Skift Take

The fast bookers are going to be enabled more and more by mobile and continued evolution of efficient metasearch technologies. And understanding the behaviors of intensive researchers can help make user experience on online research and booking tools a lot better.

A fascinating new piece of research from GfK, the large market research company, as part of its travel practice, on how digital consumers are booking travel online.

The research, presented at ITB conference in Berlin last week by Matthias Hartmann, CEO of GfK Group, used a panel of German travelers and among other habits looked at the online research behavior of two different groups before their bookings: what it calls “fast bookers” and “intensive researchers.”

It defines fast bookers as those who spend less than 4 weeks to book their trips, while the intensive researchers are those who take anywhere up to 25+ weeks (!) of online research, and focuses its findings on German internet users.

Among the findings, the fast bookers vs intensive researchers are split almost down the middle, as the chart above shows. A good 36% of travelers are using a quick week or two to research and book their travels online.

Then there is a large long tail of users who trail on for weeks and weeks before they first make up their mind and then move to the point of transaction, according to GfK research.

Drilling down more, the two categories have specific characteristics, as the chart below shows, with fast bookers using package holidays more, are generally younger and female, while intensive researchers are focused on optimizing the best possible flight price/connections, and are generally older and male.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.36 AM

The last part of the research was examining the click stream of the intensive researchers, and what sites do these online travel bookers use to get to the final point of transaction, after weeks of research. And turns out, it is a huge mess of tons of sites, a fact borne out by other research into the number of sites online travel bookers look at, before finally booking their travels.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.14.36 AM


The full ITB presentation by Matthias Hartmann, CEO GfK Group, embedded below:

Download (PDF, 2.23MB)

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