Tenth of travel searches lead to immediate booking

Only one in 10 search engine travel searches lead to an immediate booking, according to new research into the habits of travel product-buying consumers.

The Yahoo! Search Marketing study, carried out by Internet research firm comScore Networks, found 45% of bookings took place more than four weeks after the initial search.

Yahoo! Search Marketing development director Nick Jones said the study, which covered 7,500 Internet users, demonstrates search engines’ important role in the research of holidays.

He said a similar Yahoo! study in the US showed 20% of web searches lead to an immediate booking.

A follow-up survey of 300 UK surfers revealed 39% visited a travel site they did not plan to visit. A quarter said they considered a brand they had not heard of on the basis that the company was placed at the top of search engine results.

Jones added: “Marketers need to consider the strategic aspects of the search engines as a method of discovery for new brands and services.”

The research concluded that search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL and Ask Jeeves, generated 9.8 million travel purchases in the three-month period between December 2005 and February 2006.

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