- Travel-related impulse buying is an untapped market with major potential for growth, per research revealed in a new Google blog post. More than 60% of U.S. travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal, according to the study that Google conducted with Phocuswright.
- That trend toward impulse buying is evident in a 150% surge in travel-related searches for “today” and “tonight” in the past two years. The study also found that 57% of U.S. travelers said brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors, and 36% are willing to pay more for that kind of service.
- Oliver Heckmann, Google’s vice president of engineering for travel and shopping, said artificial intelligence (AI) will transform travel searches in the same way it has improved Google Translate, the search engine’s language translator. “When we converted most of the Translate traffic to an AI-based system, we saw overnight gains in quality roughly equal to what the previous system had accrued in its entire lifetime,” he said.
With smartphones becoming must-have travel companions for many on-the-go consumers, marketers must respond to the shifting mobile preferences for booking and planning trips.
Tools like machine learning and AI can help to automate that personalization element, with consumer-intent insights like purchase history, location and search history. Google forecasts that the tech will become increasingly important in the travel space as it can be used to simplify and streamline the travel booking experience.
At the same time, travel booking is a particularly popular category of mobile apps — especially among men. The cost-per-first-booking dropped in 2017: the peak cost to acquire a mobile user who made a reservation was $36.95, nearly half of 2016’s peak cost of $61.09. The average cost-per-reservation of $27.98 in 2017 was $16 less than the 2016 average of $43.88.
This year, 40% of online travel sales will come from mobile devices, including airline, car rental, cruise, hotel and transportation, according to a June study by eMarketer. Mobile travel sales are estimated to grow 17% to $76 billion in the U.S., while desktop and laptop usage will fall 1.6% to $113.8 billion. EMarketer predicts mobile will represent nearly half of all online travel sales by 2021, which points to the growing demand for more mobile-focused, personalized experiences.