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Last week we released a new report in our Skift Trends series that helps to explain Search Marketing for Travel Brands.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.

Nearly half the travelers that airlines, hotels, destinations and other organizations seek are multi-screen consumers, and multi-device mobile usage stands to further increase with the growth of wearables within the mainstream commercial market.

According to Elizabeth Harz, president of media at Adara, some 75%–80% of search and decision-making is focused on desktop screens. Attendant to that, approximately 35% of travelers also explore options via smartphones and some 30% use tablets in the process as well. She emphasized, however, that the statistics represent “searching and destination evaluation; not booking, not comparing prices, but really the exploratory phase of discovery.”

Harz said that she and her team talk to marketers specifically about what these behaviors mean in the search space.

“The form factors of those different devices, the types of content travelers can explore, whether they’re looking alone or sitting on a couch with their partner looking at video,” she said. All of these elements influence the end result of the search process.

“It’s time for us to deconstruct what’s happening at that search-and-inspiration phase, across all three types of devices,” Harz said. “I do think the numbers are pretty staggering … that’s a lot of crossover. And I think it continues to grow … users get more and more comfortable with mobile bookings, sites get better, apps get better.”

While big-data opportunities are flooding the search space with available options and approaches to reaching travelers, travel suppliers are not always equipped with the infrastructure to fully benefit from data analytics.

“Not as many marketers as you would expect, with all the hype around big data, and data-driven marketing and communications for multi-device use, are able to deploy these strategies, or have the right assets ready to deliver on the promise,” Harz said. “It is difficult to execute on that front.”

Two concepts continue as a through-line in the travel search space. One, that content must increasingly suit the inspiration phase, and that it must do so across multiple form factors (i.e. device sizes and shapes). The other, that convergence of one kind or another continues to evolve. The ongoing argument — that there’s room for intermediary entities that can overlay the brand, property, airline, or destination effort with a technological infrastructure (meta-, techno-, or otherwise named) — extends to the multi-device space as well.