The FINANCIAL — TripAdvisor, Inc. on April 12 announced the results of the “Path to Purchase” study, which provides an in-depth look into how consumers research and book travel online, and the impact TripAdvisor content has on these decisions.
The study, conducted by comScore in 12 major travel markets across the globe and analyzing activity on more than 325 transactional sites, shows that TripAdvisor reached 60% of all travelers (and 67% of U.S. travelers) who researched and ultimately booked travel online in Q2 and Q3 2017.
“The results of the Path to Purchase study show that on average travelers take a month or more to research their trip, and that during this time, TripAdvisor’s influence over consumers’ hotel and flight booking decisions is staggering,” said Martin Verdon-Roe, vice president of product & marketing, hotels at TripAdvisor. “This gives savvy travel businesses a crucial window of opportunity to engage with these travelers on TripAdvisor at a highly influential stage, especially through our display, metasearch and Business Advantage products.”
Globally, TripAdvisor is a Top Site for Travelers Prior to Purchase
The study determined that across the globe, TripAdvisor is the number one most-visited site and app by consumers prior to booking in the top travel markets included in the study. Every month, hundreds of millions of travelers come to TripAdvisor to read candid reviews, check out photos and compare prices to make sure they are booking a vacation that’s right for them. Following TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Trivago, Hotels.com and Expedia were the most visited pre-transaction sites.
The study also shows that TripAdvisor’s unquestionable influence of consumers’ travel purchasing decisions spans categories, regardless of whether consumers ultimately end up booking on a hotel, online travel agent (OTA) or airline site.
Vast Majority of Travel Searches Start out Generic
The study found that travelers don’t often have a clear destination or even a specific hotel, airline or OTA brand from which to purchase their trip in mind when they begin their research, and are increasingly more comfortable beginning their travel research without a brand or destination in mind.
While travelers might do many online searches over the course of their travel research, when looking at their very first search the study found:
73% of all first searches worldwide in 2017 were generic with no brand or destination mentioned
63% of all first travel searches in the U.S. in 2017 were generic with no brand or destination mentioned
TripAdvisor Users More Engaged than Non-TripAdvisor Users
Travel buyers who use TripAdvisor at some stage of their online travel research are considerably more active during the overall path to purchase (on all sites) versus buyers who don’t use TripAdvisor.
How Brands Can Influence Travelers’ Booking Decisions
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, hotels, airlines and other travel companies are looking for new ways to engage with travelers, differentiate their brands and increase conversions.
Last year, TripAdvisor announced a number of new and improved paid opportunities to help travel businesses do just that. Developed to address the specific needs of accommodation and restaurant businesses, the new products allow subscribers to showcase their properties on TripAdvisor, with access to industry-leading tools that help them harness the network effect of working with the world’s largest travel site.
Business Advantage is an evolution of TripAdvisor’s popular Business Listings product that empowers accommodations to impact booking decisions, differentiate themselves from competitors measure and strengthen their online reputation by leveraging industry-leading tools and reporting. Subscribers can choose from two levels of access – Preferred and Standard – designed to provide owners with a tailored solution to better meet their individual needs.
For restaurants, their page on TripAdvisor is fast becoming their window to the world. TripAdvisor Premium was developed as a cost-effective way to showcase a restaurant, helping it stand out to potential customers by pinning a favourite review, promoting the top three reasons customers love the restaurant, and displaying a multimedia Storyboard.
Most recently, TripAdvisor has launched Sponsored Placements, a new advertising solution enabling accommodation and restaurant businesses to capture the attention of travellers and drive quality, targeted traffic to their property by advertising in high visibility placements on the site, including above search results.