TripAdvisor: 80% of online travel buys take longer than 4 weeks to complete
13 April 2018

ACRO Global
ACRO Global
Digital Tourism
Marketing & Advertising

Boothbay Harbor - Boston
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TripAdvisor characterizes the research behind this report as suggesting that "Businesses Have Critical Opportunity to Influence Consumers' Travel Purchasing Decisions on the World's Largest Travel Site" [i.e., TripAdvisor].

Accordingly, the report is heavy on TripAdvisor-specific stats like:

  • TripAdvisor was accessed by 324M users in July 2017.
  • 80% of TripAdvisor users took longer than 4 weeks to complete a travel purchase.
  • Etc.

But I'm going to concentrate here on findings of more general interest.

Where people buy:

  • 33% of people worldwide visit travel sites.
  • 21% of "intenders" actually purchase.
  • 30% of travel purchasers buy from an airline site.
  • 12% buy from a hotel site.
  • 43% buy from an OTA site.
  • 15% buy elsewhere.

Average day of purchase, with day of first visit to a travel website being Day 1:

  • OTA site: Day 89
  • Hotel site: Day 97
  • Airline site: Day 101

Keywords used in initial travel searches:

  • Generic (e.g., "vacation packages"): 73% worldwide, 63% in the USA
  • Generic + Destination (e.g., "New Zealand adventure tours"): 2%
  • Travel brand: 21%
  • No pre-purchase search: 5%

Travel purchasers tend to spend more time researching near the end of the process, vs. beginning or middle:

  • Airline researchers: 37% near the end
  • Hotel researchers: 39% (generally in the week immediately prior to purchase)
  • OTA researchers: 37%

TripAdvisor says data were collected by ComScore April-September 2017 from 325+ transactional travel sites: hotels, airlines, OTAs, car rental.

The EXTERNAL ARTICLE includes an interesting breakdown of actual websites typically visited at different points in time by people who buy from airline and OTA sites.

A comment on the keyword analysis: The report is silent on conversion ratio and time-to-booking of the various types of keywords. Although only 2% of initial searches used Generic + Destination keywords, people who used that type of keyword may well have converted more quickly and at a higher rate than users of simply Generic keywords. Google is a fan of location-specificity, so don't neglect to take advantage of it in your keywords, ads and content.

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David Boggs    - David
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