A new study from Expedia® Media Solutions, the advertising sales division of global online travel leader Expedia, Inc., reveals that while online content consumption spikes during the vacation package planning and booking phases across both U.K. and U.S. consumers, the groups have very distinct internet usage habits. Planning and review sites are recognized in the study as leading travel resources for U.K. consumers, as well as the dominance of retail in online content consumption. The Traveler’s Path to Purchase study, commissioned by Expedia Media Solutions and conducted by Millward Brown, examined the 45-day period leading up to a vacation package booking and identifies online consumption habits of the average U.K. vacation package booker who had visited an online travel agency (OTA) or Travel Agent and a destination marketing organization (DMO). Key trends from the study include: - Content Consumption Spikes During Purchase Path: According to the findings, U.K. consumers, on average, made 35 visits to travel sites prior to booking and as consumers approached the package booking date, overall travel content consumption increased. Travel site visits steadily increased during the booking process with 4.3 visits at three and four weeks out, six visits at one week out and more than 13 visits during week of booking. - OTAs Lead the Pack: The study found that during the U.K. path to purchase, OTAs are the most visited travel sites, accounting for 28 percent of visits, followed closely by travel agents at nearly 27 percent. In the U.S., 47 percent of travel site visits were attributed to OTAs. Both site types were heavily visited in the 45 days prior to booking, and on average, U.K. package bookers visited OTAs 4.1 times in the week leading up to the booking, 43 percent of which occurred on the same day. In the U.K., DMO sites accounted for 3.7 percent of all travel site visits, compared to 6.4 percent in the U.S., illustrating a potential opportunity for DMOs to partner with OTAs and travel agents to increase consumer awareness. - Planning takes Precedence in the U.K.: The study reveals that planning and review sites play a stronger role in the U.K. than in the U.S. throughout the entire path to purchase. More than 19 percent of U.K. site visits were attributed to planning and review sites, compared to 6.8 percent in the U.S. and when looking at U.K. travel content consumption at least one week out from booking, these sites are frequented almost as much as OTA and travel agent sites. - Retail Sites in High Demand During the Vacation Booking Process: In the 45 days leading up to a package booking, U.K. consumers visited non-travel sites more frequently than their U.S. counterparts, with non-travel sites generating 57 percent more demand than travel sites. On average, U.K. consumers visited retail sites 56 times during the booking period, eclipsing the 37 retail site visits in the U.S., while travel sites accounted for 35 visits, followed closely by news and media at 32 visits. However, in the days leading up to booking for U.K. consumers, travel consumption spiked dramatically, accounting for 38 percent of site visits, while retail site visitation declined. “The online landscape in the U.K. differs dramatically from what we see in the U.S., and this study identifies areas of opportunity for our partners to reach consumers in a highly fragmented travel market,” said Noah Tratt, global senior vice president, Expedia Media Solutions. “The findings serve as additional knowledge that will inform our creative partnership strategy and overall user experience.” Download the complate report at Expedia Media Solutions