Search Engines Role In Travel Purchases

    January 11, 2008

Twenty million people in the UK used search engines for travel information in the first quarter of 2007, according to a new study from Google U.K. and comScore.

Users on average make 12 travel related searches, visit 22 Web sites and take 29 days from the first time they search until they make a purchase. Forty-five percent of transactions happen four weeks or more after the first search. Time spent online is lengthy allowing advertisers to reach and influence users as they search for information.

On average users visit a site they will make a purchase from 2.5 times. Only 10 percent of transactions take place on the first search referral to a given site, and 38 percent of transactions happen at four weeks or more after the first visit.

Fifty-four percent of users started the shopping process with a generic product or destination search term, and 10 percent did not use branded search terms at all. More than a third of travel buyers use a generic term as the last search before they purchase.

Users change the type of keywords they use as they progress in the purchase process. Twenty-nine percent start with a non-branded search term but end with a brand search term.

Google U.K.’s Robin Frewer, Industry Leader, Travel said, "This research proves travel searchers are becoming more brand fickle – spending a large amount of time researching their desired purchase, and considering offers from competing brands."

"The fact that users are using more generic search queries gives ample opportunity for brands to attract new customers – and brands that are not present during these searches are missing out on sales."