Where Do Travelers Search First Before Booking? A. Google. B. Destination Site C. OTA?

Travelers visit search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN first (34%) when considering vacation destination alternatives. The Web sites of specific countries or destination boards are visited next (23%), followed by online travel agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity (22%), according to a new study by Ypartnership.

While the percentage of leisure travelers who report making reservations online has grown more than thirty-seven percent (37%) since the year 2000, “Consumers’ search behavior has changed in recent years as people have become more familiar with search technology and the number of travel planning/purchasing sites has grown exponentially,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership.

According to the just-released National Travel MONITOR, fully sixty-six percent (66%) of leisure travelers now use the Internet to plan some aspect of their travel (versus 35% in 2000), while fifty-six percent (56%) now report making reservations online. The nationally representative survey of 1,590 active travelers was conducted during the months of February and March, 2009, and is co-authored annually by Ypartnership and Yankelovich, Inc.

Travelers visit search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN first (34%) when considering vacation destination alternatives. The Web sites of specific countries or destination boards are visited next (23%), followed by online travel agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity (22%). Only one percent (1%) of travelers commence their search for a vacation destination by visiting a blog.

Search patterns for selecting an airline or lodging accommodation are understandably different. Consumers who are searching for these travel services first visit the Web sites of online travel agencies (42% and 31%, respectively). Brand-specific sites (41%) follow closely when leisure travelers are selecting an airline, yet significantly less so when they select lodging (21%). Meta search engines that compare fares are visited first by over one-out-of-ten travelers (13%) when selecting an airline.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Where Do Travelers Search First Before Booking? A. Google. B. Destination Site C. OTA?

  1. Right Right Right! This is why travel and destinations need to control their own desiny when it comes to search. The problem with a one page or one blog strategy is that there are thousands of terms that indicate a desire to find you.

    Check out this post I made a few months ago, just talking about Vail.

    http://blogging.compendiumblog.com/blog/blogging-best-practices/0/0/if-i-were-a-ski-marketer-id-v1

  2. Wow, it’s a revelation to know that only 22% run first through online travel agencies. All the while I thought that most people browse for rates and reviews using these kind of websites. I actually have a related post about the Best Online Booking Website there is. Have a look at Online Travel 360 (http://www.onlinetravel360.com). Thanks

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