3 people looking a travel destinations before booking

Expedia Group’s Path to Purchase research has revealed the travel content consumption habits of travelers as they seek inspiration and plan their trip, spending 303 minutes or over 5 hours on average with travel content in the 45 days prior to booking.

The research, conducted by Expedia Group and Luth Research, sheds light on traveler preferences and behaviors throughout the online shopping journey and illustrates where and how they plan and book travel, from the typical number of travel website visits and page views to destination considerations, trip resources, and influences at every stage.

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The growing role of travel content in the booking process

The research revealed the significant volume of content that travelers consume to inform their decision to travel, as they seek to refine their options in the 45 days prior to booking a trip online. On average, across the seven countries surveyed:

  • Travelers view 141 pages of travel content in the 45 days prior to booking a trip, and as high as 277 pages for travelers in the S., with these page views distributed throughout their path to purchase.
  • In the early stages of planning, research is more spread out (about 2.5 page views per day), while it increases exponentially in the few days prior to a booking, ending with 25 page views on the day of purchase.

It also highlighted the top resources that travelers are using in the 45 days leading up to purchase:

  • OTAs (80%), search engines (61%), social media (58%), airline websites (54%), and meta travel websites (51%) are the top five resources used by most travelers.
  • And four in five travelers visit an OTA at some point before making a travel purchase, indicating that travelers likely visited an OTA for inspiration, research, or planning purposes, even if travelers book on another website.

Travelers are looking for destination inspiration

Most travelers revealed they were undecided on where they would like to travel to before they start the trip planning process, with:

  • Nearly three in five travelers surveyed said that they did not have a specific destination in mind, or considered multiple destinations when they first decided to take a trip (59%).
  • And more than 80% of travelers from Mexico and 62% of travelers from the K. were undecided on their destination, indicating that these travelers may be even more open to destination inspiration.

Significant numbers also said that they are influenced by what they consumed on social media and in advertising.

  • Of those that use social media in the path to purchase, 77% use it for inspiration.
  • Nearly one in five (19%) travelers said advertising influenced their decision to book a trip. This number was highest among travelers from Mexico at 40%.
  • Vacation rental guests (26%) and hotel guests (22%) are also more likely to be influenced by advertising.

Cheryl Miller, SVP and CMO, Expedia for Business, said: “The traveler path to purchase is often complex, and full of twists and turns. This research highlights just how much thought and consideration travelers put into planning a trip in the weeks leading up to booking, as they seek to niche and refine their choices. This means there are many opportunities to connect with travelers before they make their decisions, underlining the importance of partnership, given that it’s essential to show up across multiple touchpoints and beyond your owned brand channels, as frequently as possible along this path. By providing actionable insights to help reach, inspire, and engage travelers during their path to purchase, we’re pleased to provide B2B travel partners with the tools required to convert their guests and customers.

Turning insights into action, here is the full report.