Data from Expedia Group Media Solutions, shared at Travel Forward Virtual, shows that the vast majority of global travellers are looking to book within 21 days of departure.
Senior director Andrew van der Feltz showed some slides which aggregated search data from Expedia Group’s platforms. The latest data, from Oct 17th, shows that searches for travel within three weeks of departure are by far the most common.
There is little difference between other windows, with departures 31-60 days ahead slightly ahead of 22-30 days and 61-90 days.
The research has been ongoing since April, the month when the virus and travel restrictions started to take hold. At that time, the split between the four booking windows was fairly even. Within a month however, searches for 0-21 days started to pull ahead and have been pre-eminent since the start of June.
Van der Feltz also revealed the motivations of travelers using data sourced from an intercept study of 20,000 visitors to its web sites. There has been a gradual increase in the number of people shopping at its sites over the summer, but he wanted to point out that people had come to its sites to “inspire themselves for their next travel”. Expedia calls this the dreaming phase and van der Feltz pointed out that “at no point [between April and August] did that fall below 40%.”
Earlier this week, the industry welcomed the news of a potential vaccine while remaining aware that there are still many hurdles to overcome. The supply and opportunities for travel will remain fluid, with van der Feltz advising destinations and brands to stay active.
“Do not go dark,” he said. “Remain visible, even if it is at a reduced level, but continue to engage and share content with travelers.”
Richard Gayle, Event Director, Travel Forward, added: “We are all excited about the prospect of a vaccine, but for now the industry is still facing further disruptions and uncertainties.
“Expedia’s global data paints a positive big picture. The fact that travelers never stopped dreaming about travel shows that demand never really went way. The data-backed finding that the demand is now coming within three weeks of departure is the sort of business-critical advice we want our panellists to share and attendees to take note of.