How consumers move between online travel sites on their purchase path

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Expedia Media Solutions has released its Traveler Attribution Study, commissioned with Millward Brown Digital, that shows how consumers today move between travel sites online as part of their purchase path.

Options continue to grow for consumers looking to book trips online, making gaining their attention and influencing their decisions further up the marketing funnel more competitive. Travel advertisers need to consider developing a multi-funnel approach to reach consumers at every stage of the travel purchasing journey and optimize user engagement.

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The study examined the 45-day period leading up to hotel and air bookings to see the types of travel sites—including Supplier, Online Travel Agency (OTA) and Metasearch sites—that consumers visit online to be inspired, research, plan and book trips. The goal was to better understand the roles these sites play at every stage and the opportunities for marketers to influence consumers during their path to purchasing travel. The insights build on Expedia’s previous Traveler’s Path to Purchase study, which found that American vacation package purchasers visited travel sites 38 times in the 45-day period leading up to booking, with the consumption of travel content more than doubling during the week of booking.

Highlights from the new study include:

  • While shoppers utilize several types of travel sites, consumers touched OTA sites at some point in eight of the top 10 most common hotel booking paths.
  • For inspiration consumers start with Supplier and OTA sites nearly as often (40 percent and 39 percent, respectively) for hotels.
  • Travelers visit OTA sites for research and consideration more than any other category for hotels (49 percent).
  • Regardless of where people initiate research for hotels, OTAs are consistently the more common travel category immediately downstream of any influential touchpoint.
  • Meta sites are commonly leveraged as influential touch points, but Meta drives more traffic to OTAs than to any other travel category.
  • Consumers who start research on supplier sites are more likely to book on supplier, but not necessarily where they initiated.

Please find the findings available for download here.

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