Late booking trend to continue says Efficient Frontier

Research into travel online search trends has underlined the move towards late bookings but an upturn in searches for short breaks suggesting the economic recovery is having an impact.

Cameron Lawson, account director at Efficient Frontier, told a travel summit held in conjunction with Yahoo! that advertisers should ensure they keep budgets back for the lates market.

But he said an increase in key words for breaks and city destinations of 21% in the last 12 months “shows a recovery in the economic climate in the UK”.

In the same period generic search terms were up 4%, late/lastminute holiday searches up 13%, package holidays up 20% and self catering holidays up 15%.

Travel Weekly TNS research has showed 52% of customers say price is the most important factor when choosing a holiday, while 38% said it was destination.

Looking at Google figures between 2006 and 2010, there has been a clear shift towards a later booking pattern and marketing campaigns should take account of this seasonality, Lawson said.

“In the last two years the major peak has been happening in July and August. Consumers are buying their holidays later and later in the year.”

Lawson also revealed that the actual travel purchase is happening earlier in the week, on Monday or Tuesday, customers having spent the weekend researching.

“We have been working with our clients looking for increased market share and volume,” Lawson said.

He also revealed there was a 6% increase in marketing spend among Efficient Frontier’s travel clients between the third quarter of 2009 and the same period this year.

Although 88% of clients’ budgets was being spent on Google, this only accounted for 75% of clicks, while 23% of clicks were being driven by Yahoo! from  9% of the spend. Search alliance partner Bing, meanwhile, attracts 3% of spend for 3% of clicks.

Pay Per Click remains the main driver of transactions and commissions, Lawson said, accounting for around one third ahead of the direct and SEO and affiliate channels.

“We are expecting strong results for PPC moving forward,” said Lawson who said three keys areas of focus going into 2011 are European breaks, winter breaks and winter sun.



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