What travelers search for and what they actually book are horses of different colors and these insights highlight exactly how that plays out around the world.
People’s lives and schedules are often unpredictable and in many cases the days of planning travel several months in advance are long gone.
Last-minute travel is the only way for some travelers to take a vacation or short getaway but their searches on booking sites don’t always match up with what they actually end up booking in terms of destinations, party sizes and length of trip, evidenced in the charts below created by travel data company Sojern.
The first two charts for each continent illustrate last-minute search data and the second set of charts show actual booking data. These searches and bookings are for air travel between April and June 2015 and Sojern defines last-minute as travel booked seven days or less prior to departure. The Search Lead Time section indicates when travelers originally began searching for these last-minute trips that ultimately led to a last-minute booking.
Below are 20 charts outlining some surprising trends for last-minute business and leisure travel searches and bookings on each continent:
Charts 1/2: Some 34% of U.S. travelers search for last-minute trips between 0-3 days and 36% search for trips 4-7 days in length. About 34% also book trips 0-3 days long, but a higher percentage, 39%, end up booking trips 4-7 days in length (see charts 3/4 to compare).
Charts 3/4: The split between U.S. business vs. leisure travelers booking last minute is the closest to being even compared to travelers from all other continents.
Charts 5/6: Most Latin American travelers are searching for last-minute trips for only one traveler, but the percentage of trips being booked last-minute for one traveler is less than what’s being searched. More of these travelers actually book three or more people on a last-minute trip than they initially search for travel for three people (see charts 7/8 to compare).
Charts 7/8: Nearly half of Latin American travelers book last-minute trips for 0-3 days. Also, while their searches include the U.S. cities of Los Angeles and Miami/Fort Lauderdale, their actual bookings don’t include any U.S. cities and the top cities are in Mexico and Bogota, Colombia.
Charts 9/10: A third of searches by European travelers for last-minute trips are for 12 or more days in length.
Charts 11/12: And while 67% of European searches are for only one traveler, 56% of last-minute bookings are for three or more travelers. Also, 73% of bookings are for 0-3 days.
Charts 13/14: Some 45% of Middle East and Africa travelers search for last-minute trips for 12 or more days in length.
Charts 15/16: Middle East and Africa has the highest percentage of business travelers booking last-minute (88%) and subsequently the smallest percentage of leisure travelers booking last-minute (12%).
Charts 17/18: The destinations Asia-Pacific travelers search for last-minute don’t all overlap with those they actually book last-minute. These travelers searched for Hong Kong, Denpasar and Sydney, but actually booked the business hubs of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur instead.
Charts 19/20: More than half of last-minute bookings for Asia-Pacific travelers include three or more people.
Photo credit: Cable cars used as public transit in Medellin, Colombia. Dan Peltier / Skift