… And other nuggets about the UK and Germany revealed: Nestled comfortably in the trove of a data contained half-way through Understanding the Travel Consumer’s Path to Purchase—thirty-five pages long, it is the latest whitepaper issued by the UK-based research firm EyeforTravel—is its confirmation that most travelers in the UK and Germany, especially Germany, are still stuck to their desktops as they get close to booking their travel.
Even though mobile devices are popular for initial search-and-investigate online trawling, consumers “are more likely to switch over to a PC or laptop towards the end of a journey than to head the other way and research on a desktop and buy on a smartphone,” says the report, explaining that “consumers continue to favor their traditional devices due to the complexity of comparing and buying a leisure travel experience. The multiplicity of factors that consumers need to consider, often over diﬀerent sites, products and tabs, naturally favors a larger screen.”
Another factor: There is also a trust and security perception issue with making major purchases over smartphones. EyeforTravel points out that a previous study found that “security risk and performance risk (i.e. poor product quality) are the most relevant to consumers when evaluating booking. “Although trust in m-commerce is growing and the value and number of purchases along with it, it continues to lag behind desktop purchases in the travel sphere” according to the report.
As can be seen in the two tables below, desktops and laptops continue to have a signiﬁcant lead in both accommodation and flight bookings in the UK and in Germany, particularly in the latter’s case. (The UK is the number one overseas inbound source market for the USA; Germany is the number four market; together, they account for more than seven million visitors a year to the United States.)
—In the UK, the combined share of tablets and smartphones is slightly more than a third in both cases, showing that mobile has made signiﬁcant gains but desktop remains king.
—In Germany, the lead is even more substantial, as Germans tend to be more conservative in their purchase preferences, also preferring brick-and-mortar purchase routes much more than other comparable Western countries. There, the combined market share of tablets and smartphones in accommodation and flight markets is 16 percent.
German and UK Accommodation Booking Rates by Method of Purchase
German and UK Flight Booking Rates by Method of Purchase
Is Expedia a Hotel Brand? The EyeforTravel whitepaper addresses several other issues and markets, as well as the overall global travel market. In terms of the global path to purchase, the report says that “it is clear that the OTAs have achieved a strong foothold.” For Catarina Randow, CEO and founder of Roddit and a former senior revenue management official at First Hotels, “OTAs are continuously strong” but this is because “they provide real beneﬁt to the customer.” Riko van Santen, vice president digital strategy, loyalty & distribution, Kempinski Hotels, agrees that the OTAs have been “doing a good job”, to the extent that “People in the [United] States for example, think Expedia is a hotel brand because it’s so well known. They think and associate a brand like Expedia with making a hotel booking.”
There is a wealth of information, as well as a number of useful tables, in the EyeforTravel whitepaper. Just let us know, and we will send you the PDF of the report.
NOTE: The Inbound Report will not be published next week; we’ll be in Washington, D.C., covering IPW. Our next publishing date is June 15th.