August 28, 2014

Most leisure travelers make their final decision on a hotel by visiting its website


While reviews on TripAdvisor and OTAs are influential in the final purchase decision, most leisure travelers still want to have a closer look at the hotel by visiting its website, says a new study. The study also finds that few leisure travelers rely on social media when making a hotel booking decision.

A new study of 2,000 consumers: The New Hotel Booking Path to Purchase: The Mobile, Social, and Online Journey from market research and consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) found that mobile, social, and online factors influence leisure travelers very differently at separate stages in the purchase journey. Additional findings include:

- Mobile devices play an important role in the initial research phase of hotel planning, but are used sparingly to book hotel stays. Over 60% of travelers used a mobile device - 47% a smartphone - during their hotel purchase journey. But only 6% booked their hotel via a smartphone.

- Mobile applications are used infrequently throughout the hotel purchase journey. In total, only 6% of shoppers used a mobile app.

- Consumer reviews trump social media in influencing research and evaluation as well as final decisions. Only 13% of bookers used social media during the purchase journey vs 59% who consulted consumer reviews.

- Price comparison sites play an important role even when they are not the final purchase location. Nearly half of travelers (49%) used a price comparison website such as Expedia, Priceline, or Kayak. 36% of those who used one or more of these sites ultimately booked their stay with them.

“There’s no shortage of information available to travelers as they plan and book hotels for their vacations,” says Judy Melanson, SVP of CMB’s Travel and Hospitality practice. “We know their path involves multiple sites and sources of information. The challenge for hotels is to decide how to align their marketing budgets to best intercept potential travelers—delivering desired content on the appropriate device and through the right channels and partners.”

Download the complete survey at Chadwick Martin Bailey (Free registration)