Interesting findings shared by Travel Audience illustrate indecision by travelers when browsing for trips.
Speaking at the recent ITB exhibition in Berlin, managing director of Amadeus-owned analytics company Alexander Trieb says commonly held assumptions about how many sites a travel shopper will visit before making a purchase are misleading.
Commenting on figures that consumers will visit anything between 20 and 40 sites ahead of clicking the buy button, he says: "The problem with an average number is that it is just an average. Travelers are unique!"
The company monitors "signals" of intent and browsing behaviour across millions of transactions, giving travel advertisers a snapshot of what they should be doing when trying to target consumers during the search and shopping process.
Some new signals
Trieb says consumers do have certain common characteristics when going through the travel e-commerce "funnel."
There is a fairly low-level amount of activity during the initial research phase, with the signals that the company monitors generally showing an uptick as a search intensifies ahead of a major increase once a consumer gets ready to book.
This, he says, has a big impact on where an advertiser should send their creative campaigns in order to capture the correct moment of decision.
Using the example of a traveler thinking of heading to Spain's Canary Islands, Trieb says that indecision means he or she is still searching and can be targeted with other destinations, such as Sardinia or parts of Turkey and Italy.
This is backed by Travel Audience's data that shows only 28% of consumers are searching for a single destination, with 72% considering at least one other location.
Such flexibility extends to travel dates, Trieb says, with more than four out of five (81%) of travelers happy to search for various periods of time for a trip, rather than solely looking at set date parameters.
There is perhaps bad news for online travel agencies that want to be at the centre of a traveler's entire shopping and booking experience, Trieb illustrates.
Some 85% of travelers do their searching activity outside of an OTA website, using content sites, social networks and other cues to get their ideas.
Furthermore, even when a traveler does use an OTA for their search activity, a massive 72% eventually booked their trip on a competitor website.