4 Key Tips to Navigate the Complex Shopping Journey and Reach More Travelers

For six years running, Google has commissioned Ipsos MediaCT to conduct a U.S. based traveler tracking study to help us recognize the role of the internet in travel decision making.

This year’s study provides hospitality marketers with insights on travel behavior and attitudes, which in turn help develop appropriate digital marketing strategies.

As per usual, there is a lot of really interesting information that comes out of the research. There are a few insights in particular that caught my attention:

  • Most leisure and business travelers are undecided on a hotel when they begin planning
    • Tip: Showcase your hotel’s story to stand out from the competition on all the channels shoppers are visiting as they make their way down the purchase path
  • 75% of leisure travelers switch between devices to complete planning and booking
    • Tip: Optimizing your hotel’s website for smartphones and tablets isn’t a luxury, but rather a necessity
  • 54% of travelers watch online travel videos when selecting accommodation at a particular destination

Today’s travel consumer is in charge. They choose how and when they will shop for hotels. They decide what device is most convenient to conduct their research. They often prefer to solicit input from friends/family, or even strangers on social channels rather than taking the brand’s word for it. The booking decision rests squarely on their shoulders and their selection is based on how well we can engage, inspire, and inform.

This five-minute video with the highlights from our webinar with Google provides insight on the top trends for 2015 which you can then use to get a leg up on the competition.

4 Key Practical Takeaways

  1. People are inspired primarily by online resources, most especially through social and video sites and search results so it’s important that your hotel be represented on these sites and optimized for search engines
  2. The research phase is a critical part of the planning stage of hotel shopping which presents an opportunity for hotel marketers: Grab travelers’ attention, and stay memorable as they go through the consideration process
  3. Mobile is important throughout the entire shopping journey with the majority of leisure and business travelers switching between devices to complete planning and booking. Being optimized for smartphones and tablets shouldn’t be a back burner initiative any longer
  4. More than half of hotel bookers watch online videos to make a decision regarding their accommodations. Video production isn’t as expensive as it used to be and there is an option for every budget

Most hotel marketers will readily say that things are changing so rapidly, it’s hard to stay on top of it all. I’m always grateful to fellow industry thought leaders when they share new research and observations because it helps the hospitality community keep up with trends on how modern travelers shop, research, book and experience travel.

At Leonardo, our goal is to develop educational content that focuses on topics that matter and to illustrate how hotel marketers can use this knowledge to reach and engage more hotel shoppers with up-to-date digital storytelling techniques.

Every hotel has a story to tell and the key is curating and displaying the content into something meaningful to the shopper, so that your property is remembered, booked and shared.

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