Online Travel Agencies More than Just Booking Engines

Once again, it is proven that hotel shoppers bounce from site to site to search for and compare hotels – looking for the best fit and value, confirms Tnooz, Google who? Expedia largest traffic source for Priceline.

Traditionally, hoteliers have viewed online travel agencies like Expedia and Priceline as sites that hotel shoppers use only for booking hotels. But research continues to show otherwise. Travel consumers are going from Expedia to Priceline and so on to research and compare hotels (not only to book).

According to the study referenced above, after Expedia, the leading sources of traffic for Priceline in January 2012 were the Kayak network (12%), Google sites (12%), Microsoft sites (9%) and Yahoo sites (6%), according to the Citi’s Annual ‘Net Influence Report.

There is an extensive amount of shopping happening on online travel agencies alone. But they are only part of the picture. This specific study doesn’t touch on all of the other types of sites travel consumers are also visiting during their hotel shopping journeys.

Henry H. Harteveldt, one of Atmosphere Research Group’s co-founders and former Forrester Research analyst shared the following information at the HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) conference in December, 2011.

  • A typical leisure guest will visit more than two dozen touch points while researching a trip.
  • Leisure guests are finding a variety of different channels helpful during the process.

What does all of this mean for hotel marketers?


It means that what online consumers see about your hotel must be compelling, consistent and relevant across all touch points (including online travel agencies). Otherwise, you risk not even making the shopping list of hotels to consider. Your online presentation impacts booking decisions.

There are A LOT of opportunities to grab the hotel shoppers’ attention and make a great impression. Are you taking advantage of every opportunity you can?

VFM Leonardo’s VBrochure product can help you give travel customers a virtual experience that will persuade them to want to stay at your hotel. VBrochure gives hotels a competitive advantage by making them more visually appealing and stand out over other options. Learn more.

View Comments