Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Google Research on Traveller Behaviour Online

The study, "The Traveler's Road to Decision," released this week by Google, reveals consumer research and buying habits across the Internet.

When it comes to searching for information on hotels, the study suggests that 81% rely on search engines when looking for business overnight accommodations against 67% for personal. In searching for best deals, consumers will search the Internet for information more often than any other source.

Clearly then reviews influence the purchase decision, with 41% revealing they made personal plans; 50% for business based on reviews of others.

An increasing number of travellers contribute to these reviews, too. In a similar study conducted in April 2008, only 9% of travelers surveyed had posted a review, 5% commented on a review, and 3% participated in a travel-related blog.

Consumers rely on search engines more so than travel search sites, although online travel agencies remain strong with 55% looking for business accommodations and 52% for personal.

The study suggests 64% depend on search engines to plan personal trips against 56% for business.

When it comes to searching for information on hotels, 81% rely on search engines when looking for business overnight accommodations and 67% personal; 74% for business air travel vs. 59%; 60% destinations; 59% personal; and 51% vacation activities; 55% personal.

Travel videos have also become important as people plan trips and videos created by peers are looked upon as being more trusted, compared with the videos that companies create in house.

The study, "The Traveler's Road to Decision," was released from Google and OTX, and reveals consumer research and buying habits across the Internet. It states that business travellers are more likely to seek out money-saving packages, access travel sites from their mobile phone, and become a rewards travel programme member.

The study, conducted between April 10 and 27, looks at general travel, hotel, car, air, cruises and destinations. The survey consists of responses from 5,002 consumers who have travelled at least once for personal or business reasons in the past six months. The majority of personal travellers still plan to travel just as much or more throughout 2009, compared with 2008.

Booking behaviour has changed, however. Travellers will shop around more and wait for the best deal before they book. A situation clearly seen with hotel accommodation bookings across Scotland so far this year. Lead time is reducing dramatically. (In an unrelated study, Google found research to booking could stretch as far as 18.1 weeks on average. That's when more generic phrases are searched on.)

It has also become common for people to upload their experiences onto video sites, with 6% sharing personal videos against 16% business-related. Compare this with a study done in April 2008, where only 4% of travellers surveyed had uploaded their own travel video in the previous 6 months.

Time needed to digest the full report perhaps - you can view a very very poor version of the presentation which we found on youTube below. Needs patience and a hearing aid!


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