Package travel is still very popular amongst consumers in the US. Online travel agencies (OTAs) are of particular interest for consumers, as these are working with a number of suppliers and can bundle airfare, accommodation and car rentals. Research conducted by Millward Brown showed that around 47% of US travellers actually visit an OTA site when researching online holiday packages in the 45 days leading up to a purchase on an OTA site. This is quite interesting, as airlines rank second with around 11% and planning and reviews sites third with around 6.8%, followed by DMO sites with 6.4%. Researching travel can be quite complex due to the vast amount of information available online. The high number of consumers visiting OTA sites indicates that most consumers actually do not feel the need to do extensive research and do the booking journey and process on other sites but want to keep it simple and straightforward (eMarketer 2013).
VISITS TO TRAVEL SITES
Interestingly, most consumers planning to book a package holiday actually visited around 40 travel sites on average before actually making a booking. This includes visiting air fare websites, accommodation and car rental sites separately, aimed to compare prices. Closer to booking a package holiday, most consumers visited the most amount of websites, indicating the need to visit on average 15 travel sites in the week of booking an online holiday. Although travellers aim to make their journey to travel easier for them, the overall journey and visits to travel sites before actually booking an online package holiday is still quite complex.
When researching and looking at a number of travel sites, comparing prices, consumers still want to keep their purchasing process as straightforward as possible. This is where OTA sites really come in place. Rather than doing individual bookings and various travel sites, complicating the booking experience, consumers do still prefer booking their online package holidays on OTA sites. Besides visiting travel sites, consumers also visited around 36.6 retail sites in the 6 weeks before booking a packaged holiday. This means there is still huge potential for redirecting consumers by understanding where consumers are putting their attention online. Retargeting consumers in their lengthy travel purchase is also a very efficient way for marketers to redirect consumers back to their travel shopping sites and revisit previously searched sites. In the future, marketers will focus on understanding the travel journey even better and also aim to redirect and retarget consumers that were on their sites previously but did not go all the way to purchasing a holiday.