BookingSuite Traveler Trends Report: The Decision Stage

This is the third and final installment of our 2016 BookingSuite Traveler Trends report which explores current trends in online booking behavior. The series also addresses how our property partners can adapt to the contemporary booker’s needs.

In the last chapter of our trends report, we’ll discuss how you can influence travelers in the final stage of travel planning. How can hoteliers influence travelers as they decide once and for all which accommodation to book? Since search and hotel sites so important during the decision stage, SEO, paid search, and a high-quality property website are important. Make sure that your property’s directory information is correct and your Google My Business account is set up so that you appear on map searches. Searches at the decision stage can be hard to rank for because large travel sites tend to dominate the organic rankings, and pay-per-click campaigns can be very expensive for such popular keywords.

That said, 67% of travelers book at an accommodation which offers relevant online information about their destination. Given the importance of relevant destination content online, as well as the dominance of search engines, property websites featuring quality content are more important than ever. In summary, the keys to online success: be available and relevant.

Finally, the online researcher and decision maker becomes the online booker. While some consumers do book rooms on mobile, many people still feel uneasy using their phones to make such an important purchase.

Only 23% of leisure travelers are confident that they can consistently find the same flight and hotel information on their phones as on desktop. Forty-six percent of travelers who research on mobile make their final decision through mobile but switch devices to book. In summary, 45% of people have booked travel through a website on a computer and 40% through an app.

Bookers also take online reviews very seriously. Seventy-six percent of people are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores than the competition. As a result, good reviews help properties get more bookings at the right price.

Make booking easy and reassuring for customers from any touch point. Here are four methods that will help your property attract more online bookings:

  1. Make sure that your site works seamlessly on any device
  2. Make it easy for guests to call your property from directly from their mobile phones
  3. Distribute rooms on the right channels (i.e. website, OTA, groups, etc.)
  4. Highlight positive guest reviews

The best advice to increase your chance of having a guest book with your property at any point in their purchase journey is to be available, provide relevant information, and provide confidence that the guest is making the right decision.

Today’s traveler has a nearly unlimited amount of information at their fingertips at any given time. Plus, vacations are both rare and important to people’s wellbeing. Therefore, choosing where to stay is a complicated process for travelers. From inspiration to research and finally to booking, there are many opportunities to capture your potential guests. We hope this guide gives you a better understanding of the thought process of today’s connected traveler so you can maximize these opportunities.

We hope you enjoyed our series on current traveler trends. Please click here to download the complete BookingSuite Report: Traveler Trends 2016.

 

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Nancy writes on BookingSuite solutions, as well as a wide range of topics important to the accommodation industry.

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