More than half of British holidaymakers are undecided about which destination they want to travel to when they start searching for travel products online, new Expedia research has revealed.
The study, one of three the OTA will do for the UK, US and Canadian markets, found the number of travel content site visits the typical consumer racks up is 121 in the 45 days before booking.
Expedia revealed its latest travel path to booking research focusing on the British market at this week’s Phocuswright conference in Dublin.
The global OTA said the findings underlined how travel brands have an opportunity to influence the consumer early on in their purchase path.
Wendy Olson Killion, global senior director for Expedia Media Solutions, said: “Travel brands have the ability to influence people because most are not decided when they start their search.”
The Expedia study found travel advertising has good recall among consumers with three in ten travellers considering destinations saying they were influenced by advertising.
Consumer exposure to advertising was found to increase as they get closer to booking but that advertisement recall drops by 65% as they move closer to conversion.
Olson Killion said: “There is more opportunity to reach people when recall is highest, then when they have moved down the purchase funnel.
“It’s important to understand the opportunity to reach these consumers across the funnel. Ad volume actually increases by four times the closer to a booking.”
Expedia has found that consumers are most likely to recall Airline and OTA adverts, and that OTAs are the biggest influencers during the purchase path.
It found there are 50 million digital users in the UK consuming content on various platforms equating to 239 billion digital minutes, or three days per month.
Three in four of those consumers were consuming travel content online, equalling 2.4 billion digital minutes, a 44% year on year increase.
Mobile has seen an even larger 82% year on year increase, reaching one billion digital travel content minutes. “People are very device agnostic,” said Olson Killion. “They are using all sorts of devices throughout the day.
It’s important you think about how you give them access to content that resonates.”
Mobile and tablet usage is bigger than desk top, with 27 million users versus 25 million and there has been a 44% increase in people using multiple devices.
However, despite the popularity of travel apps, mobile browsing “is king” said Olson Killion, and as smartphones get larger the share of browser activity could increase.
Mobile browser activity is particularly dominant for airline and hotel sites, it is number one for OTAs and the mix is 50:50 for ground handling and cruise.
Expedia found 88% of British travellers are travelling with a companion, and 63% with a spouse or partner. Among Millennials one in four are travelling with a friend.
Nearly 60% of Brits are booking trips of one to two weeks duration making the path to purchase complex as they consult with friends and family and research online.
The British traveller is twice as likely to book an international trip than a domestic one.
In the six weeks before booking people spend around an hour a week researching online. In the last week that jumps to 100 minutes.
The Expedia online travel behaviour study was conducted with Comscore.