Channel Surfing: Where do today’s consumers shop for travel, and why?

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Taking a look at travelers booking habits

This week, Phocuswright published a study of consumer travel booking habits. We were a sponsor. The paper, Channel Surfing: Where Consumers Shop for Travel Online, asks consumers in eight major markets to explain how they sift through the millions of possibilities on offer to find their perfect trip. Do they prioritize a single hotel brand, or a single airline? Do they rely on online travel agencies (OTAs)? Do they mix, match and research endlessly?

Our research shows that the average person might conduct nearly 50 searches across 12 websites before booking just one flight. The same is true for hotels. However, this is the reason Expedia exists. This is why we’re here. And Phocuswright found that OTAs in general, are the platform that travelers have come to prefer. They note that “more travelers are drawn to the breadth of choice, convenience and competitive pricing available [on OTAs],” versus “bouncing from one supplier site to the next.”

For Expedia in particular, technology is the difference. Expedia was originally born at Microsoft; technology is in our DNA. We are constantly testing solutions, improving how share options all while smoothing the process at every stage. Phocuswright notes that OTAs “are, at their core, technology companies that deliver the power to book travel.” It lets us sort through the world of possibilities and present them to you in a clear, intuitive way, whether you’re sitting at home on a desktop or in line at a Starbucks on your phone.

For consumers, simplicity is the key difference. “Price,” Phocuswright reports, “is by no means the only (or even the most important) reason travelers book their trips on OTAs. Overall, ease of use is the leading reason.”

Again, this is why we are here. We work to make travel planning not only possible, but easy and enjoyable. Travel is one of life’s great joys, and it stands to reason that booking travel should reflect that. We know that there is much more work to do, but we’re up to the challenge.

Take a look at the below infographic outlining some more of the study’s highlights. You can also find the full study here.


Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Tarran Street

Technology and travel go hand-in-hand in Tarran’s world. Serving as senior public relations manager at Expedia, she focuses on the company’s technology platform and dabbling in adventure travel. After growing up in rural New Hampshire, Tarran caught the wanderer bug and has since lived in Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and most recently in Pensacola, Florida. She keeps up with friends and family in all these places with the help of various devices and gadgets, sharingtech tips, tricks, and travel tidbits along the way.

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