Travel Retail eCommerce Trends: As Consumers Travel More, Travel Companies are Fighting to Stand Out

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We live in an age of doing more, seeing more, and touring more. Do it for the Gram. As the travel industry continues to develop, there are more options than ever to book flights, find accommodations, and discover activities worth traveling for. The travel industry is currently the second-fastest-growing sector in the world, just behind manufacturing. In 2018, travelers around the world spent a record-breaking $8.8 trillion.

We’ve been watching the leaders in the travel space and have found that two key players, Airbnb and TripAdvisor, have had some pretty impressive trends.

When Millennials Travel, They Go Airbnb 

Airbnb has come a long way since its start in 2008 when the idea of renting a perfect stranger’s home for a holiday was as foreign as, well, booking a ride with a complete stranger. However, it didn’t take long for the general public to latch on to the idea of home-sharing. Airbnb has continued to lead its competition, including travel veterans HomeAway and VRBO. Both VRBO and HomeAway were acquired by Expedia in 2015 for a cool $9.3 billion. 

Interestingly, Airbnb has tapped into the Millennial travel bug market and they are killing it. Millennials prefer to travel internationally, and Airbnb has more than 7 million listings worldwide. And to cater to millennials’ taste for expeditions, the company has started a travel revolution with Experiences as well as its newer offering, Adventures.

While Airbnb may not have as much travel experience under its belt as travel heavyweight TripAdvisor, year over year, the company has continued to exhibit promising growth. In Q1 2019, Airbnb saw a 95% growth in listing views over its count in 2018. There has been a slight decline for Q2 2019; however, the success is still strong. 

Additionally, Airbnb’s conversion rate is impressive. The company has grown its conversion rate over 330% from 2017 to 2018 and is on the path to continue this growth in 2019. While viewership is important and shows that the website is engaging with prospective consumers, conversions are a true testament to measure success. 

Airbnb has tapped into a niche market. Not only offering unique selections to compete with mundane hotels and resorts- offering yurts, treehouses and more, but the company has started a travel revolution. 

TripAdvisor Refuses to Be Left in the Dust

It’s a fact: TripAdvisor is a household name. When people think of booking travel online, it is one of the leading sites that comes to mind. In some countries, TripAdvisor even supplants Yelp in its offering of consumer-generated reviews of restaurants, attractions, and hotels.

The veteran has had 87x the listing views. This is partly due to TripAdvisor offering so much more than the newcomer, Airbnb, from 2016 through Q2 2019. Although TripAdvisor is leading the pack in views, Airbnb isn’t too far behind in conversions. This can be due to Airbnb expanding their offerings. With the launch of Experiences and Adventures, Airbnb is attracting a different market with millennials. “Tours” are outdated, Millennials aren’t interested in pilling on a bus, but rather unique activities that they can curate to fit their interests. 

The proof is in numbers.  TripAdvisor showed a healthy 77% conversion boost YoY between 2017 and 2018, while Airbnb showed an impressive 520% YoY.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? 

This might be the case as TripAdvisor has gotten into the travel adventures and activities market to attract millennials with the acquisition of Viator in 2014 for $200M. Similar to its parent company, Viator has an impressive listing viewership count. 

For Q1 and Q2 2019, the tours and activities website had 76,735,803 listing views, while Airbnb had just over 4.4M. Although Viator drives much more traffic to its website, the company does not convert as well as Airbnb. 

Airbnb’s YoY conversion growth has increased by 201% for Q1 2019 and 114% for Q2 2019. Viator, on the other hand, has seen all negative growth YoY in conversions. Dropping nearly 95% YoY in Q1 2019 and falling 96% in Q2 2019.

Final Thoughts

TripAdvisor remains ahead of Airbnb in many ways, primarily due to its long-established presence in the travel industry. But Airbnb is giving Viator a run for its money. Although Viator is the winner in listing views, the company has some work to do to increase its conversions to continue to outpace the progress of Airbnb.

Sites like Viator can benefit from the complete path-to-purchase data Jumpshot can offer. Jumpshot’s clickstream data is that it helps brands, retailers, and websites not only understand the online journey of their consumers and prospective clients in specific categories, but it also allows them to view traffic and purchasing behaviors from alternative channels as well.

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