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Online Travel Trends: 12 Fascinating Stats

Online Travel Trends: 12 Fascinating Stats


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Some key digital Trends in the online travel industry, including digital travel trends, how customers research travel purchases, and more. 

For more online travel data, see our Understanding Airline and Travel Trends Report, containing data from more than 280 online travel bookings. 

Online Travel Sales Worldwide

The global online travel market was worth more than $629 billion in 2017, and is predicted to reach almost $818bn by 2020.

Digital Trends in the Travel Industry

Online Travel and Universal Search

With the advent of universal search, whereby Google shows multimedia results, the days of ten blue links on search results pages are long gone.

For online travel searches, more space is now being taken up by universal search elements.

These include Knowledge Graphs, which appeared in 65% of desktop and 22% of mobile travel searches, maps (17% desktop, 23% mobile), and images (18% desktop, 15% mobile).

Digital Trends in the Travel Industry - universal search

Tripadvisor and Online Travel Research

With more than 325m monthly users, Tripadvisor is in a position to influence a lot of online travel purchases.

Travel customers who visit Tripadvisor are also more likely to take time over research, with more than 80% taking more than four weeks to complete a purchase.

It’s also a popular starting point for many travel searches, especially in the earliest phases of travel research.

Abandonment Rates in Travel

The average abandonment rate for online travel sites was 90.74% in 2019 , according to our recent travel remarketing report.

For comparison, the average retail ecommerce abandonment rate was 84.24%.

Online travel abandonment rates 2019

Online travel generally involves a longer research and booking process, and can be the high cost purchases, so this does mean abandonment rates can be relatively high.

Some travel purchases can be simpler than others, such as hiring cars and booking hotels, so we see lower abandonment rates for these types of travel sites.

Online Travel Abandonment Trends

Abandonment rates tend to be lowest at peak times for buying, such as promotional events, or during certain seasons.

Monthly abandonment rates by travel vertical, 2019 (SaleCycle data)

For this reason we can see a dip in abandonment rates for most travel sectors around January, perhaps as people begin to book holidays for the summer.

For airlines and travel especially, we see a further dip in abandonment rates around May, possibly due to travellers booking last minute holidays for the summer months.

Why Hotels Should Ask Customers to Leave Reviews

A report from TrustYou finds strong reasons why hotels should contact customers and ask for reviews.

  • 80% of customers who received a request left a review. Just 22% wrote a review without being asked.
  • The majority (54%) of guests have experience writing and submitting at least one review in the previous 12-months.
  • On average, 95% of traveler reviews are positive; 93% of travelers’ most recent reviews are reportedly positive.

Why Travel Bookers Prefer Apps to Mobile Web

Travelport Digital looked into the travel activities people use apps for and why they would choose to use apps ahead of mobile websites.

Speed and increased functionality were the most popular reasons to favour apps, as well as the ability to receive useful updates.

People value updates on trip status, price alerts and discounts, as well as reminders of bookings in progress.

The key theme here is user experience. Apps can mean a better experience, and the travel brands with the best apps stand to benefit here.

Best Travel Sites on Mobile

According to a Google study of speed and usability, these are the UK’s top ten travel sites on mobile.

Hotel Conversion Rates

The average conversion rate for hotels is 2.2%, according to a study by Fastbooking.

However, conversion rates vary between hotel sites, with the top 20% of hotels averaging 5.6% compared with 0.3% for the bottom 20%.

Preferred Devices for Travel Bookings

Desktop remains the most popular device for making travel bookings, according to a report from EyeforTravel.

Airlines and Social Customer Service

A study from Conversocial looks at the performance of US and Europe / Middle Eastern airlines on social media.

It found that US airlines respond faster on average, but are less responsive overall than their EMEA counterparts.

Travel Search Trends

The Travel Market Performance Report from PI Datametrics looks at search trends in the travel industry.

The report looks at share of voice across the UK flights market, showing the sites that appear most often for flight related search terms.

The top 3 performers own 52.6% of the entire flights market, with Easyjet the best performing airline.

In the US, there’s a similar pattern, with the top three owning 57% of the entire flights category.


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Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.

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