The act of booking a trip or hotel stay is often the result of a long and considered journey for travellers. Increasingly, guests are making decisions and purchases in a non-linear fashion, as they make use of the growing amount of resources at their disposal.
Digital platforms and multi-device usage continue to evolve, influencing travellers in a myriad of forms; from when they first decide to travel all the way to the final booking decision. Understanding the methods and paths they employ to conclude their travel plans is a key insight for hotels looking to maximise the number of guests they can reach and convert on a global scale.
While travellers still use offline resources, such as recommendations from family and friends, the amount of online options, both where they can find information and how they view the information, are greater than ever before.
A new report from Expedia Media Solutions and comScore has uncovered some fascinating insights into the path British travellers take to purchase and the resources they interact with along the various stages of their hotel booking experience.
Here are 9 interesting facts we learned about British travellers’ booking behaviour:
1. Mobile reigns supreme with agnosticism on the rise
More UK users now engage with travel content on mobile than desktop devices, but multi-device usage has seen the biggest increase. In the space of a year, multi-platform engagement has grown by 15 points to 49%, while mobile-only and desktop-only sit at 28% and 21% respectively.
2. The battle of browsers and applications
Browsers are still the primary source of travel information but apps narrow the gap on mobile devices, with 64% of all travel information accessed via a browser. On mobile devices it is only 53% with app popularity continuing to grow.
3. They take long trips with a friend or spouse
Almost all online bookers travelled with a companion and more than half stayed a week or longer. The report found 88% of travellers sojourned in company while 59% booked trips lasting one to two weeks.
4. They weigh up their options
The majority of travellers began the booking process with multiple destinations in mind – 54% say they consider two or more locations early on.
5. OTAs are the most vital online resource
When deciding on a destination, 15% stated OTAs influenced them the most, ahead of search engines (11%), airline sites (9%), and hotel websites (8%).
6. Social media is a catalyst
Of those surveyed, 13% used social media as a research tool with travel pictures/videos proving the most engaging medium at 31%.
7. Advertising can be effective
Around 30% of respondents admitted advertising did impact their decision when deciding on a destination.
8. Early bird gets the worm
Ad recall is at its highest when travellers are still largely undecided about their plans, with travel packages the most memorable at the beginning of research (64%) while car rental advertising rates the highest directly before booking (27%).
9. Ads are for the younger generations
Interestingly, millennials are 25% more likely to notice travel ads when compared to Gen-X members or baby boomers.
So, how can hotels capitalise on these trends?
It’s clear that hotels have a lot to consider in the current industry landscape to attract an optimum slice of the market. Here are the most important tips to consider:
1. OTA connection is a must
It’s clear OTAs are a popular and powerful influencer on travellers so any sound business plan will involve connecting your hotel to multiple OTAs. However, remember that the more you have the more complicated it will be to balance and manage them, unless you have a channel manager.
2. Technology is your friend
This is particularly important in relation to mobile devices. By now, most travellers are extremely tech savvy and they use their technology to inform their decisions. With mobile engagement on a trend of exponential growth, it’s imperative your hotel’s booking information is accessible via a mobile optimised website.
3. Social media and advertising shouldn’t be ignored
People are constantly inspired to travel and much of this stimulation stems from social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat etc. Additionally, well-placed advertising can have a massive impact on kickstarting a person’s desire to travel. Hotel marketers need to keep both these factors in mind when targeting their market.