The History of Vacation Travel Bookings & Why It Still Matters Today
Looking back at the behavior of vacation travelers and how they have booked their travel over the last 50 years has been an eye opener for me as a digital marketer in the travel industry.
After conducting my research I have found - the way travelers book their travel has changed tremendously, but why and where they book has not. Travelers book with the authority they trust most.
Most travelers have a mental checklist they go through when finding the property and destination they seek to travel to. That checklist involves questions like, “What do others who have traveled here have to say? Are the prices fair? Where is the property located? Is there WIFI, nearby attractions or restaurants?” These are just a few of the most common questions travelers ask during the journey to booking.
The Direct Website
A brand's direct website is, without a doubt, the most critical piece for converting a traveler into a booking. According to research, over 50% of hotel bookings take place online and 90% of travel related bookings start online (Click here to see the full article with this data.). These numbers continue to grow at a rapid pace.
There are many variables you must try to control on your website, including site speed, competitive pricing awareness, true value propositions, device responsiveness, images, reviews, content and more. These are all areas travelers deem valuable in their decision making process.
A brand that converts their website to a responsive site can see lifts in booking conversion of 25% in the first week of launching the site. Increasing the site speed by 1 second can lower the user bounce rate by over 10 percent. Implementing real tangible value propositions to guests who land on your website can increase direct bookings and lower OTA dependency. The list goes on, but the idea to get here is understanding your guest and the experience they have shown they want is the first place to put your energy.
What You Can Do
Start with the first principles method of thinking and start with the end goal in mind. If you are in the business and want to increase direct bookings, you must first look at the behavior of your guests and future guests. You know that travelers who book online are in looking for an easy and seamless experience that gives them the comfort of making the right decision.
We have put together a checklist for you to confirm you have control of the variables you can control:
- Is your website responsive to desktop and mobile devices?
- Is your booking engine responsive so that it works correctly on all devices?
- How many steps does it take a user to book a reservation?
- Do you have reviews on your website of real guests who have stayed with you?
- Is your payment process secure and safe for the user, using SSL?
- Do you have Google Analytics on your website and is it set up properly?
- Do you have a blog?
- Are the pictures on your site clear and of quality?
- Are you asking for email addresses and phone numbers?
- Is your phone number clearly visible?
- Do you give the user a reason to book direct?
- What are the load times of your website pages?
These are just a few of the variables you can control to increase direct bookings. We work with hundreds of websites and have optimized hundreds of variables on websites in the travel industry. We have seen these changes, along with others, make the difference between 1 online booking and 50. If you would like a full website analysis provided at no cost, please feel free to reach out to us anytime. Click here to get in touch with us.