Expedia Group: Trip search volumes hold steady in Q3 for many regions

By Charlotte Turner |

In Q3 2021 despite factors such as the Covid Delta variant, which resulted in new border restrictions and re-emergence of testing or quarantine requirements the travel industry remained optimistic, driven by a rise in international searches [people researching trips online], lengthening search windows and growing search volumes.

 

According to Expedia Media Solutions, following a strong Q2, it appeared that the volume of people researching trips online across the globe held steady during Q3, with nominal change quarter-over-quarter.

 

Trend reports, compiled using first-party Expedia Group traveller data and custom research, offer snapshots at both global and regional levels.

 

In September, Evelina Hederer, Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions addressed delegates at the inaugural TR Consumer Forum where she joined a panel for a session on

 

Evelina Hederer, Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions.

Evelina Hederer, Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions.

SHORTER WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE

In a recent blog, Hederer pointed out the merits of the event: “I had the privilege of attending the TR Consumer Forum in London. It was one of the first opportunities for those in the travel industry to come together and share insights into consumer behaviour and perspectives.

 

“At Expedia Group, we have access to an unparalleled volume of traveller search and booking data, collected from across all our brand websites. This means we know when a traveller has committed and booked a trip, presenting an opportunity for retailers to then engage and inspire them further.”

 

While Expedia believes the recent data provide a positive sign of returning traveller confidence, there is still a significant share of travellers searching in the 0- to 21-day window, who prefer to plan trips for only the near future. “That means there’s less time between engagement and opportunity,” said Hederer.

 

“By getting last-minute shopping to the front-of-mind with these specific travellers during their booking journey, they might be more apt to make a retail purchase in preparation of their trip just a few weeks later.

 

RESERVE AND COLLECT

“Heathrow Airport understands this, which is why they set up their ‘Reserve & Collect’ program that allows passengers to purchase ahead of travel for pick-up at the airport.”

 

One example Hederer shared at the TR Consumer Forum was Jura Whisky, which wanted to showcase their whiskies alongside the rugged Scottish island of the same name.

 

“The focus was on creating a custom story based on the brand’s ‘long way from ordinary’ identity. They brought this story to life across Expedia Group websites in both the US and UK, driving visitors to a dedicated bespoke microsite which presented shoppers with a selection of travel adventures.

 

“After choosing their long way from ordinary’ vacation experience, the site paired them with a Jura whisky that matched the theme of their vacation. In the end, the campaign helped Jura the whisky to engage and convert travel shoppers.”

Evelina Hederer addressed delegates on a panel session during September's TR Consumer Forum.

Evelina Hederer shared Expedia’s recent data and research during a panel session during September’s TR Consumer Forum.

According to Expedia’s Q3 Travel Recovery report, globally, in Q3 there was a lot of movement in the top 10 booked destinations compared to Q2, with more international destinations making up the top 10 list in each region of the world.

 

NEW YORK TOPS LIST FOR GLOBAL BOOKINGS

Notably, New York topped the list for global bookings, and was a top 10 destination in North America, APAC, EMEA, and LATAM. Cities such as Dubai, Paris, London, and Istanbul moved up the rankings quickly and entered the global top 10 for September bookings.

 

Travellers have also been eager to make up for the ‘lost; 2020 holiday season—including Thanksgiving (US) the December holiday season and New Year’s and are planning ahead — according to Expedia.

 

Compared to the same period in 2020, Q3 searches for November and December trips saw triple-digit growth, with North America and EMEA leading the surge, while LATAM saw double-digit growth.

 

Interestingly, Expedia said that with business returning to normal in some parts of the world and a rise in those returning to the office, business travel is starting to take off.

 

“Globally, business travel demand in Q3 was up more than 40% quarter-over-quarter and up more than 110% compared to Q3 2020. During Q3, Paris, Chicago, London, and New York were the global top-booked destinations for business travellers,” said the company.

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