Skip to content

Travel sector: online consumer buying behaviour insights

If you missed our Travel Connect event at the Ham Yard Hotel, London, here is a recap of the online consumer buying behaviour insights that were revealed, based on the analysis of Tradedoubler’s network data using its User Journey technology and insights from industry influencers, including speakers from Facebook, Somo, Captify and Venere Hotels.

Key take aways from our guest speakers’ presentations include: David McNiven, Venere Hotels, who highlighted the importance of hoteliers running reward programmes in 2016 and how the struggling Chinese economy is still a significant factor affecting the travel sector. Emma Crowe, Somo, spoke about the “mobile moment” when mobile traffic overtook desktop earlier this year. Tom Laster, Facebook, emphasised the importance of mobile in the travel sector for researching purchases — the most cross-device behaviour is exhibited in the travel sector — 69 per cent of people use a mobile device to research travel products online. And, according to Xi Weng, Captify, UK travel customers’ favourite destinations are Paris, New York and Dubai. He also spoke about the importance of context when searching for travel, for example, if someone is searching for the ‘Hilton’ in ‘Paris’… (Paris Hilton).

Our VP of Product Management, Jeff Johnston, presented travel sector data insights, based on the analysis of eight million sales across the Tradedoubler network using our User Journey technology. The insights showed that the average user journey takes eight days, 19 hours and 30 minutes. It involves 25 clicks, 1.59 distinct websites and between one and two unique sites.

average online consumer purchase journey in the travel sector

Across our entire network there is a clear monthly buying behaviour trend. Consumers that purchase mid-month have an average journey time of six days (more than two days shorter than the monthly average journey time), and are typically browsing a lot during a short space of time. People that make a purchase at the beginning or end of the month take longer to purchase, on average, but browse less. Based on this data, marketers can optimise their budgets by investing heavily towards the end of the month, as we know consumers will convert eight days later, the point at which average order value is at its highest.

monthly buying behaviour trend

Drilling down into the data and looking at the travel sector, we can identify behaviours specific to the industry to help inform marketers, allow them to benchmark their digital marketing activities against the sector and optimise budgets to increase ROI. The average travel purchase is quicker than the overall network average, taking just five days, 21 hours and 30 minutes to complete. Travel customers visit two or three (2.83) distinct websites, which is 78 per cent higher than the network average, and visit more unique websites too, while only making around five clicks, compared to the network average of 25.

When looking at the buying behaviour patterns (unlike the network average, which follows a monthly trend), buying behaviour in the travel sector has a weekly trend, whereby consumers tend to make purchases at the weekend and typically complete the transaction on a tablet device — 26 per cent more sales are conducted on tablets than computers during the weekend.

It’s also interesting to note that during the weekend, when average order value is at its highest in the travel sector, the average journey time is at its lowest. This is in contrast to the network average where we see journey time rise when average order value increases.

weekly travel trend in performance marketing

The insight gathered from the User Journey analysis of Tradedoubler’s travel sector sales indicates that when high order value is an objective, the time to target customers is not Saturday or Sunday. Budget should be primarily allocated to Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Jeff Johnston discussed the importance of clear objectives and how instead of simply focusing on achieving more sales, other KPIs should be factored in. For example, if you are looking at a particular margin, you might look at average order value or, as an example, you might have a large conference cancel at the last minute and need to sell hotel rooms quickly, with the goal being speed, before the inventory expires. Clear objectives inform digital marketing strategies, while User Journey insights provide measurement against objectives to allow tactics to be tested and adapted.

These insights are exciting, but it is the ability to analyse and make sense of them to drive strategies, that makes them powerful. Drilling down into data emphasises the importance of clear objectives and KPIs. Once these are established analysing their effectiveness is made simple, allowing marketers to optimise strategies and digital spend to effectively and transparently deliver on business and marketing objectives with demonstrable RIO.

You can find out more in an exclusive interview with Venere Hotel’s David McNiven and Tradedoubler’s Jeff Johnston, VP of Product Management and Dan Cohen, Regional Director, in PerformanceIn.

Please see exclusive photo from the event on our Facebook page.