TripAdvisor’s influence over booking options has been described as “staggering” by a senior executive at the online travel reviews site.
New research by the company found TripAdvisor to be the most visited website and app by consumers prior to booking, followed by Booking.com, Trivago, Hotels.com and Expedia.
The ‘path to purchase’ study, conducted by comScore in 12 major travel markets, analysed activity on more than 325 transactional sites.
It revealed that TripAdvisor reached 60% of all travellers – rising to and 62% of UK travellers – who researched and ultimately booked travel online in the second and third quarters of 2017.
The study shows that TripAdvisor’s influence over consumers’ travel purchasing decisions spans categories, regardless of whether consumers ultimately end up booking on a hotel, online travel agent or airline site.
The vast majority of travel searches start out using generic terms, with prospective travellers often not having a clear destination or even a specific hotel, airline or OTA in mind when they begin their research.
They are increasingly more comfortable beginning their travel research without a brand or destination in mind.
While travellers might do many online searches over the course of their travel research, when looking at their very first search the study found:
• 73% of all first searches worldwide were generic with no brand or destination mentioned
• 71% of all first travel searches in the UK were generic with no brand or destination mentioned
Travel buyers who use TripAdvisor at some stage of their online travel research are “considerably more active” during the overall path to purchase on all sites against buyers who don’t use TripAdvisor, according to the research.
Vice president of product and marketing, hotels, Martin Verdon-Roe, said: “The results of the path to purchase study show that on average travellers take a month or more to research their trip, and that during this time, TripAdvisor’s influence over consumers’ hotel and flight booking decisions is staggering.
“This gives savvy travel businesses a crucial window of opportunity to engage with these travellers on TripAdvisor at a highly influential stage, especially through our display, metasearch and Business Advantage products.”