Travel Tech

Travellers have different attitudes towards the trip planning process. Some really enjoy the nitty-gritty of researching potential destinations, hotels, flights and constructing itineraries. But others find this process overwhelmingly tedious.

Numerous Visits to Travel Sites

According to a new study by Expedia, travellers who visited a destination marketing organisation (DMO) site, within the 45 days before booking a holiday package on an online travel agency site, had made 38 previous visits to travel sites before finally buying the package deal.

Addressing this supposed pain point has been the mission behind a variety of trip planning startups. But for some strange reason, a great number of these websites fail to achieve success. What does this mean? Could it be the fact that travellers actually don’t find visiting multiple sites to be so terrible after all?

Increased Visits on Trip Booking Day

The Expedia study shows that those visits to travel sites increase dramatically to 15.5 visits on average in the week before the trip is finally booked. On the booking day, the travellers surveyed were found to visit about 16 websites altogether, including nearly five travel websites.

The report also shows results from a study that tracked consumer behaviour when visiting both DMO sites, and online travel agent sites, such as Booking.com. The study found that online travel agent sites dominate trip planning for package bookers, taking a 47.2% share of visits. Shares in other sectors included airline sites (11.2%), planning and review sites such as TripAdvisor (6.8%), and DMO sites (6.4%).

As detailed by Skift, Expedia also reported that, “In the 45 days leading up to a package booking, retail sites were visited almost as frequently as travel sites. Consumers visited retail websites 36.6 times in the 45-day path to purchase period, while travel sites were visited 38 times. During the week of booking, however, retail site visitation dropped while travel site visits peaked.”

DMOs Should Take Note of Study Findings

But the findings of this study should be of some concern to DMOs. Traditionally, many DMOs have focused on providing information for people to plan their trips, but then left potential visitors at a dead end by failing to offer a booking capability. Alternatively the DMOs would link the visitor to a third-party booking site, where the visitor would need to go through the booking process all over again. This is frustrating and may easily cause potential visitors to lose motivation.

A great example of a DMO website that offers full booking capabilities is MySwitzerland.com. Featured recently as a ‘Best in Class’ winner on the Digital Tourism Think Tank website, from the very beginning the Switzerland site has been careful to integrate all aspects of the customer journey, from planning all the way through to booking. And of course, they do it all with typical Swiss efficiency, reinforcing one of the country’s core brand values into the bargain.


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