Our key take aways from Google’s ‘2014 Traveler’s Road To Decision’ research study

Keeping abreast of the ever evolving travel & tourism marketplace is an essential ingredient to tourism marketing success.

So in this super succint post, I’ve identified the key take aways from Google’s 2014 Traveller Research Study, and put together an action item list for your consideration, to ensure you have the best chance of attracting and converting more of your profitable prospects into customers in 2015!

Key take-away #1

Digital is the primary source of travel inspiration:

  • 65% of leisure travelers are inspired by online sources most notably through social/video sites and search
  • 42% of travelers are inspired to travel by YouTube content

Google 2014 Traveler Road to Decision: Online Travel Videos Stats

This essentially means that all tourism businesses need to be focussing on creating and sharing dynamic content that inspires and motivates their Ideal Customers. To learn more about how to do this, why not take a look at Rebecca’s blog post > 3 Content Themes That Attract and Convert Customers

Key take-away #2

At the onset of planning, travelers increasingly turn to search first:

  • 60% of leisure travellers use Search Engines as their first online travel information source
  • Travelers use a variety of search terms (both branded and nonbranded) throughout the research process

Google 2014 Traveler Road to Decision: Search Engines Popular Travel Planning Source

With search engines being the first port of call for travel inspiration and booking, all tourism businesses need to ensure they have a Search Engine Optimisation strategy implemented. This strategy is essentially a plan of how you are going to improve your web pages rankings in google’s search results, for keywords and search terms that are relevant to your product offering, not by being found for your business name. To learn more about Search Engine Optmimisation, I’d love you to read my blog posts on SEO, or if you are really keen to get a SEO strategy up and running, then you may like to consider our ZERO to SEO Expert eCourse >

Key take-away #3

Mobile is critical at all stages and influences booking decisions:

  • Smartphones are used throughout the travel process, including for inspiration during “snackable moments.”
  • Nearly half of those who use their smartphone for leisure travel inspiration ultimately book through another method/device.
  • Only 23% of those who encounter a non-mobile-optimized site actually push through to complete their activity.

Google 2014 Traveler Road to Decision: Smart Phones Travel Process

StatCounter Global Stats platform comparison data suggests that mobile usage is slowly but surely taking market share over desktop computers, with Desktop usage dropping approximately 10% in the last year to approx. 62% (Dec 2013 – Dec 2014), and mobile and tablet combined usage increasing approximately 10% in the last year to approximately 38%.

According to Google’s insights, 67% of leisure travellers use a smartphone throughout the travel process (dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing, post travelling), and 1 in 4 of people will end up booking their tourism experiences via a smartphone.
Therefore, as smartphone and tablet adoption increases in the travel industry, and confidence so does the importance of creating a mobile-friendly experience for your website users.
Finally, Google suggests that if your site offers a great mobile experience, users are more likely to make a purchase with 74% of people say they’re more likely to return to that site in the future, and 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service.

So if you want to keep up with the researching and purchasing trends of your ideal customer, then it may be time to consider investing in a Repsponsive Website Design, or even creating a stand alone mobile website.


Take a look at the research yourself!

In this post, we’ve only highlighted some of the main trends that we feel most appropriate for small to medium size tourism businesses, however, we absolutely encourage you to read the full research study, as the insights are very interesting, and may spark some other ideas you have for your business.

If you have any trouble deciphering the statistics, or would like to discuss them further, then please do pop your queries in the comments section below, and I will be sure to help you out!


About the author, Paige Rowett

Paige is the co-director of Tourism eSchool and a Tourism Marketing Consultant (www.paigerowett.com). Paige is passionate about working with tourism destinations & operators to create sustainable marketing strategies, specialising in marketing strategy, customer advocacy, customer experience, content marketing, website strategy, search engine optimisation & blogging.

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