Rather for a business trip, a family vacation over the holidays, or just to get away, the reasons why people travel doesn’t change. But what does change is how people search and book their travel. That’s why Sojern continually analyzes billions of traveler intent data signals, including how they search and book online—giving Sojern and our clients a complete view of a traveler’s path to purchase.
For this quarter’s Global Travel Insights report, we looked back at traveler searches for Q3—July, August, and September, as well as looked forward to what they are searching for in Q4—October, November, and December. While some of the data points are predictable based on the time of year and region, we found some interesting details that travel marketers can use now and until the end of 2018 to reach the right customer at the perfect time during their path to purchase.
Two interesting travel trends from Sojern’s Global Travel Insights, Issue 4, 2018:
Trend #1: US Travelers Saving Up Vacation Days for End of Year Travel
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US workers receive, on average, only 10 paid vacation days after one year of service, with that number slightly increasing based on the tenure with the current employer. With the limited time off, many US travelers look to be saving up their vacation days until the end of the year.
According to Sojern’s data, North American travelers took shorter trips from July to November—saving longer trips for the end of the year. Looking back at Q3 travel during July, August, and September, 79% of North American travel searchers were for trips lasting seven days or less. That trend continues through the end of the year for North America traveler with over half of all travel searches for trips lasting seven days or less for Q4, regardless of the destination.
However, once we look at specifically at December travel searches from North America, the trend begins to slightly change. For December trips, those North Americans who are traveling within the region are looking more at extended stays—with 33% of short-haul searches being for eight days or more. Similarly, for the long haul, North American travelers are looking for long trips abroad—two out of five travel searchers are looking to get away for 12 or more days.
Let’s compare that data to other regions. For December travel searches, many outside of North America are looking for longer trip durations.
- Over 50% of LATAM travel searches in December are for 12 or more days, regardless of the destination.
- Over a third of short-haul and over 50% of long-haul travel searches in the Middle East and Africa are for 12 or more days.
- Over a third of all European travel searches in December are for 12 or more days, regardless of the destination.
- Almost a third of short-haul and over 50% of long-haul travel searches in the Asia-Pacific are for 12 or more days.
Trend #2: Regional Travel Tops Travel Destination Searches, Except in Latin America
When we look atop destinations where travelers are searching, one thing is clear—travelers are looking to travel within their region, with one exception, Latin American travelers are searching for trips outside of their region.
For North American travelers, top destinations for December include:
- New York City
For European travelers, top destinations for December include:
For the Middle East and African travelers, top destinations for December include:
For Asian-Pacific travelers, top destinations for December include:
However, for Latin-American travelers, top destinations for December include non-regional destinations:
- New York City
For December, Latin Americans are also searching for long group trips. Travel marketers can engage now with the travel planners who have not visited their site by using Facebook Flight Ads for Prospecting—perfect for airlines, OTAs, and metasearch engines looking to acquire new customers.
Up until now, in order to reach travelers who were not directly looking at a brand, advertisers had to rely on broad awareness ads with limited ability to personalize. But with Facebook’s new dynamic prospecting capabilities, airlines can personalize the route information, including custom images and pricing to popular December destinations like Miami—giving marketers the ability to target travelers early with a precise offer, before they book elsewhere.
The data here only begins to touch the surface of all the travel insights we can gather through our in-depth analysis of more than a billion traveler intent data points. To see more of our travel insights from July through September, and learn about search trends for the end of the year, download our latest Global Travel Insights report.