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Over the past several years, the online travel marketplace has evolved to include a full range of nontransactional Web sites that complement and at times compete with transactional sites for consumer attention. Companies no longer need to sell travel to be a major online travel player.
PhoCusWright's groundbreaking study on online traffic and conversion reveals new trends in how nontransactional sites—such as metasearch, deal publishers and review sites—are affecting the U.S. online travel landscape. The report provides an overview of two critical online consumer behavior metrics: traffic (monthly unique visitors) and conversion patterns for shoppers who visit metasearch and reviews sites. It also takes an in-depth look at how metasearch and planning and reviews sites have an impact on the conversion rates of shoppers who visit them. Two major nontransactional Web sites—Kayak.com and TripAdvisor.com—are analyzed in depth.
Order PhoCusWright's Online Traffic and Conversion Report: Metasearch, Reviews and Other Nontransactional Categories now (US$495) to gain insight into how metasearch and review Web sites are influencing the core dynamics of online travel.
PhoCusWright's Online Traffic and Conversion Report: Metasearch, Reviews and Other Nontransactional Categories offers a subset of topics and chapters covered within PhoCusWright's Online Traffic and Conversion Report.
Table of Contents
Overview, Methodology and Key Findings
The Big Picture
LIST OF TABLES
Summary of Traffic to Travel Categories* (Monthly Unique Category Visitors)
Traffic to Travel Categories (Monthly Unique Category Visitors)
Traffic to Nontransactional Categories
Metasearch and Planning & Reviews: Top Five Sites by Unique Visitors, June 2009
TripAdvisor Unique Monthly Visitors
TripAdvisor Web Site Usage (% of Unique Visitors)
Hotel Conversion Rates of TripAdvisor Visitors (Monthly and 15-Day)
Analysis of TripAdvisor Visitors Who Book a Hotel Within the Same Month
TripAdvisor Hotel Booking Distribution Among 15-Day Bookers
Kayak Unique Monthly Visitors
Comparison of Kayak Product Searches
Kayak Visitor Interaction with Text Ads and Lead Generators (New Window)
Kayak Booking Transfers
Air Conversion Rates of Kayak Visitors (Monthly and 15-Day)
Analysis of Kayak Visitors Who Book Air Within Same Month
Kayak Air Booking Distribution Among 15-Day Bookers
PhoCusWright and Compete analyzed traffic to and among the following online travel categories from January 2007 through June 2009:
- Online travel agencies (OTAs): Web sites that feature online booking for multiple suppliers for one or more supply types
- Examples: expedia.com, orbitz.com, travelocity.com, priceline.com, hotels.com
- Travel guides: Web sites that feature general information and editorial advice for travelers
- Examples: trails.com, away.com, virtualtourist.com, roadsideamerica.com, frommers.com
- Lead generators: Web sites that primarily serve to direct visitors to other sites based on a listing of offers or facilitating searches on multiple sites at once
- Examples: travelzoo.com, cheapflights.com, bookingbuddy.com, shermanstravel.com, smartertravel.com
- Metasearch: Web sites that feature the aggregation of real-time product information from multiple sites into a single display and direct visitors to these sites to book
- Examples: kayak.com, sidestep.com, fly.com, mobissimo.com, farecompare.com
- Planning & reviews: Web sites that feature user-generated reviews and trip planning tools
- Examples: tripadvisor.com, igougo.com, mytravelguide.com, realtravel.com, cruisecritic.com
- Destination & tourism: Web sites operated by destination marketing organizations such as convention and visitor bureaus and those that feature destination-specific information
- Examples: virginia.org, visitflorida.com, showhotel.com, hawaii.com, sandiego.org
Please note that although a handful of sites in the nontransactional categories may process travel bookings (e.g., some destination marketing organizations), these sites and categories are defined as nontransactional because their primary function is to provide travel information and/or referrals.
In addition to providing analysis of traffic patterns among the cited categories overall, PhoCusWright's Online Traffic and Conversion Report: Nontransactional Categories drills down to the Web site level by analyzing air and hotel products on two representative nontransactional sites: TripAdvisor and Kayak.
Compete conducted analysis for the study through its proprietary data methodology, including the following:
- Two million active panelists, aggregated from 10+ unique data sources (proprietary panels, plus ISP and ASP partnerships).
- Usage, demographic and geographic weighting to match independent monthly Omnibus survey.
- Extrapolation to make data representative of U.S. Internet population.
- Triangulation across sources to identify and rebalance for bias.
Compete captures and calculates metrics using the following methodology:
Monthly unique visitors (visitors): This reflects visitors to a specified Web site during the specified calendar month, and counts each visitor once regardless of how many times he or she visits within the month.
Monthly unique category visitors (category visitors): This reflects visitors to a specified Web site category during the specified calendar month, and counts each visitor once regardless of how many times or how many different Web sites he or she visits in the category within the month.
Monthly unique product shoppers (air/hotel/car rental/cruise/package shoppers): For OTAs, this reflects monthly unique category visitors (to the top seven OTAs) who have initiated a search for the specified product within the specified calendar month, and counts each visitor once regardless of how many times he or she searched within the month. When applied to supplier Web sites, the term "shopper" refers to all monthly unique visitors of supplier Web sites, regardless of whether or not they conducted a product search. Please note that supplier Web sites therefore have slightly inflated shopper volumes, and slightly underrepresented conversion rates in comparison to OTAs.
Conversion rate (conversion): Monthly unique purchasers reflect visitors who make a purchase on a specified Web site during a specified calendar month, and count each purchaser once regardless of how many times he or she purchases within the month. Conversion is calculated by dividing monthly unique purchasers into monthly unique visitors (or OTA product shoppers).
Quarterly visitors/shoppers/conversion: This is calculated by averaging results for the three calendar months within the specified quarter.