Press release – 11 August 2008 – Oban Mulitlingual
Travel sites take note: there is much more to the international online travel market than Google.
The results from Oban Multilingual’s online travel competition show that international internet surfers are expanding their search horizons to sites that give them more international usability, more options, ease of use, and of course, traveller reviews.
The Face of Global Search competition had entrants play a flash game in which they answered questions about their online travel search behaviour before advancing to the next level.
Questions sought to discover the entrant’s next holiday destination, important qualities in a travel site and frequency of holiday tickets booked online per year.
Next to English, Spanish and Chinese were cited as the most frequently used languages on the web. Next down the list were French and Dutch.
The UK was the most popular destination for entrants’ upcoming holidays (24 percent), while 15 percent were planning a trip to Spain. China and America were the third and fourth most popular planned travel destinations, followed by France, Italy, Greece and Canada.
Despite Google’s popularity, only a third of the respondents noted the site as their favourite for looking up travel destinations. Trip Advisor was favoured by 18 percent of the entrants, followed by Alibabuy, Expedia and Lastminute.com.
The most important quality that entrants looked for in a travel site was ease of use (30 percent). Half as many favoured traveller reviews (15 percent). Multilingual sites and sites with eye-catching design were also highly sought-after.
Only one percent of entrants said they never booked their tickets online. The majority of entrants (19 percent) booked holiday tickets online once a year. Only slightly fewer respondents said they booked online two and three times per year, at 13 and 11 percent respectively.
Perhaps even more interesting were the correlations that Oban found in the data.
Chinese speakers don’t Google
None of those who surf the internet in Chinese chose Google as their favoured travel search portal.
Under half of those planning a trip to Spain were frequent Googlers. About a third preferred Trip Advisor, while six percent used Alibabuy, and some used Lastminute.com.
Frequent online bookers prefer Expedia and Trip Advisor
Of the most frequent online ticket bookers, only 14 percent used Google to search. In this group, Expedia and Trip Advisor were favoured, with Opodo and Lastminute.com gaining honourable mentions.
Different site preferences for French and Greek holidays
Nearly two-thirds of those planning a trip to France as their next holiday were looking for easy-to-use travel sites, while the same percentage of those planning a trip to Greece said they would prefer to see traveller reviews on their travel sites. Over half of those planning their holiday in the UK wanted easy-to-use sites, with traveller reviews coming in at a distant second (20 percent).
Expedia and Lastminute.com users want easy-to-use sites
Overwhelmingly, those who used Expedia were looking for an easy-to-use travel site. Lastminute.com users gave similar responses but also mentioned low prices and eye-catching design as being important qualities in a travel site. Sidestep users were looking for plenty of options in a travel site, while Thomas Cook users sought comparisons of holidays.
Multilingual seekers aren’t Googlers
Nearly three quarters of those who thought multilingual was the most important quality in a site did not choose Google as their search engine of choice.
Frequent Googlers want eye-catching design
Oddly, those who were looking for eye-catching design were frequent Googlers (two-thirds). With Google’s reputation for simplistic design, this could suggest a market for those Googlers looking for more eye-catching options.
Spaniards take holidays in UK
Also interesting was that only one third of those who search the web in Spanish were planning their next holiday to Spain. The UK was second most mentioned as their next holiday destination, with Italy, China and Croatia also gaining mentions.