What Every Hotelier Should Know About How Consumers Shop Online
By Paolo Boni President & Chief Executive Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc. | June 2011
Co-authored by John McAuliffe, Chief Marketing Officer, VFM Leonardo
The internet has changed the way people around the globe research and book their holidays. There are more channels, more offers and more opportunities than ever before. Amidst all of this, how do you know where and how to connect with shoppers and get them to book your hotel?
According to a recent study by eConsultancy, nearly 53% of consumers are purchasing their vacations online. The same study stated that the Internet is involved in almost 85% of vacation purchases. This underlines the importance of the web to the travel sector. The flow of web traffic and bookings is becoming increasingly complex and success today hinges on a multi-channel and multi device marketing approach - a reflection of the changes that are happening all around us, driven by consumer behavior. Numerous studies of online consumer-behavior have found that consumers today are in a shopping mentality. Travel shoppers are in the multi-channel game, are you?
Hotel marketers can no longer ignore the reality that consumers are conducting extensive hotel research on multiple sites. Asking guests the age old marketing question, "Where did you hear about us?" doesn't give us the depth we need to know exactly how they came to book. It has become far more complex than that.
Transactional websites are only part of the story
What many marketers fail to realize is that both transactional and non-transactional websites are being used by travel shoppers for research purposes which ultimately impacts booking decisions.
In the world of online travel, transactional websites are only part of the story – two-thirds of the story, to be exact. Supplier and online travel agency websites (OTAs) combined attract two thirds of all travel category visitation, while non-transactional categories receive a third, according to PhoCusWright's Online Traffic and Conversion Report, Second Edition.