The impact of advertising on British online travel consumers

When travelers go online to research and book their next trip, what kind of influence does advertising have? When are shoppers most likely to notice — and better yet, remember — ads?

Our research conducted by comScore uncovers the digital shopping habits of travelers in the UK and gives us an insightful glimpse into how and when advertising is most effective.

More than half of British online travel shoppers are still deliberating where to go when they grab their phone, tablet or computer to start researching1. There are many factors that affect travelers’ decisions, and advertising is a key part of the mix. For three in 10, or 30%, of travelers who are undecided, advertising influences where they ultimately book2.


When we drill down farther and consider just how many ads travelers are exposed to during the path to purchase, it’s apparent that targeted travel advertising can be highly effective. In the UK, travel advertising accounts for just 2% of all display advertising. But for British online travel bookers, 10% of ads are travel specific during the 45 days leading up to their purchase3.10-percent-british-traveler.jpgIn other words, travel bookers are five times more likely to see travel advertising than non-bookers. For travel marketers, this means that targeting is key.

As the research into British digital consumers shows, advertising does influence travelers. But that influence isn’t static. As consumers move along the purchase path, their receptiveness to advertising changes.

Week by week, digital travel shoppers see more travel ads as they get closer to booking. This includes all ads, not just those served directly on travel sites. But with increased ad exposure, recall weakens.

At the start of the purchase path, more than half of British travel bookers recall advertising. This recall drops to just 16% by the end of the path4.


For travel marketers, this means it’s essential to target advertising throughout the entire purchase journey, from inspiration to booking. Keep in mind that the opportunity to maintain share of voice is most powerful at the beginning of the booking path (when ad penetration is lowest and recall is highest).

For more data and marketing insights from our research into the digital landscape for British travelers, {{cta(‘dfeb148e-7c51-4fe0-b8e4-13f336e888ab’)}}

1-2 comScore Survey, 2016
3 comScore Ad Metrix, February 2016
4 comScore UK Desktop Panel 2016