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Web Shopping Picks Up, But Conversion Remains Low

October 1, 2020 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

The latest edition of the Pulse Report, which tracks data from September 7-20, shows some considerable increases in web traffic across most markets, as interest in travel begins to rise significantly. 

Continued growth in pick up and pace have also been reported across the majority of markets, with APAC continuing to show growth despite the challenges of surges in COVID-19 cases, and the ongoing failure of the proposed ‘travel bubbles’ to materialize. This growth is possibly helped, in part, by the Chinese ‘Golden Week’ holiday at the end of October. The next edition of the Pulse Report may possibly shed more light on this.

Web Traffic

In the North American market the Pulse Report data is showing increased interest in travel across the region, with a 29% increase in traffic compared to the previous report. This continued growth is notable, especially when you take into account the fact that the last Pulse Report covered the Labor Day holiday. There is a growing interest in travel planning, even if this is still not quite translating into bookings.

In LATAM, the big news is that web traffic is now pacing at or above the same time last year, with a 38% increase compared to the same period in 2019, and a 5% increase compared to the last Pulse Report. This shows an incredibly strong interest in travel into the region.  

In Europe it is a similar story, although not quite as impressive at LATAM. Web traffic levels show stable increases across the region as a whole, increasing on average by 42% across October, November and December.

Finally, in APAC web shopping has remained stable for the most part, with some minor increases. The region as a whole increased on average by 18% for the upcoming three months. However, a slight slowdown was observed in Greater China for the months of November and December, perhaps as travel is focussed on the short term with the upcoming Golden Week holiday in October. 

Pick Up

The North American markets saw gross new bookings levels remain very consistent over the past seven weeks. And as we head into the new month, some states are continuing to report positive gains. For October 2020, the states performing the best are Nevada, Tennessee, Florida and Arizona, the latter posting a healthy +176% growth in new bookings compared to the last Pulse Report.  

The uptick in web traffic into North America is still not converting at levels hoteliers would ideally like to see. People are clearly looking, but this is not translating into bookings yet. The same can be said of LATAM, where the web traffic is phenomenally high, but with conversion rates remaining dangerously low.  

Daniel Lofton, Director of Hospitality Solutions at Duetto, commented: “Web shopping has increased across the North and Latin American regions, but the pick up is just not following through. We are seeing an increased amount of interest in travel, perhaps as people get tired of lockdown and begin to dream about getting away. But when it comes to it, there are several reasons why they might not make the booking. Perhaps the restrictions in a certain destination put them off, or the price of a hotel, or the fact that they don’t know if they’ll need to quarantine when they return home or not. There is so much uncertainty at the moment, and it is clearly putting people off traveling.” 

South East Asia led the way in growth in pick up for APAC with a 229% increase for October stay dates, a 192% increase for November and an 108% increase for December dates. Morale was perhaps been boosted by the hopes of creating ‘travel bubbles’ but as yet these have not materialized. Singapore performed particularly well with 191%, 156% and 121% increases in new bookings respectively for October, November and December. 

Greater China has reported a further increase of 180% for October stays in anticipation of the Golden Week holiday at the start of the month, whilst Oceania continues to increase steadily. 

In Europe, most regions have witnessed an increase in pick up of some level. Several countries in Southern Europe, such as Croatia, Greece and Italy, continue to benefit from the effort to stretch the leisure season past the traditional summer months, by introducing a series of special offers designed to attract students, remote workers etc. The aim is to make up for the inevitable lack in business travel, which normally picks up from September onwards, and to fill the gaps with extended leisure travelers. The latest Pulse Report shows a huge 1146% increase in net pick up volume for October and 322% for November for the region as a whole. 

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