Consumers choose internet
The study “The Traveller’s Road to Decision,” released by Google and OTX in 2009, provides valuable insight into online travel research and purchasing trends. Every area of travel was included in the study, including hotels, flights, business, leisure and more, with over 5,000 consumers, who traveled at least once during a six-month period, surveyed.
The research indicates that consumers plan on travelling just as much in 2010, as in 2008 and 2009. However, they’re still frugal with their travel plans, a trend that is carrying over. In 2010, consumers are more careful than ever with their money and likely to wait longer for better deals, which is why booking time has become increasingly closer to real travel dates.
The study also shows that consumers are researching earlier and booking later.
For the last few years now, the research to booking window has expanded, but the booking to travel timeframe has significantly decreased. While travellers are often holding out until the last minute for the best deals, thanks largely in part to the poor economy, Google’s tools indicate that it doesn’t mean hotel Internet marketing efforts are failing. Another study by Google supports this finding by showing that average research to booking time runs as far out as 18 weeks out, especially with leisure travellers.
Travellers conduct their travel research via the Internet more than any other source. The study also found that slightly more travellers use general search engines, instead of travel search sites or online travel agencies, when planning trips. 64% of consumers surveyed use search engines for personal travel and 56% for business travel. The travel sites also fared well, but don’t have quite the traffic, with 52% using them for personal travel and 55% for business travel. Talking hotel specifics, 81% of business travellers depend on the search engines, compared to 67% of leisure travellers.
As visual creatures, videos enable travellers to see your property, its amenities, surroundings, etc. Overall, people tend to give videos made by fellow travellers more credibility, relying on them to be more objective. According to the study, YouTube is the most used site for travel videos, with 81% looking there for business travel and 79% for personal travel. Yahoo was second with business at 44% and personal at 32%. At every step of travel research, consumers are turning to online videos to help them make decisions. When considering a trip, 63% watch videos for personal travel and 66% for business travel.
Today, learning more about consumers’ travel planning behavior is vital. With the trends of search engines, reviews and videos, your pre-travel planners have more influence over your future success - all the more reason to keep them happy. One key point here is making sure your Website’s search marketing is top notch, so that guests can do as much research as possible on your site. Another key point, and one that we’ve all heard before but now rings more true than ever - never underestimate the power of a satisfied guest.
Editors Comments - I suppose the article from Travel Today above would appear like common sense but not all the travel industry acknowledges te significant advantage of easy access to destination websites. Search engines like google can get travel researchers part of the way there but easy to use information refferal sites such as tourismportdouglas.com.au can funnel those vital enquiries and if your website is 'top notch' as remarked above then those leads will turn into bookings. It's good to see that confirmed in this article.