Tuesday, 13 October 2009

What travelers are actually looking for when searching online

The information needs of travelers are different before, during and after the trip. That’s nothing new, right? Thus, travel websites should support the users in all three phases with the content they are looking for.

But do you actually know what tourists are looking for and, likewise important, when they are searching for specific content?

Frommer’s, together with eDigitalResearch, conducted an online survey in March/April 2009 among 1,324 online travel consumers. The researchers found out that customers’ requirements of information are changing during the process of picking their holiday destination and consequently just before and after booking.

84% of the respondents stated that they were searching for information online before deciding on a destination (see chart below, source: Frommer’s Unlimited).

When booking a holiday, airport and transportation information are the most important information for 71% of the respondents. Pictures remain important and a guide to the city or resort is required by 70% of the travelers. After booking, customers consider a map of the destination the most important content (70%).

In the planning stage, most people’s decisions of their vacation is influenced by the price. A vast majority of respondents (85%) claimed price is the most influential factor (i.e. sum of influential and very influential) for their decision, followed by activities geared to their interest (68%). The weather (63%) and length of trip (65%) were rated as the next most influential or very influential factors (see chart below, source: Frommer’s Unlimited).

The majority of the respondents claimed that images (76%), a written description of the destination (71%) and maps (69%) were the most important information they were looking for when planning a holiday. Information about weather, exchange rates and visa regulations were also regarded as useful. Videos on the other hand had an important influence only on about 25% of the respondents (see chart below, source: Frommer’s Unlimited).

What annoys online customers most are a confusing website (52%), the lack of pictures (51%) and a poor navigation that makes it hard to find what they wanted (46%).

The respondents were from the UK (52 per cent) and from North America (27 per cent). The remaining 21 per cent of respondents were from other parts of the world.

Download the survey for a more detailed information about the results.

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