After the busy, often stressful holiday season, it’s only natural for people to start dreaming about getting away from it all. We looked at Criteo data across our travel clients, and found significant spike in travel traffic and bookings from January to March 2018. The travel trends for 2019 are sure to follow the same pattern, which means it’s important to start thinking about how to connect with travelers now.
Our research revealed that travel booking behavior varies widely by region. Some countries like to browse and book in January, while others tend to wait until March. Still others browse early and buy months later.
To help marketers prepare for 2019, we took a deep dive into our data and created the Criteo Seasonal Travel Dashboard. This interactive site shows indexed daily traffic and bookings, compared to the average in Q4 2017, from more than 2,000 travel players in 51 countries. That accounts for more than 2 million bookings in one year!
Here’s how to win more travel booking dollars in 2019:
1. Be ready for travelers in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium to book in winter.
The decision-making cycle for these countries tends to be short. Criteo data shows that for these countries, on the same day when traffic spiked (in early January), so did travel bookings.
When it comes to the United Kingdom, as Criteo’s Summer Travel Report 2018 revealed, much of the UK books travel in January.
Our Seasonal Travel Dashboard shows that in the beginning of 2018, the UK saw a whopping +115% rise in traffic and +60% increase in bookings on January 7th.
In Germany, we see a similar trend, with the strongest seasonal peak for travel booking in Q1. In 2018, Germany saw a +88% surge in online traffic and an increase of +48% in bookings on January 7th.
And it makes sense: German families with children already know when their vacations are well in advance, and tend to book their travels earlier in the year. In addition, the German travel industry advertising is in full force during Q1, so huge discounts are available to early bookers.
2. Look out for Central Europe, Southeast Asia, and more to book in the spring.
Central Europe, France, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand have a longer decision-making cycle. People in these regions start looking to book in late December and early January, but many actually convert in February and peak in March.
France this year saw a +66% spike in traffic on January 14th and a fairly steady rise in bookings in the run up to March 18th when they peaked at +44%.
In Central Europe, we saw a +67% rise in traffic on January 7th, followed by a solid showing of bookings which peaked at +26% on March 11th.
The takeaway? Keep your advertising strong over the course of Q1 — you never know how long it might take someone to decide on their summer island escape.
3. For every travel player, mobile is the one thing you can’t afford to forget.
Booking travel from mobile devices has become so easy shoppers are no longer heading home to their desktops to book their trips. Especially last-minute ones. Wildly successful companies like Hotel Tonight and AirBnb are making it easier than ever to score deals on-the-run.
While having an app is a great way to capture maximum sales, ensuring you provide a seamless mobile experience is critical for both online travel agencies and suppliers to ensure they’re able to meet their shoppers everywhere they go.
Bring aspirational travelers back to buy
According to The Drum, 3 out of 4 millennials would rather buy an experience than a material good, and now the main purpose of travel has shifted to personal fulfillment over kitschy souvenirs. The desire for great experiences is proving to be a global trend. In 2019, make sure you’re prepared to capitalize on the adventure-seeking mindset by providing personalized experiences on every channel.
Dynamic retargeting is one of best ways to bring travel seekers back who’ve left your website and remind them of the packages they were interested in but didn’t quite finish booking. Criteo technology helps travel retailers increase abandoned cart conversions (up to 244%), shopper time spent on site (5 more minutes on average), and conversion rates across devices (average sales uplift is +257%).
So just how do you reach your shoppers when they’re considering their trips, and then later when they’re ready to book? The journey for any traveler is paved with question marks. Where should I spend my vacation? What accommodation should I choose? Which items should I pack?
Data is the key that unlocks the answers — and all the opportunities for advertisers and travelers alike.