Web Search For Travel Yields $6.6 Billion in Sales in Eight Weeks

Web Search For Travel Yields $6.6 Billion in Sales in Eight Weeks

comScore Networks, Yahoo!, and Media Contacts released new research quantifying the impact of Web search engines on domestic travel spending. In April, 35 million U.S. consumers used a search engine to initiate travel planning, and those who bought travel online ultimately spent an estimated $6.6 billion in the category during the eight week analysis period.

James Lamberti, vice president of comScore Search Marketing Solutions, said "The latent and multi-channel effects of search are particularly noteworthy: For every travel purchase occurring directly after a search referral an additional five search-related purchases occur at a later time, across both online and offline channels."

Among the 35 million consumers searching for travel, nearly one-third purchased a travel-related service either online or offline within the eight weeks following the initial search. Among these buyers, 80 percent completed travel purchases online. The discovery that 20 percent of these buyers ultimately completed a travel purchase offline underscores the influence of online research across all buying channels, says the report.

Only 20 percent of all travel transactions linked to search engine activity occurred directly following the initial search referral, while the remaining 80 percent took place in the days and weeks following the initial search session. This latency, or inactivity of consumers between search and purchase, was observed at comparable levels among all travel products.

Those who ultimately purchased travel submitted an average of 5.4 travel-related searches over the study period, and clicked on an average of 7.8 links within search results. This is significantly more than the 3.4 travel-related searches and 5.2 clicks associated with those consumers who were not observed to buy online.

Some key results of the survey are:

  • 82 percent of respondents reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their use of Web search for travel.
  • 56 percent of respondents said Web search helped them discover a new site
  • 27 percent said search led them to a new brand
  • 83 percent of Internet travel planners in the study said they intend to use Web search for future travel planning, a 17-percent increase over current usage levels.

"This research proves that Web search marketing is much more than a direct response vehicle," said TS Kelly, vice president and director of research and insight for Media Contacts.

A Web-based version of the release is available here.

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