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

13 April 2018

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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External Article: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TripAdvisorInsights/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/comScore-worldwide-Path-to-Purchase-2017.pdf

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