 44% in the U.K., 41% in the U.S. and 18% in Canada. Travel content is also widely consumed in each country by 75% of digital users in the U.K., 70% in Canada and 60% in the U.S.
While the growth rate, number of users and time spent on digital travel content varies by country, the study found that travelers in the three countries share some behavioral similarities when it comes to travel planning. During the research and booking process, digital users are actively seeking travel content and are receptive to new information; nearly one-third or more of online travel bookers across the three countries were influenced by advertising.
The U.S. market is ahead in mobile travel content engagement, surpassing desktop engagement more than a year ago, but year-over-year mobile growth was relatively stagnant compared to Canada and the U.K.
Across all three countries, more than 66% of travel bookers said search engines and friend or family recommendations were used most during the inspiration phase of their trip planning, followed closely by online travel agencies at nearly 50%. In the 45 days prior to booking a trip, Canadians made 161 visits to travel sites, Americans made 140 visits and British travelers made 121 visits.
During the research phase, share shifts to online travel agencies and hotel sites, as more than 37% of travel bookers in Canada, the U.K. and U.S. say they used these resources to narrow their options, and usage remained strong during the consideration phase.
Destination decisions are influenced by multiple factors, and more than 50% of British and Canadian online travel bookers started the research process with multiple destinations in mind. In the U.K. and Canada, the majority of users considered two or more destinations, while in the U.S., 65% of travel bookers considered only one destination. Eleven percent of online travel bookers across all three markets used social media while researching destinations.