The pairing of online booking tools and mobile technology has given travelers greater flexibility and more control over how they plan and book their travel. As a result, independent hoteliers must now pay closer attention to who, as well as who’s not, checking-in to ensure their operations are aligned with the booking behaviors of today’s modern travelers. So, to help you stay in-tune with your guests, here are some key traveler booking behavior insights:
Travelers are spending more
If revenue is up this year, it’s because travelers budgeted to spend more in 2016. On average, U.S. travelers set aside $6,400, compared to $5,100 globally, to explore destinations far and near over a 7-day period. To prepare for their journeys, travelers spent 1-3 months researching and planning, especially on weekends when travel-related mobile searches outpaced desktop searches, before making final booking decisions.
Diving deeper into traveler purchasing trends, TripAdvisor surveyed 36,000 travelers and separated them into four distinct categories based on their buying behavior:
Flight bookers: 48% of survey responders initiated their travel buying by selecting their destination and booking a flight before making other travel-related purchases.
Hotel bookers: 29% of those surveyed prioritized booking accommodations over other travel-related purchases. Price was the main driver behind their decision making.
Mavericks: These are the 13% of travelers who book quickly with little research and planning.
Balanced bookers: The remaining 10% of travelers invest considerable time into selecting their destination and finding deals to help maximize value.
What does this mean for my hotel?
As an independent hotel operator, industry-wide traveler buying behavior data is likely helpful, but it may not tell you enough about the travelers who are booking and staying at your hotel. Here’s where email marketing, social media, online reviews and in-person interviews can help you gather booking behavior insights directly from your guests. If you’ve done a great job delivering memorable lodging experiences, your guests will likely be more than happy to share information that will help you continue attracting like-minded travelers and remain on the path to long-term stability and success.