Hotel booking trends have evolved significantly over the years with travelers spending more time researching and learning about their shortlisted hotels. The rise of social media and online travel agencies (OTAs) have also had a significant impact on hotel selection and booking. In this article, we will explore cross-channel hotel booking trends and the key factors that influence hotel selection.
Booking Trends: Preferred Booking Channels
According to market data and insights, most hotel booking journeys are not straightforward, especially in the high-end segments. This is evident in the analysis of over 60,000 data points about actual hotel bookings in the Maldives, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Seychelles. The analysis revealed that 28% to 43% of travelers plan to book with travel agencies, 27% to 31% plan to book on OTAs, and 12% to 24% plan to book directly with the hotel. The rest prefer other booking channels.
Key Hotel Selection Influence Factors
When it comes to travel influence factors, social media dominates hotel influence in the sub-38 age segments. The importance of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok varies in each destination depending on the market mix and age, but the three together make up over 34% of travel influence in each destination. This is followed by travel agencies, travel tips from friends and family, OTA search, and online search. The use of online travel influence, particularly social media and OTAs, seems more popular in the sub-36 age segment, while travel agents and tips from friends and families are more common in the 40+ segments.
Booking and Influence Trends: Significant Overlaps
Interestingly, there are significant overlaps between influence and booking. For example, over 40% of people who book with a travel agency first got interested in a particular hotel via the hotel’s direct marketing efforts. There is another 19-28% segment that found a great hotel with a travel agency but ended up booking either directly or through OTAs.
It’s also important to note that 21% of travelers plan to book directly with the hotel. However, with most hotels having an 8%-15% direct booking fare share, there is a huge discrepancy between the number of travelers who plan to book directly and those who actually do.
Reasons for Not Booking Direct
In a separate survey, we asked over 2000 travelers why they did not book direct. Among the top reasons were finding a lower price on OTAs, an unpleasant website booking experience, not trusting the website, and not finding the website.
Implications for Hoteliers: Marketing Strategies
So, what do these trends mean for hoteliers? Firstly, hoteliers need to focus on their direct marketing efforts to attract more travelers to their websites. This could include offering exclusive deals, loyalty programs, and providing a seamless booking experience.
Hoteliers also need to be active on social media platforms and leverage the power of influencers to increase their brand awareness and reach. This is especially important in the sub-38 age segment where social media dominates hotel influence.
Furthermore, hoteliers should consider partnering with travel agencies and OTAs to expand their reach and attract more travelers. By doing so, they can also increase their chances of direct bookings as many travelers who discover a hotel via a travel agency end up booking directly or through an OTA.
In conclusion, cross-channel hotel booking trends and influence factors are constantly evolving. By understanding these trends and adapting their marketing strategies accordingly, hoteliers can attract more travelers to their hotels and increase their direct bookings. Additionally, they can leverage the power of social media and online travel agencies to expand their reach and attract relevant guests.