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July 25, 2023

Research from Expedia Group uncovers how and where travelers plan and book travel, revealing the growing role of social media and advertising influence, top online resources, and the new online path to purchase.

July 25, 2023, SEATTLE — Expedia Group’s Path to Purchase research has revealed the travel content consumption habits of travelers as they seek inspiration and plan their trip, spending 303 minutes or over 5 hours on average with travel content in the 45 days prior to booking. The research, conducted by Expedia Group and Luth Research, sheds light on traveler preferences and behaviors throughout the online shopping journey and illustrates where and how they plan and book travel, from the typical number of travel website visits and page views to destination considerations, trip resources, and influences at every stage.

The growing role of travel content in the booking process

The research revealed the significant volume of content that travelers consume to inform their decision to travel, as they seek to refine their options in the 45 days prior to booking a trip online. On average, across the seven countries surveyed:

  • Travelers view 141 pages of travel content in the 45 days prior to booking a trip, and as high as 277 pages for travelers in the S., with these page views distributed throughout their path to purchase.
  • In the early stages of planning, research is more spread out (about 2.5 page views per day), while it increases exponentially in the few days prior to a booking, ending with 25 page views on the day of purchase.

It also highlighted the top resources that travelers are using in the 45 days leading up to purchase:

  • OTAs (80%), search engines (61%), social media (58%), airline websites (54%), and meta travel websites (51%) are the top five resources used by most travelers.
  • And four in five travelers visit an OTA at some point before making a travel purchase, indicating that travelers likely visited an OTA for inspiration, research, or planning purposes, even if travelers book on another website.

Travelers are looking for destination inspiration

Most travelers revealed they were undecided on where they would like to travel to before they start the trip planning process, with:

  • Nearly three in five travelers surveyed said that they did not have a specific destination in mind, or considered multiple destinations when they first decided to take a trip (59%).
  • And more than 80% of travelers from Mexico and 62% of travelers from the K. were undecided on their destination, indicating that these travelers may be even more open to destination inspiration.

Significant numbers also said that they are influenced by what they consumed on social media and in advertising.

  • Of those that use social media in the path to purchase, 77% use it for inspiration.
  • Nearly one in five (19%) travelers said advertising influenced their decision to book a trip. This number was highest among travelers from Mexico at 40%.
  • Vacation rental guests (26%) and hotel guests (22%) are also more likely to be influenced by advertising.

Cheryl Miller, SVP and CMO, Expedia for Business, said: “The traveler path to purchase is often complex, and full of twists and turns. This research highlights just how much thought and consideration travelers put into planning a trip in the weeks leading up to booking, as they seek to niche and refine their choices. This means there are many opportunities to connect with travelers before they make their decisions, underlining the importance of partnership, given that it’s essential to show up across multiple touchpoints and beyond your owned brand channels, as frequently as possible along this path. By providing actionable insights to help reach, inspire, and engage travelers during their path to purchase, we’re pleased to provide B2B travel partners with the tools required to convert their guests and customers.”

Turning insights into action, here is the full report.


This consumer survey was conducted by Luth Research March 24-April 19, 2023, among 5,713 participants 18 years and older in seven markets: Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, and the U.K. and U.S. who booked online travel within the last six months.

The behavioral digital study used Luth Research’s ZQ Intelligence passive metering technology and its database of digital behaviors to analyze the travel path to purchase for 70,000+ participants 18 years and older in seven markets: Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, and the U.K. and U.S. The digital data panel spanned 12 months and evaluated traveler behavior and influences in the 45 days leading up to booking a trip, looking across desktop and mobile devices, with limited mobile app visibility. Online visits to relevant travel sites within the past 12 months were identified, and the digital data from 45 days prior to booking was extracted and analyzed.

About Expedia Group

Expedia Group, Inc. companies power travel for everyone, everywhere through our global platform. Driven by the core belief that travel is a force for good, we help people experience the world in new ways and build lasting connections. We provide industry-leading technology solutions to fuel partner growth and success, while facilitating memorable experiences for travelers. Our organization is made up of three pillars: Expedia Product & Technology, focused on the group’s product and technical strategy and offerings; Expedia Brands, housing all our consumer brands; and Expedia for Business, consisting of business-to-business solutions and relationships throughout the travel ecosystem. The Expedia Group family of brands includes the following: Expedia®,®, Expedia® Partner Solutions, Vrbo®, trivago®, Orbitz®, Travelocity®, Hotwire®, Wotif®, ebookers®, CheapTickets®, Expedia Group™ Media Solutions,™ and Expedia Cruises™.

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