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Key Takeaways From the First Quarter of 2023

As we near the halfway point of 2023, we’ve been reflecting on how the year has compared to our expectations, and to last year.  There are some key trends we have seen across our clients in the first quarter of 2023 (January–March).

56.1% more transactions were generated from ads versus Q1 of 2022.

Despite seeing rising CPCs over the past year or two as Facebook and Google have restricted targeting options in their ad platforms, we’ve still been able to generate significant gains in terms of the revenue the ad campaigns are producing, and we even saw a decline in average cost-per-click versus Q1 of 2022.

March was the weakest month of the quarter.

Most specifically, ad campaigns had the lowest returns and highest costs in March, versus January and February. For example, the average cost-per-click we saw across our clients in March was $0.77, which is $0.13 higher than in January. However, despite sessions, transactions and revenue from advertising being the lowest in March, March 2023 was still stronger than March 2022.

Organic performance is not yet on par with 2022.

During the first three months of 2023, we’ve seen year-over-year declines in sessions and transactions/bookings. Year-on-year we saw a 14% reduction in organic sessions across hotels, resorts, and unique travel experiences. However, there was a 6% increase in organic revenue versus Q4 of 2022.

Cost per booking has improved on the last quarter.

Luxury hotels and resorts and unique travel experiences on average saw improvements in the cost per conversion (bookings, transactions or inquiries). For luxury hotels and resorts the cost per conversion improved by 33% versus Q4 of 2022, and a sizable increase of 177% compared to Q1 of 2022.

Vacation deprivation is rife

A recent Expedia report highlighted that the number of people who felt deprived of a vacation was at its highest in ten years – two percent higher than 2020. There’s no hiding the fact that we are seeing significant inflation levels, and people are feeling the need to tighten their belts, but the study found that 69% of people would not deprioritize going on vacation, and would instead deprioritize purchases related to fashion, clothing, groceries, and dining out. 87% of people said they planned to travel the same amount, or more, than previous years; so while we are seeing some declines in metrics versus the past three record-breaking years, desire to travel remains, or is even stronger than previous years.

If you’re looking for deeper insights into how your data compares to these findings, speak to your Digital Strategist or reach out Linda, our Director of Sales,  to learn more about building a digital strategy led by data and informed by industry trends.