Snapshot of the American Traveler

Matthew Reichek, Global Vice President, Product & Analytics
November 17, 2016
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Travel is a large — and growing — sector in the United States. In 2015 alone, American travelers logged 1.7 billion trips for leisure purposes, according to the U.S. Travel Association. We know Americans are traveling, but we also wanted to know how they are consuming digital travel content, what influences their travel decisions, and how marketers can best reach and influence them.

Our new research, conducted by comScore, analyzes the path to purchase of American, British and Canadian travelers and shows when, where and how consumers in each of these countries book a trip.

For a comparison of the three traveler profiles, you can see the full research findings here. For now, let’s look at the snapshot of the American traveler.

 First things first, how are they consuming content?

  • Three out of five digital users consume travel content in the U.S., which translates to 167 million users per month who are actively engaging with travel content on their digital devices
  • 75% are using a mobile device to consume travel content, compared to 55% on desktop

 Who are they traveling with?

  • Some travel alone: 22% of US travelers journeyed by themselves
  • Most travel in couples: More than half (57%) travel with a spouse or significant other

 How do they choose where to go?

American travelers draw their inspiration from many resources. Many travelers (69%) begin their trip research via search engines, 66% turn to friends and family, and 11% of use social media. When they are planning a trip;

  • Most U.S. travelers only consider one destination (65%)
  • However, nearly half (42%) of millennials consider two or more destinations at the outset
  • For those who have more than one destination in mind, the majority research U.S. destinations, followed by European destinations

 How much are they spending?

There are sizeable differences in spending habits between long-term bookers — those who book their trip 30 days or more in advance — and short-term bookers — those who book their travel less than 30 days prior to their trip start date. When comparing the seven-week timeframe before travel, short-term bookers spend 50% more than long-term bookers on purchasing travel. Short-term bookers spend $1,299 on average, whereas long-term bookers spend $863 on average.

Let’s take a look at an example of the American traveler’s path to purchase. The following graph visualizes where they browse during the planning process, and ultimately, how they book.

 You might be asking yourself, where does advertising fit in?  

American travelers spend 8.7 billion minutes on digital travel content, representing a 41% increase year-over-year. That’s a lot of travel content that Americans are consuming, which represents a big opportunity for travel marketers to reach them with their content. Our research found that more than one quarter of U.S. online travel bookers stated they were influenced by advertising while considering more than one location for their trip in each of the countries. In addition, 47% of American online travel bookers stated they recalled seeing a travel ad while shopping for or booking travel.

Illustrating the degree to which digital travel shoppers in the U.S. engage with travel content online, the data reveals a profound opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers through an integrated strategy that accounts for behavior at all stages of the booking journey, from inspiration to final purchase.

For more findings on the American traveler’s path to purchase and tips on how to integrate these insights into your marketing, download the whitepaper here.

For even more insights, download the full Path to Purchase research here. 

 Path to Purchase American Infographic.jpg

 

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Matthew Reichek
Global Vice President, Product & Analytics
As global vice president of product and analytics at Expedia Media Solutions, Matthew Reichek is responsible for leading analytics and business intelligence along with advertising product development and portfolio integration across the Expedia, Inc. suite of travel brands. Under Matthew’s leadership, Expedia Media Solutions has built and optimized a full suite of innovative marketing solutions that empower partners to reach consumers during all phases of the travel journey. Prior to joining Expedia, Matthew served as vice president and research analyst at two private San Francisco-based investment firms, First Oak Capital Management and Seasons Capital Management. Matthew was also previously an equity research analyst at Citi, where he was part of the top ranked internet and e-commerce team. Matthew has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a double major in finance and marketing. He received his BA with high honors from Wesleyan University.
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