The travel industry has seen significant change over the past decade as its digital transformation has made it easier for consumers to book trips independently. Referred to as ‘non-packaged travel’, it is currently estimated that 56% of the UK population had booked leisure trips in this way during the second quarter of 2019, according to estimates from the country’s Office of National Statistics.
New insights on independent trip bookers in the UK from Microsoft Advertising has now provided some interesting insight into the purchase behaviours of this group of travellers.
The research took place over a three month period (April – June 2019) and clearly identified independent trip bookers manifested into two types of online shoppers. These were identified as ‘monoline’ (purchasing one travel product) and ‘multiline’ (purchasing several travel products for their trips).
Interestingly, the research highlighted that more (56%) multiline shoppers began their travel purchase path with an accommodation purchase. Flights came in second for multiline shoppers, with 38% of multiline shoppers beginning their travel purchase path with flights first. Understandably, accommodation and flights purchases were found to be a popular combination purchase, with two in five (40%) of multiline shoppers opting for this bundle.
Activities also proved to be particularly popular as an add-on purchase, with just under half (47%) of multiline shoppers bundling a flights or accommodation purchase together with an activities purchase.
The findings also found a weaker brand loyalty with this booking group with 72% of multiline purchase paths (versus 62% for monoline) beginning with non-branded searches and 38% of multiline purchase paths (versus 28% for monoline) concluding with non-branded searches.
Multiline shoppers were also found to have the strongest brand consideration for car hire, with 46% of them visiting four or more unique website domains when purchasing this product. Meanwhile, flights proved to have the weakest brand consideration, with 37% of multiline shoppers visiting four or more unique domains when purchasing this product.
As the findings identify, the prominence of independent trip bookers and their weak brand loyalty is not ideal for many travel businesses that wish to keep their customers purchasing all elements of their trip from their inventory.