The Mobile Compass: How Smartphones Guide the US Travel Path to Purchase

These days, the American travel path to purchase looks less like Route 66 and more like a dizzying map of US flight patterns. The average trip-buying journey includes 56 visits to travel-related digital touchpoints*—and often these visits aren’t linear.1

travel_thumbnailTo find out what shapes travelers’ routes, Facebook IQ analyzed Facebook and Instagram data and commissioned GfK to survey 2,400 people ages 18–64 in the US who had booked a business or leisure trip in the last three months. GfK also recorded data on how 97 people used digital devices before booking a leisure trip to get an even more accurate picture of the process.

What we learned is that travelers are turning to mobile for a more convenient, streamlined experience. Facebook data shows that mobile booking is not only increasing, unlike desktop booking, it’s also steady across weekdays and weekends.2 Take a look at the infographic below to explore how travelers navigate the travel path to purchase and learn how marketers can prepare for the terrain ahead.

Want more insights, including information about multicultural travelers? Download our field guide.




* Digital touchpoints include travel-related searches and visits to travel-related sites or apps made on a smartphone, tablet or computer

1 “Passive Digital Travel Research Journey” by GfK (Facebook-commissioned passive observation of digital browsing, search and app behavior of 97 people in the US ages 18–64 during the three-month period before they booked a trip), Nov 2015–May 2016. A trip was defined as leisure travel involving a flight, hotel or cruise.

2 Facebook data, US only, Jan–Jun 2016. Analysis of conversion pixel data for travel ads shown to people ages 18+ on Facebook.

Source unless otherwise specified: “Digital Travel Research Journey” by GfK (Facebook-commissioned survey of 2,400 people in the US ages 18–64 who had booked a business or leisure trip in the previous three months), Nov 2015–May 2016. A trip was defined as booking accommodation and/or transportation for leisure or business purposes and staying at least one night at a location other than one’s home.