TNS research for Google lifts lid on UK research and buying habits in travel

Research conducted by TNS for Google on travel booking behaviour has underlined the almost total penetration of the web but concludes the high street still has a role.

The UK study found nine out of ten travel bookings are researched online at least once, and this research takes place on both desktop and smartphone.

However, 18% of Britons booking a trip research their options online and then book in-store. This figure rises to 32% when the booking is a package.

The Mobile Traveller study identifies new trends about the search and booking behaviour of the British traveller.

It particularly focused on mobile usage of customers when booking a trip and researching holiday destinations.

The results show four out of five trips and approximately two thirds of all package holidays are booked online.

While nine out of ten trips were researched online five out of ten were researched on a smartphone.

The TNS research also found bookings are increasingly taking place online with 80% of all trips and 63% of package holidays booked online.

Although smartphone usage is increasing, the study also shows that travellers are using different devices as well as switching between online and offline channels.

The report says 45% of research and booking is now cross device as travellers opt to use the device that is most convenient at a particular moment.

Google said that means it is essential for travel brands to be “findable cross device in the moments that matter for the consumer”.

The search giant added: “With 73% of smartphone research carried out spontaneously it is key for brands to understand how to target these browsing consumers.”

The research found people researching via smartphone were most likely to use search (35%), price comparison websites (28%) and brand direct websites or apps (14%).

Bernd Fauser, Google UK sales director “The research demonstrates that the way we research and book holidays continues to change with consumers skipping between devices throughout the process.

“Nowadays, no device is most important as consumers simply use the most useful and time-saving device relevant for each specific moment.

“Even when buying package holidays, 32% of offline buys are now researched and influenced by online information.

“This means, that travel brands need to be able to adjust their marketing strategies to reach consumers in the moments that matter to them.”

Last week Google announced the release of a new marketing product called Customer Match for Shopping which allows brands to focus campaigns on high value audiences.

These could be previous purchasers, rewards members, newsletter subscribers, or even local in-store shoppers.

Previously available on search, Gmail, and YouTube, Customer Match is now available for Shopping ads.

It allows firms to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google securely. Advertisers can adjust bids across various segments of known high-value customers.

Customer Match for Shopping will be rolling out later this summer.

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