Cape Town, 5 April 2023 – Averaging 15M digital visitors daily, Expedia Group Media Solutions notes travel demand is alive and well – and ready for the taking. Guillaume Massey, Expedia’s Senior Manager Business Development – Destination & Air, and Lawrence Albahra, Senior Manager, Business Development + Lodging, kicked-off day two of WTM Africa’s Future Theatre programme by sharing insights from their recently released ‘Traveller Insights Report Q1 for 2023’.

The Report’s key findings include:

- Travellers are planning further in advance, with the 180+ day search window seeing the
strongest QoQ growth, with a 20% increase in search share.
- Q4 2022 saw new destinations emerge alongside old favourites, for example, one of
Mexico’s most sought-after destinations is now Playa del Carmen.
- Long-haul destinations are rising in popularity as traveller confidence returns, while
'staycations’ remain strong domestically for vacation rentals.
- Globally, the vacation rental scene has grown in Florida, Arizona, Paris and Brazil.
- Flexcations and blended travel on the rise, with triple digit growth in use of the business-
friendly filter on Expedia and
- Price still a factor, with 1/3 of people saying it plays a large role in where they travel.
- In South Africa, global searches saw substantial growth in March & August.
- A significant percentage of searches happen on desktop, which drives home the
importance of a strong web presence (images and content) in order to capture
audiences and increase bookings.

Massey and Albahra also shared pointers on how to break down research and use it to build a successful marketing strategy – one that speaks to travellers’ current and seasonal wants and needs.

“When travellers win, we all win,” said Massey. “We must not only look at data travel trends but learn how to break the information down to understand travellers and decipher what is guiding them. Then marketers can speak to what consumers want.” Learning how to break down data to build impactful marketing campaigns (ones that reach the right audiences) is vital to driving bookings. Expedia helps marketers look at data to see how to target the right travellers. In other words, what are your market(s) searching for? Hotel and package paths; mobile shoppers; preferred length of stays; and emerging and consistent trends all play into the effectiveness of a campaign. Expedia’s report summarises three key focal points for marketers that will create a stronger pathway:

- Reach: who you want and when.
- Build: your business with best-in-class traveller tech.
- Understand: traveller wants and needs – and trends at a market and macro level.

“Data holds the power to benchmark against competitors in order to develop strategies and increase bookings,” said Massey. “Comprehensive travel insights allow you to understand search and booking patterns – and use them to build effective campaigns.”

Although Expedia’s research highlights the importance of data in building, implementing and maintaining effective campaigns, the team cautioned against focussing solely on conversions. “Before success in conversions can occur, you need to increase search and engagement, which means paying close attention to sentiment, content analysis, seasonal trends, and website visits. The first step is to get people to a company website, one that is informative and impactful in storytelling, before converting to bookings can occur,” said Massey.

For more data points from the Traveller Insights Report Q1 for 2023 or to read the full report