Today’s travel consumers continue to use the online space to research, shop, buy hotel accommodations as well as share their experiences. But their demands are undeniably and dynamically changing. This leaves many of us wondering what they’re thinking and doing, but most significantly, how to really connect with them.
At VFM Leonardo, we have uncovered fascinating insights through our own research on online consumer travel shopping behavior, which is backed up in a recent report published by Travelport titled “The Well Connected Traveller”. The unanimous conclusion is that travel consumers are increasingly demanding richer visual experiences and opinions from like-minded travelers at every stage of the travel shopping journey.
Dramatic surges in video viewership and social media usage across the board are also testaments to these changing consumer demands.
Today, connecting with travelers is more than having hotel listings out on the web because “Travelers are looking for a mix of inspiration about what they might do, along with practical information about climate, customs and more.”
Rich media – the use of images and video within a “walled garden” experience – is in high demand and will be one of the next big trends in social media.
Travel shopping is a very non-linear process that can span from days to months, a single site to countless sites, from a smartphone to a laptop. In fact, Travelport’s research indicated 25% of leisure travelers are using more than four websites to plan and book trips and 42% of business travelers are spending valuable time using 3 or more sources. Google ran a similar study that showed the average leisure traveler conducted 12 searches, visited 22 web sites and took 29 days before booking.
These trends bring up some good and bad news.
The good: Travel shoppers are well connected.
This means there are many many new and exciting opportunities for hotel marketers to connect with travel shoppers.
The bad: Hotels are not.
In many cases, there is a divide between what travel shoppers want from hotels and what they actually get.
What we can do about it.
We can conclude that presenting informative, multimedia content that speaks to travelers’ emotions on multiple channels is the path that connects a hotel with today’s well connected travelers. And, the ability to display and syndicate that rich visual experience consistently across channels, devices and platforms is a must to reaching today’s hyper connected travel shopper.
Hotel marketers NEED to put their best foot forward on ALL channels and websites used by travel consumers.
Contact us to find out how we can help you present your hotel in a way that drives action wherever travel shoppers find you.
Download “The Well Connected Traveller” for further insights and trends from Travelport’s global survey of travel consumers.