Tracking the Purchase Journey in the…

Tracking the Purchase Journey in the Travel Industry

How can Expedia reach more converting customers? Where are users coming from before they book their travel plans? In this blog post, we examine the consumer’s path to booking in the travel industry.


Expedia Spotlight: High-Value Search Terms

As we see below, identifying search terms that lead not only to their website, but to bookings, enables Expedia to identify keywords to reach more converting customers.

Although the “hotels near me” has a lower click rate to than “hotels” does, more clicks from “hotels near me” lead to hotel bookings onsite. Similarly, “flight tickets” doesn’t appear in the top ten keywords list, but it’s one of the top five converting terms for flights; thus Expedia should prioritize spend for this keyword in their search strategy.

Searches pulled over 12 weeks ending 3/3/2018.


Identifying Top Converting Channels to the Travel Industry

Beyond search, it’s important to understand which social and content channels are driving conversions, in order to identify advertising or promotional opportunities. In the example below, we see that LinkedIn and Yelp are key drivers for car bookings on Expedia, whereas Pinterest is more important for hotel conversions and Reddit is key for flights.


In publishing, The Atlantic leads to more hotel bookings, while GQ drives more car rentals.

Channel drivers pulled for the month of February, 2018.


Getting Ahead of Flight Bookers

Let’s say Expedia wants to reach customers earlier in the funnel. Using search term sequencing, they can track what people are researching right before they narrow down into “expedia.”

Below, you see that a significant percentage of people are searching for “american airlines” before “expedia.” 1 step before, nearly the same percentage of people are searching for “southwest airlines,” or “southwest.”

These airlines are already affiliates on, but perhaps they are also strong candidates for exploring a partnership or a co-branded flight promotion. is the #1 website driving Expedia flight bookings, but is in close second depending on the season:

Searches pulled over 12 weeks ending 3/3/2018.
Chart shows top 5 airlines driving traffic to Expedia flight bookings Jan 2017 – Jan 2018.

This report was excerpted from our Path to Booking travel industry report, which details the key purchase-driving channels, search term sequencing, and customer overlap analysis of travel booking.

Identify what channels your consumers are using to get to you. Find out about search and channel optimization.

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