What digitally savvy French travelers seek when booking online

Francesca Benati

SVP, Online Travel Companies, Western Europe, Middle East and Africa, Amadeus

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Think of the last time you ordered a gift online. Maybe you received a tailored offer, which helped you navigate a sea of contenders. In any case, after you were sure you had found a great deal on the perfect present, you checked out at the click – or tap – of a button, possibly opting for same-day delivery. But is this simple, convenient and personalized experience what you get when booking a holiday?

The reality is travelers are increasingly expecting a similar shopping experience during trip planning and booking. Heightened expectations are mounting pressure on online travel companies to respond quickly as they are forced to operate in a more competitive market and meet travelers on their own terms. 

But what are travelers really looking for when booking online? What frustrates them? Who influences them? How does this differ across countries?

This is precisely what we are uncovering in our Digital Footprints series of reports, which debuted with a focus on Argentina in October 2019. Running across 12 markets – from France to Indonesia – each report draws on insights from local leisure travelers to find out what makes a great travel booking experience online. Our aim is to help travel sellers make sense of consumer preferences, cultural nuances and shifting market dynamics, ultimately to inform their strategic decisions.

Now it’s time to deep dive into what French travelers want when booking leisure travel. We have categorized research findings into three areas – Travel Inspiration, Planning and Booking, as well as Travel and the Environment.  Here are some of the highlights: 

Influencers and bloggers play a decisive role

Our research highlights the role that online influencers play in driving people’s travel booking choices in France. Almost 74% of travelers we surveyed said they now look to travel blogs, vloggers or influencers for inspiration or information when planning a holiday or a trip. While there may be a perception that the internet has led to an increase in last-minute bookings, we’ve seen that holiday-goers online still prefer to book their basic trip components such as flights well in advance. Many then add other elements to personalize their trip closer to the time of departure.

Personalization is king throughout the trip

The study revealed that overall, personalization came out as the top priority among our French travelers, before and after booking a trip. While 82% of leisure travelers surveyed said they would like to be kept informed about airport transfers, 50% said they would like to be informed about airport retail offers. Furthermore, 81% of travelers conveyed interest in being informed about experiences and excursions once at the destination itself. This is a huge area of potential new revenue for online travel retailers.

Transparency in pricing is vital to boost conversion

One thing that remains constant is the desire for value for money! We found this to be an important factor among consumers throughout the whole booking process, right from the outset of selecting a preferred online travel agency. Transparency is key for French online travel agencies looking to convert more sales online – especially considering that a quarter of respondents said they had completely abandoned an online booking because of hidden fees and charges.

Sustainable travel is important, but there is a caveat

Even though environmental concerns are top of many people’s minds, there is a noticeable reticence to compromise the ideal trip to accommodate more sustainable options. Despite 60% of travelers indicating that they are concerned by the impact travel has on the environment, 77% said they would only opt for a more environmentally friendly mode of transport if it was equal in every way to the original option.

This research builds on our commitment to help online travel players thrive in a hyper-competitive marketplace. I’m confident it will equip them with useful insights to evolve, expand, and explore new opportunities for connecting with online travelers in the digital era.

Want to know more? Download a copy of Digital Footprints: Discovering Online Travel Needs in France and visit Argentina, North America and other market reports that will be published here in the coming weeks.

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Leisure Travel, Live Travel Space, Traveler Experience, Travel Search, Research