The major online travel agencies are in constant competition to be the top performer in the search game, but not all searches are created equal. Many marketers are only interested in attracting specific desirable customer segments that will be most likely to engage with their product.
One of these segments is high-income women travelers between the ages of 35 and 44, which Hotwire has been increasingly successful in attracting search-driven hotel bookings from. While Expedia and Priceline have remained steady in this segment, Hotels.com has lost some ground. A year ago Hotwire had captured only an average of 10% of the search-driven hotel bookings of this demographic, but the past few months have seen the brand rise to up to a 30% share in May 2008.
Women’s OTA hotel conversions deriving from a search engine as a whole are the result of organic clicks 68% of the time and sponsored clicks for the remaining 32%. The only competitor to rely more heavily upon paid than natural was Hotels.com at 54%.
This specific demographic is just one example of how quickly market share shifts can take place. As online marketers pursue specific consumer segments — either demographic, affinity/lifestyle, or other groups — understanding the search behavior of each can give them a distinct edge. And in such a competitive landscape that relies so heavily on search, a lot can be gained from such an advantage.
Jack is a sales and thought leader in digital marketing and Director of Sales at Evergage. Evergage enables marketers to increase conversions with real-time, behaviorally-targeted web personalization.