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Understanding the behavior of the digital traveler

August 26, 2022


By Isabelle Hervouet
WW Head of Customer Experience

In this blog, Contentsquare’s Global Head of Customer Experience, Isabelle Hervouet unpacks key learnings from the Contentsquare 2022 Travel Digital Experience Benchmark report, which analyzed over 2.7 billion user sessions across over 328 travel sites from around the world.

The traveler’s digital journey across devices

New restrictions, vaccine stamps, and closures of the physical agencies during the pandemic accelerated digital transformation and mobile device usage in the travel and hospitality industry.

According to our 2022 Travel Digital Experience Benchmark report, mobile was the device of choice for many travel customers, accounting for 60% of online traffic in 2021—that’s a 7% increase from 2020. Clearly, travelers have gotten in the habit of browsing for holidays and experiences on their smartphones. However, when it comes to conversions in the travel industry, it appears to be the opposite — users still prefer to book holidays on larger screens, with a conversion rate of 4.6% on desktop, compared to just 3.1% on mobile.

This data suggests that users find booking on desktop sites easier than mobile but also highlights the importance of optimizing experiences on both devices. It’s important that travel brands understand the mobile vs. desktop split in order to prioritize digital strategies accordingly. And by having a clear picture of your customer and their buyer’s journey, you can effectively streamline your site’s user experience in order to increase conversion rate and revenue.

Take it from the pros: By leveraging user experience insights to optimize its mobile booking experience, a leading hotelier gained a $95k increase in yearly revenue. 

Striking a balance between content and site performance

Our 2022 Travel Digital Experience Benchmark report also revealed that 42% of visitors abandon travel sites after viewing only one page, with the vast majority of content never being viewed at all. And of the pages that are visited, the average traveler views just 53% of what’s on screen, often leaving without scrolling down the entire page. This is down from 2020, when the average scroll rate was higher at 67%.

With only half of content being seen, tourism brands should invest more time in optimizing their online content - by using beautiful and inspiring photos to attract customer attention and convert them, while also ensuring that site performance such as speed, isn’t impacted.

Travelers want seamless booking experiences and expect results immediately. So, if your site isn’t performing, they may leave your site and go to your competitor. Booking a hotel or buying a plane ticket are both big and emotional investments that in themselves can cause stress - you don’t want your site performance to add additional pressure.

In today’s digital world, travelers often prioritize speed above all else, so this really could be a make or break for your business.

Making the digital world more human

According to ABTA, 49% of travelers said their holidays are more important to them now than before the pandemic. People want to go back to experiencing travel — however, they’re still scared that the travel can’t happen, that they will remain stuck abroad without being able to go back, that they’ll not be reimbursed, or that they could become sick upon arrival at their destination. 

Consumers need to be able to trust the brand they choose to deliver a seamless digital experience before, during and after their travels. As such, travel brands need to make consumers’ lives easier and this needs to start with the first interaction. So, if there’s one thing you should prioritize this year, it’s understanding exactly how and why your users behave the way they do online at each stage of their journey in order to unlock a more human online customer experience on your travel site.

For more analysis and industry trend data to inform your digital strategy, download our 2022 Travel Digital Experience Benchmark Report.

About Contentsquare

Contentsquare delivers the power to make the digital world more human. The leader in digital experience analytics, its AI-powered platform provides rich insight into customer behaviors, feelings and intent, enabling businesses to develop empathy, create lasting impact and build customer trust with security, privacy and accessibility. 


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