Path to Booking

Path to Booking

Tracking the Travel Purchase Journey

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 Expedia.com 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.

US Path to Booking: Expedia
Searches pulled over 12 weeks ending 3/3/2018.

Identifying Top Converting Channels


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.

US Path to Booking: Upstream Sites
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”.

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

US Path to Booking: Search Sequence
Searches pulled over 12 weeks ending 3/3/2018.

These airlines are already affiliates on Expedia.com, but perhaps they are also strong candidates for exploring a partnership or a co-branded flight promotion.

Southwest is the #1 website driving Expedia flight bookings, but AA.com is a close second, depending on the season.

US Path to Booking: Top Airlines
Chart shows top 5 airlines driving traffic to Expedia flight bookings for Jan 2017 – Jan 2018.

Converting Audiences: How Do They Overlap?


As with any travel site, Expedia has many different customer segments. Understanding overlap between different travel bookers can help Expedia identify package and upsell opportunities. Below, we list their most overlapped customer groups; there is the most overlap between car bookers and vacation package buyers. Car bookers tend to overlap with most customers, however, suggesting this is the ideal “add-on” service.

US Path to Booking: Audience Overlap
Searches pulled over 12 weeks ending 3/3/2018.
US Path to Booking: Top 3 Overlaps

Knowing the demographics of onsite bookers can help you tailor messaging to attract more converting customers. For example, Expedia might use words like “leisure” for hotels to entice an older audience, and “adventure” for younger people booking flights:

Path to Booking: Expedia Audience