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Online Travel Shoppers

The Secret Life of Online Travel Shoppers

Brits spend more and more time on the Internet

With an increasing number of Brits spending time online, their Internet lives have developed behaviour patterns just like those in real life. An average adult claims to spend over 20 hours online per week, including time at work. That’s almost three hours a day. Surprising as it may be, with our hectic and always-busy lives, we spend a lot of time online. This has become our new way of passing the time when commuting to work, relaxing, or during our bedtime.

Fuelled by smartphone and tablet technology development, adults spend now five times more time online than just ten years ago. Additionally, the number of adults surfing on the Internet has doubled in the past decade. With the growing numbers of Internet users and time spent online, different groups of onliners have created their unique virtual patterns.

For example, British online travel shoppers have their special ways when it comes to booking holiday trips. The whole process takes 45 days on average. During this time, they go through different stages and show specific online activity.

Travel mentality

The majority of travel shoppers begin their holiday search with more than two destinations in mind. According to Expedia Media Solutions*, British travellers are also two times more likely to book international trip and 59% are interested in one week or longer trip. On top of that, Brits like to travel with a companion, which is most of the time their significant other. Having said that, it seems that online travel shopping is a time consuming process and given a lot of thought.

Multiple devices

Virtual buyers use multiple devices for research and booking: smartphones, tablets and desktops, with the first two being the most often used. Three in four of 50 million people who use different digital devices in a month engage in travel-related content. Multi-device online travel content consumption is growing, the number of people who use different devices for holiday search and purchase almost doubled in 2016.

Online engagement

Within the 45 days of research, users visit travel-related sites 121 times. The closer the booking date, the more consumers engage with online travel sites and pay 18.2 visits per week on average. In the end phase, online shoppers check travel pages almost every day. The number of visits rises to 26.7 in the last week.

Information sources & decision-making factors

More than half of online travel bookers begin their search with more than one destination in mind. Those trying to make up their minds on their next holiday destination value friends and family recommendations the most. Online travel information sources include destination marketing organisation, travel information sites, accommodation sites, travel agencies and airline sites. Family and friends become distant voices when shoppers get nearer to the booking and more often visit online travel agencies and airlines sites.

Advertising battle versus shoppers attention

Three in ten online travel shoppers who have more than one destination in mind are influenced by online advertising which reaches its peak in the week of booking. Advertisers’ battle decreases shoppers attention when they are bombarded with advertisements. With the adds impressions rising towards the end of the booking path, the recall of them decreases to 65%.

No straight path

British online travel shoppers do not follow a straight path; their behaviour changes the closer the booking date. Online consumers use various information sources across multiple devices and visit travel agencies sites more often in the last week to choose destination and finally book their perfect holiday. With an average of 121 visits to travel-related content sites during 45 days of research, the number of visits rises to 26.7 in the last week. All this happens during Brits’ every-day life, with their heads bowed, looking at mobile screens and fingers scrolling through internet sites, on the way to work on the tube, train, in bed or at work.


*Research done by comScore, published in Expedia Media Solutions Blog.
Other sources: Ofcom.

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