Travel industry analysts have released a monthly consumer intent and demand insights for August, analyzing the peak summer period.

The data shows overall traffic to travel websites decreased 19% in August versus July 2020. This was particularly observed in visitor numbers with booking intent which peaked between 05 – 28 July, near tripling compared to June as European destinations reopened following lock-down. Booking numbers significantly fell in August reflecting the closure of air bridges and reduction of available products on the market as travel providers cancelled package holidays to respond to evolving high-risk destinations.

However by tracking visitor intent, the analysts found that Planners represented a larger proportion of visitors, nearly doubling from 13% in July to 24% in August. Bookers represented a consistent proportion of visits at 7% for both August and July, compared to just 4% in June while Lookers, those on their initial travel search, peaked at the end of June representing over 82% of all visitors, before falling to 69% of web traffic in August.

The Frankfurt-based travel AI data company also noted travelers’ booking behavior is changing with bookings now spread equally across every day of the week, compared to a majority of bookings in 2019 made on Mondays or Tuesdays. This indicates a significant change in consumer behavior which will impact marketing plans and campaign scheduling.

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The experts also found that trip conversion rate peaked the week of 26th July before countries were added to red-lists across Europe. This was the first peak above 1% since early May when travel was indicated to reopen in July. There was a sudden drop in conversion the week of 02 August, marking the point when Spain returned to red-lists.

However by the end of August, booking conversions began to rise again, reflecting the changes in intent that a larger proportion of visitors are now possible customers. By tracking intent signals of known and unknown visitors, travel portals can use these insights to respond to each individual user behavior, with highly targeted messages and live promotions.

With only a few travel corridors available between destinations, users seem to be more precise in their booking intentions right from the start of their search. Travel companies need to focus on how to support Planners in decision-making as they represent ‘pent-up’ demand and to optimize messages and promotions to Bookers. Historic data and absolute figures are no longer providing the essential insights to enable travel portals to create targeted campaigns, requiring a deeper level of data in real-time.

Furthermore, as the industry emerges from summer into a traditionally quieter period for leisure travel, monitoring real-time visitor activity enables travel companies to respond to changing market conditions and consumer behavior. Particularly as governments give warnings against non-essential travel abroad, businesses need to be as responsive as possible to their customers.