The travel journey begins long before the bags are packed. It starts when a traveler selects where to go from the abundance of destination choices across the globe. But how do they decide where to go?
Online travel shoppers take many sidesteps, turns and detours as they navigate their way to deciding on a destination. A new study on the Traveler’s Path to Purchase from Expedia Group Media Solutions and comScore reveals trends in how American, British and Canadian travelers choose destinations and make purchases.
Digital detours and destination selection
Travelers frequently begin the planning and research process with more than one destination in mind. The study shows that is true for more than half of travel shoppers in the UK and Canada. However, in the US, that number is just over one-third and can likely be attributed to the less vacation time most Americans get than their counterparts, making travel an even more highly considered purchase.
Source: comScore Survey, 2016
Researching around the world
Travelers consider wide-ranging destinations when planning a trip, from nearby cities to far off international destinations, while their research on destinations spans the entire globe. American travelers are two times more likely to travel domestically, while British and Canadian travelers are two times more likely book international destinations.
Influential resources impacting destination decisions
There are many factors that can influence where travelers book a trip, from recommendations, social media images, travel information sites, and much more. Across the board in all three regions studied, online travel agencies (OTAs) and recommendations from friends and families are the leading resources for selecting a destination.
Source: comScore Survey, 2016
The potential for advertising to influence destination decisions is significant as many consumers keep several locations in mind until the very end of their purchase cycle.
Here are a few ways travel marketers can connect their brand with shoppers throughout the purchase path:
- Find the right audience: Advertising can make an impact for those travelers who are considering multiple destinations. In fact, the study shows that advertising influences 27 percent of those who are undecided. Targeting effectively reaches travel consumers, as bookers are four times more likely to see travel advertising than non-bookers.
- Be consistent and persistent: Online bookers increasingly engage with travel content in the weeks leading up to a purchase. In the 45 days before booking, Americans, for example, make 140 visits to travel sites. Shoppers use different resources and channels to research, so it’s important for travel marketers to create an effective and fully integrated approach.
- Use a multiple device approach: Multi-platform usage is on the rise, so it’s important to incorporate a seamless content experience, so it reaches consumers effectively whether they are on mobile or desktop.
For more findings on how travelers choose a destination, and more on how to influence the location travelers book, you can download the research here.