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Appreciating the Nuances in Travel Trends

Posted February 13, 2017

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Sweeping trends in the travel industry include online and mobile booking, self-service and personalization and use of the sharing economy. These trends are found in almost every market around the world and suppliers are responding to consumers’ changing demands with enhanced technology, new service models and more. Yet it’s the nuances within trends make them interesting and enable industry players to add extra value to their offerings.

Expedia’s The Path to Purchase for American, British and Canadian Travelers is based on online travel behavioral data and custom survey data and explores travel trends within the three markets. Let’s take a look at the trends and nuances their research uncovered:

Nuanced Trend: Digital users in all markets consume travel content, with more than 60% in the US, 75% in the UK, and 70% in Canada.

Nuance: Year-over-year growth of time spent on digital travel content, however, is 41% for US and 44% for UK and only 18% for Canada.

Nuanced Trend: The online travel audience is becoming more mobile. From 2015 to 2016, the percentage of consumers consuming online travel content on a mobile device has grown 4% in the US, over 22% in the UK and 18.5% in Canada.

Nuance: Slightly more Canadian consumers continue to consume the content on their desktop versus a mobile device (65% and 64%, respectively, in 2016).

Nuance: More minutes are still being spent engaging with travel content on desktops in the UK and Canada, while in the US, consumers now spend more time engaging with travel content on their mobile devices.

Nuance: Compared with consumers in the UK and Canada, who access most of their mobile travel information via browsers, consumers in the US are accessing more of their mobile travel information via apps (63%) versus browsers (37%).

Consistent Trend: Online bookers in all markets increasingly engage with travel content in the weeks leading up to purchase.

Consistent Trend: OTAs have the most engagement of travel site categories throughout booking path: 33% in the US and Canada and 32% in the UK. Plus, OTAs are the most influential online resource in bookers’ destination decisions.

Consistent Trend: People using social media in their travel research process tend to engage more in the beginning of their path to purchase.

Nuanced Trend: Europe is in the top 2 regions travel bookers research most.

Nuance: UK and Canadian consumers research Europe most of the time, 61% and 33%, respectively; US consumers research US destinations (31%) more frequently than European (27%) and Latin American (14%) ones.

Nuance: Rounding out the top 3 regions for the UK is Asia (13%) and Latin America (12%). Likewise, for Canada, the second and third most researched regions are Latin America (26%) and Asia (18%).

Taking the Trends to Market

The Expedia research suggests that each market can be considered individually to maximize success. At certain points along their paths to purchase, consumers in the American, British and Canadian travel markets demonstrate slightly different preferences that should impact suppliers’ go-to market approach for each region.

Suppliers can use the insights when developing marketing strategies to reach and influence travel buyers every step of the way. For instance, when it comes to promoting a special offer, a supplier may want to prioritize mobile or app-based activities in the US, continuing to carefully leverage the desktop/browser-based preferences of Canadian travel buyers.

For more insights into today’s travel trends and how they differ across regions and markets, explore:

Around the World in Travel Trends: International Booking Preferences

Trends Surrounding European Travel [Infographic]

Four Generations of Travelers Mean Four Kinds of Travel Marketing

And for more on UK travelers, specifically, see Booking Patterns of UK Travellers: Where, When, What, Why

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