PC is still hot for travel browsing

While mobile-first content are all the rage, Baidu Travel's Hong Kong-based business development manager Starla Shin, says most people browse through the online travel news platform using computers and laptops rather than mobile devices.

"Many people prefer to sit down, run searches and look through all the information on a computer when they are planning a trip rather than looking at snippets of information on a mobile device on the go," she said.

In response to a high number of inquiries about travel in the Baidu search engine, Baidu Travel was established in 2011.  It targets young and well-educated professionals in mainland China who want to travel abroad, offering information about travel destinations and tools for planning itineraries.

The platform currently garners 20 million page views per day from PC users, half of which come from the search engine.  An additional 15 million page views per day come from Baidu's mobile search engine.

The Baidu Travel mobile app, which was created last year, was downloaded 40 million times as of May.

Baidu Travel sponsored a third-party study researching people's travel planning behaviours.  The study found that almost a quarter of respondents would spend around a  month planning a trip.  Around 30% spend one to three months researching potential travel destinations and itineraries.

Shin said, "Users visiting our platform on mobile mostly use it to make travel notes or to read our travel guides."

On the other hand, although a longer time frame is often needed by the user to research destinations, short time spans are useful as incentives to push people to actually make a purchase.

Sec-killing refers to campaigns where customers must complete a purchase to get a big discount on a product or service in a very short amount of time such as two days or even a couple of hours.

Shin says that sec-killing has become very popular among online ticketing agents and airlines.

"If you do online marketing in mainland China, you will definitely see sec-killing campaigns like the ones used by e-commerce platforms and airlines where they motivate people to buy tickets with special promotions limited to a short period of time," she said.