Nowadays, more people travel than ever before in the history. There are also more ways than ever to book a trip. That makes the process long and complex. So how exactly does it look like?
Let’s start from the beginning, what device do the people book from?
Well, while some people still use traditional ways to book a stay (e.g. via phone call) only 1% of all the travellers say they do not use internet on any point of planning their trip.
Those using the internet have many tools to choose from. Firstly, of course there are the computers, that still hold the first spot when it comes to bookings, but lately they are being caught up with by the smartphones. People like to be on the go and mobile devices become their tool of choice, also during bookings. Now with such technology the searching process is faster than ever.
And what do they search for? Most people start their search from writing down a specific name of a company, either a hotel or an OTA. Around 30% of all the users search for the destination first, a few percent choose to start their booking journey from an attraction in the particular location and another few percent search fairly randomly using general inquiries.
It is important to note that their search doesn’t end with finding a hotel. Thanks to presence of hundreds of informative websites 9 out of 10 users carry out a research before booking their stay. The research includes going through a few booking websites, searching for informations about the location, looking at the reviews of the hotel, the airline and even the place itself as well as their social media. Not many people book completely spontaneously anymore. The social interaction became of of the main marketing focuses of the companies in the industry. They have to now fight for the customers’ attention and gain their trust.
Since the opinions and reviews play a crucial role in making a decision, an important question is – where do the people search for them? It is very important to mark, that the travel market has shifted from the seller’s to a buyer’s market. It means that other customers’ opinion is what the potential users value the most. That is why websites such as Tripadvisor become more and more popular. Users themselves can now write their reviews about a hotel or a place and help others with making the choice.
After finally making that choice, who do the people usually book with? Recently the Online Travel Agents win with around 50% of all the bookings made through their websites, while the hotels hold a strong second position with more traditional travel agents on the third spot.
The process of booking is long and complicated, after all, we all want to choose the best option for ourselves. It is important to remember, that we do not choose the guests, but the guests choose us.