It was several years ago that if an online travel agency or hotel wanted to be in the mix and reach consumers, then it had to advertise on TripAdvisor. But that was before TripAdvisor tried to become a hotel booker while later switching back to classic meta search referrals. Hotels ramped up their direct-booking campaigns, and Google accelerated its push to direct consumers researching hotels in its search engine toward its own comparison service, Google Hotels.
ComScore study, paid for TripAdvisor, found that 60 percent of travels worldwide who booked trips on websites in major markets in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America visited TripAdvisor along the their research process. When considering just U.S. travelers, that number 67 percent.TripAdvisor’s message to the travel industry is: advertise with us.
The study tapped into a panel of more than 2 million people and analyzed their online travel research activity. The markets covered Spain, Italy, the UK, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Australia, India, Japan, China, France and Germany.
Martin Verdon-Roe, vice president of product and marketing, hotels at TripAdvisor, characterized TripAdvisor’s ability to influence consumer hotel and flight-booking decisions as “staggering.”
But there are other influencers that might vie for the most-influential tag.
The hole in the study is that it didn’t take into account the roles of major players like Google and Facebook, and their hold on consumers during the travel-research process.
TripAdvisor Is Top-Visited Travel Site Before Booking?
While TripAdvisor was the most-visited travel site during the travel-research process, according to comScore, one wonders how inclusion of Google, Facebook and Baidu might have skewed the conclusions. All of these companies are TripAdvisor competitors in trying to attract travel-advertising spend.
Expedia and Booking.com spend way more on Google than they do on TripAdvisor. Booking.com, for example, spent $4 billion just on digital advertising, with the bulk going to Google, in 2017.Today’s consumers are all savvy researchers and regularly process tons of information through many sources before they make decisions. They need to reach these consumers at all those touch points. Brands need to be flexible.
In other tidbits from the study, comScore found that the most-popular online travel agency or metasearch sites close to the time of booking were: TripAdvisor (70 percent reach); Booking.com (45 percent); Trivago (28 percent); Hotels.com (23 percent), and Expedia.com (22 percent). The latter three sites are all Expedia Group companies.
The study also found that TripAdvisor’s influence over bookers varies based on the amount of time before booking. For example, TripAdvisor had a leading 16 percent share of visits among popular travel sites when it came to hotel transactions five-plus weeks before a booking, but Expedia was first (34 percent versus 28 percent for TripAdvisor) one week before, and Hilton was the leader (48 percent versus 24 percent) on the day of the booking. TripAdvisor Is Top-Visited Travel Site Before Booking?
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