The Battle for Bookings: How travelers make decisions
As a hotel, resort or other hospitality or tourism brand, competition is fierce. Understanding how and why travelers are making their decisions is vital for any brand looking to generate better business results. We're shining some light on how travelers are making their booking decisions, to help you better understand where to focus your efforts.
1. Wanderlust & Travel Inspiration
It's no secret that travelers are doing their research and vacation planning online. In fact, Google reports that 65% of leisure travelers and 69% of business travelers generally begin researching online before they decide where or how they want to travel. 56% of travelers cite the internet as being critical to their travel inspiration (compare that to just 10% who go to travel agents to inspire their wanderlust). While social networking sites like YouTube are some of their top online sources for inspiration, 61% turn to the search engines. If you don't have an inspiring, inviting online presence, you're never going to become a top destination.
Google again reports that 74% of leisure travelers and 77% of business travelers use the internet as their top source for travel planning, with search engines being the most popular online planning sources for travelers. Google reports an increase in leisure travelers turning to the search engines more frequently than brand sites for car rentals, air travel, overnight accommodations and cruises. That doesn't mean your brand site and apps aren't important, it means making sure they are optimized for search visibility and reservations is more important than ever!
3. Competing with Online Travel Agencies
Google reports: "One in three leisure travelers and one in two business travelers select an OTA for its superior site tools and options." So how can you compete? By offering a better booking experience, superior customer service and developing strong relationships with your guests.
4. Cross-Device Marketing
Desktops, tablets and smartphones are all used to research and book travel activities. This is true for pre-trip planning as well as reservations and research done on the road and to leave those all important ratings and reviews once a trip is complete. Ensuring your brand is well established and accessible across platforms is key.
Google reports that "nearly half of those who use their smartphone for leisure travel inspiration ultimately book through some other method". A seamless, easy to use online presence that translates from one device to the next has never been more important.
As marketing evolves and inbound methodologies become more important, travel and hospitality brands have to understand the factors that come into play when travelers are deciding where and how to book. Attracting, engaging, converting and delighting travelers is tough, but with the right understanding and focus to your marketing initiatives, your brand can succeed. For more information on how online marketing can and should play a role, contact E-Power Marketing! We can't wait to learn more about your brand and goals and put our experience in hospitality marketing to work for you!