Role of search in travel purchasing

June 2010

There are 16.5 million people in the Italian travel market today, and 11.7 million of them book their travel online. At the same time, though, sites have to work hard to get people to convert. One thing we discovered is that there is a lot of lag time between when a person starts searching for travel and when they actually book, which means there's plenty of time for them to see different sites and decide on the best deal.

The objective of the study was to map the role of search in the purchasing process in the Italian online travel market.

Key Findings:

  • The results indicate that search is a critical part of the customer journey - nearly three quarters use search at some point
  • There is a strong positive correlation between search intensity and actual purchase - those that go on to purchase search more often on more sites over a longer period of time
  • The vast majority use generic terms, which are maintained throughout the purchase journey
People who click on sponsored travel links are 1.8 times more likely to make a purchase.
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