I recently reviewed some of the data from Rezgo and found some really interesting statistics that speak to the way travelers book their in-destination activities when operators provide real-time availability and instant confirmations.
We have always known that activities tend to be the last thing that people book when they go on holidays.
For the most part this is due to two important factors:
- For online travel agency sites that provide airport transfers and activities, these offerings are treated as an add-on at the end of the booking after flight, hotel and car.Â This makes it very easy to skip during the booking process.
- The majority of in-destination offerings are not available online.Â The ones that are provided are generally consolidated through multiple aggregators, such as a local destination marketing company and then the OTA.
It seems, however, that when the booking process is treated completed separately and the supplier has the ability to offer real-time availability, payment, and confirmation, the bookings tend to move closer to the date of travel.
Here are some of our findings:
- 13.6% are booked between 16 and 30 days of travel.
- 14.4% are booked between 8 and 15 days of travel.
- 52% are booked within 1 week of travel.
- Total of 80% of all bookings are made within 30 days of travel.
I was very surprised to see that over half of all bookings in the system are made within one week of travel.Â Unlike airline and hotel bookings that tend to average 23-30 days prior to travel, this seems to confirm that travelers are booking their activities much later in the travel cycle.
Given that most tour operators require a one or two day cut-off period for booking, it is safe to assume that the majority of the bookings are made between three and seven days of the date of travel.
So what does this tell us about traveler behaviour when it comes to booking in-destination activities?
First, the last minute nature of the bookings indicate that travelers are probably not thinking about things to do at their destination until they are close to the travel date.
This would seem to further indicate that the activities at the destination are probably not the reason why people are traveling to the particular destination.
Once people realize they are getting close to the departure date, they are thinking about what they might do when they are at the location and then deciding to book a few days in advance so they can avoid line ups or to just plan ahead.
Second, this booking pattern indicates that travelers are still more likely to book their air and hotel and confirm the major travel components before they commit to the “little extras” that make up their trip.
Without actually asking the customers why they choose to book only a few days before their travel date, it is hard to fully understand why they choose to wait until the last minute.
The opportunity about last minute behaviour, however, is that travelers are looking to book these kinds of activities and will do so with a short window.
This means that real-time inventory and the ability to book on mobile devices will become important.
Anecdotal research seems to indicate that 80% of bookings for activities are done in-destination, which means that there is tremendous room for growth in last minute online bookings, if the suppliers can support it.
With aÂ PhoCusWright report focusing on in destination tour and activities coming out shortly, I am hoping we’ll be able to shed more light on traveler behaviour as it pertains to the booking of vacation activities.