expedia dominates OTA visits
4 years ago

OTAs remain the top research source for US vacation package buyers, says Expedia

Online travel agencies continue to be American consumers’ favorite source of information prior to booking vacation packages, despite all the buzz about review sites such as TripAdvisor and metasearch sites such as Kayak.

At least, that’s the word according to a new study published this morning by Expedia Media Solutions, the travel marketing arm of Expedia Inc.

The study of the path to purchase of vacation packages during the month-and-a-half before a US traveler makes a purchase — “Exploring the Traveler’s Path to Purchase” — was conducted by Compete, a digital marketing firm.

The research focused on Internet users who had visited at least one of the seven largest US-based online travel agencies (OTAs) and one of about 1,000 destination marketing organization (DMO) between October 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013 and who ultimately booked a vacation package.

The sample was not projected onto the US shopping public using statistical methods in the way national election polls are. But the study’s authors nevertheless say their research suggests insight into overall behavior.

Key trends:

A majority of visits to OTAs happened prior to the week travelers actually booked packages, suggesting that OTAs were a research source throughout the 45 days prior to booking. They trumped in popularity metasearch site Kayak, lead-generation site Travelzoo, and review site TripAdvisor.

The average person in the study visited OTA sites 8 times in the week leading up to booking, including about three times on the day of booking itself.

OTAs popular

Expedia was visited more often than Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity, Booking.com and Cheaptickets, says the research sponsored by Expedia.

expedia dominates OTA visits

Direct marketing organization websites continue to struggle, though they have gained somewhat in usage since 2010. The OTA package path conversion line for users visiting at least one DMO site in the 45 days prior to booking was 2.2% on average, though during visits to DMOs 9-to-24 days prior to booking the conversion rate increased to about 3%.

Expedia Media Services concludes that “a partnership between OTAs and DMOs has the potential to drive conversions.”

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.



  1. Martin

    It’s an interesting study, however entirely focused on visits and not bookings which is an index but not necessarily the best since most of this study shows people are visiting many websites just before they leave or arrive. As such that is good to know, but it’s a given. The question is when did they book and what did they do just before they booked. It’s the moment of intent that counts more than the moment they searched for more information about the hotel/destination. Oddly enough Wikipedia doesn’t appear anywhere in the study, yet I’m sure many people are checking it out as well.


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