Some travelers use mobile when shopping and booking accommodations for a trip, but desktop still reigns when it comes to conversions, according to a recent Phocuswright webinar.
SHERMAN, Connecticut—Shopping online on a mobile device has become more widespread in recent years, but in the United States, there are more travelers who are using their desktop computers to sift through brand.com sites, online travel agencies, metasearch and private accommodation sites like Airbnb when looking for a place to stay.
In the recent “Hotels, OTAs, metasearch or rentals: Who’s winning in traffic and conversion?” webinar, Phocuswright VP of Research Douglas Quinby presented data showing that the “mobile web’s share of online travel traffic is 20%, meaning desktop dominates when it comes to total share of traffic.
“Boomers and older travelers still represent the largest piece of dollar spend within travel and spend a lot higher,” Quinby said, which could attribute to the success of desktop traffic.
Here are a few takeaways from the webinar.
The OTAs and hotel brands are “neck-and-neck” when it comes to desktop conversions, Quinby said. Travelers on brand sites are more in a mode to book, he said, and private-accommodation travelers are more there to shop, but not quite ready to buy.
In terms of mobile conversions, Quinby said OTAs are winning.
Within the last year or so, hotel brands have been putting together direct booking campaigns in an attempt to urge guests to book directly on their sites rather than on OTAs. Quinby said there’s been meaningful impact at the brand level for hotels who have done campaigns, but “it doesn’t seem to be that these big efforts are really moving the marketplace in a way that would affect OTAs.”
Phocuswright also studied the largest number of desktop conversion of unique visitors for sites like companies including Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Hilton and TripAdvisor. Data presented during the webinar showed Expedia had the highest number of desktop conversion of unique visitors by brand. Quinby added hotel attachment to flight bookings could be driving hotel conversions for Expedia.
When looking at repeat bookers, Airbnb had a much higher number of repeat bookers than HomeAway, Hilton, Booking.com and Expedia.
Google dominates referral traffic
For hotels, OTAs, private accommodations and metasearch, organic searches through Google made up a large portion of desktop referrals for each segment from data from the first half of 2014 to the first half of 2016.
In the first half of 2016, organic Google searches made up slightly more than 30% of desktop referrals for hotels.