Stats from Google on Travel and Online Travel Research

The following stats were shared by Haley Knowlton Gribben, an Adwords Account Manager from Google. She presented at the Vacation Rental Manager Association’s Annual Conference on October 10th in Orlando.

It was a fast-paced and informative presentation. Thanks Haley.  These are my hastily scribbled notes:

Vacation Rental Search Becomes More Popular:

  • 42% Year to Year growth for popular vacation rental queries at
  • 34% growth in overall travel terms

10.2 sources being used by travellers in 2011 for their travel decision making process

  • 27% read email from a travel company
  • 85% searched with a search engine
  • 49% searched online hotel reviews
  • 37% read online travel reviews
  • 25% read online comments

Travel Purchase Timeframe and Planning Window: Most travellers began thinking about the travel purchase at least one month before taking their trip.

  • 8% 4-6 months before
  • 24% 2-3 months before
  • 21% 1 month before
  • 10% 3 weeks before

Affluent Travelers:

  • 80% of affluent travelers actually comparison shop “always or frequently”
  • This is more than personal or business segment travelers
  • The amount spent on the travel positively correlates with amount of research
  • “Research intensity increases with travel spend” Read more

Research Suggests Email Preferred over Facebook for Deals

March, 2011 research from daily deal site Eversave found that:

  • 75% of US Female Social Network Users like “Learning about promotions and deals from my favorite brands.

December, 2010 data from research firm ForeSee Results has a significantly different view of the power of social media sites as online shoppers’ preferred promotional channels for hearing about sales and promotions:

  • 65% Promotion Emails
  • 25% Postal Mail
  • 21% Retailer Website
  • 8% Social Media Websites (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube)
  • 5% Mobile Phone Text messages or alerts

According to Emarketer summary of ForeSee Results research: Read more

Email Marketing Statistics and Research

Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist, shares real research data that will improve your email marketing performance in his statistics webinar:   The Science of Email Marketing!

This webinar includes:

  • The best (and worst) times to send email
  • The best (and worst) words to use in subject lines
  • Real data about sending frequency
  • Actual proof about the importance of subscriber freshness

Here are some sample stats that are not industry specific:

  • Weekends get higher click through rates
  • Thursday is best (lowest) day for unsubscribes and Tuesday is the highest
  • Click through rate (CTR) is highest for emails sent between 6-7am and lowest for emails sent at 4pm.   The opposite is true:
    • Emails sent at 4pm have the lowest unsubscribe rate and the highest is at 6am.
    • 80.8% of people read email on their mobile phones
    • Your Click-Through-Rate is higher if you have more links in your email
    • More links also lower the unsubscribe rate
    • The unsubscribe link doesn’t stand out as much if it’s not the only link in the email!

Leisure Travel Statistics

The State of the American Traveler (July 2010) by Destination Analysts is a beautiful 4 page pdf full of stats about the mindset, travel plans, favorite activities and more for the leisure traveller.

They devote an entire page to some interesting online marketing stats.  Here is an overview of some of teh most relevant.

  • 42.9% used user-generated content.
    • 27% used hotel reviews
    • 21.4% used destination reviews
    • 19.8% used restaurant or activity reviews
  • 26.2% used social media for travel planning.
    • 8.2% became a fan of a city or destination
    • 7.8% used social photo sharing website
  • 28% used a mobile phone/PDA to access travel info
  • 15% used a travel-related e-mail newsletter
  • 31.2% used a DMO website
  • 16.6% used online video

Here is a screen on respondents answers to the question “Which of the following did you specifically do using your mobile device” (select all that apply, asked only of those using mobile phones/PDA to access travel information)

Proof Email Marketing is Dead: Open Rate for Emails

In Email Marketing is Dead the Statistics and Social Proof Clint Mayer confronts us with an argument that marketers should ditch their email marketing in exchange for a social media strategy.

He says:

According to a July 2010 Edition of the Email Marketing Benchmark Report  released by, the average open rate of emails in the USA dropped from 14% in half 2 of 2007 to a humble 11.2% in half 2 of 2009.

The decline in email open rates has been attributed to factors like image blocking, increased use of email hand held devices and list fatigue, but the biggest reason is being grossly neglected. It is what we are calling the era of social advocacy – Social Media.

Consumer Review Statistics Motherlode

Bazaarvoice hosts the motherlode of  “Social Commerce Statistics” snippets with an emphasis on reviews but much more.

Here is a small sampling:

  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted- nearly 12 times more- than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US mom Internet users by online video review site EXPO.  (eMarketer, February 2010)
  • 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users. (Econsultancy, July 2009)
  • Customer reviews are an important research tool for online consumers, with 71 percentconsumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product. (Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, December 2008)
  • Top-rated products site navigation path featuring 4- and 5-star products in each category delivered 49% higher conversion and 63% higher average order value. (Bazaarvoice, June 2007)
  • PETCO realized a 5X increase in email click-through rates by including relevant ratings and reviews content in the campaign promotion. (PETCO, June 2007)

Bazaarvoice also has a whitepaper resource guide.

Consumers Want Personal Deals and Services

In a great article about Customer Loyalty and Hotel Marketing (In Search of Customer Loyalty) Madigan Pratt reports:

Today’s traveler is far more sophisticated than ever before. And they want your messages to be personalized. According to the Chief Marketing Officer Council survey:

  • 58% of consumers surveyed want more compelling and personal benefits and services
  • 52% want more compelling personal deals and offers

Hospitality marketing professionals dedicated to delivering personalized communications with relevant offers and content will be the Loyalty Leaders. “Relevant” information is what guests want to hear – not the incessant sales pitches far too many (desperate) hoteliers deliver.

Email Marketing Really Works in the Travel Industry

According to Research from Epsilon’s Email Branding Study: Flying High: Measuring the Value of Email Marketing for the Travel Industry, the receipt of permission-based email makes travel consumers more likely to do business with a travel company.

  • 63% of recipients of permission-based email from travel companies more likely to buy from companies that send them email
  • 50 % who receive permission-based email from travel companies said they feel more loyal towards the sending companies and their brands
  • 86% of respondents who opt to receive email from travel companies do so to learn about sales, discounts and special offers
  • 51%  subscribe to learn about existing packages and destinations
  • 48% subscribe to receive coupons
  • 46% subscribe to hear about new packages, routes and destinations
  • 69% want to receive personalized content based on their website activity and past purchases
  • 48% who receive email from a travel company said the email has a direct impact on offline purchases.

Average ROI for Email and SEO

According to a Direct Marketing Associates study based on 2009 marketing data:

  • Email Marketing returned $43.62 for every dollar spent.
  • Search Marketing returned 21.85% for every dollar spent.


Email Marketing Still Works

Emarketer’s E-Mail Marketing Still Works is chock-full of e-mail marketing data that paints a rosy picture for the future prospects of e-mail marketing.

Permission-based e-mail is great at getting consumers to buy.

  • Half of US adult e-mail users surveyed in April 2008 said they had made an online purchase in the previous year as a result of permission-based marketing.
  • E-mail was second only to customer reviews on Web sites for influencing online purchases
  • E-mail was roughly equal to search results in terms of influencing online purchases.
  • About one-third of respondents  said they had stopped doing business with at least one company as a result of poor e-mail marketing practices.