Any time travelers make purchases, they can follow multiple pathways that lead them to their ultimate decision to buy. With the Internet, they are not restricted to comparison shopping, driving by a store, or being referred by family members or friends. The tools available to the travel buyer are wide and varied. 

At times, these journeys are simple and feature few steps – such as when a potential guest knows exactly what he or she wants, visits your website, and completes a transaction (as few as two or three clicks). Think referrals and repeat business.

Buying Pathways can be Complex and Lengthy

Other pathways are extremely complex and may include several visits to a website before a purchase is made. Being informed provides hotel and resort operators multiple opportunities to reach travelers across multiple channels and websites. 

Hotels and resorts need to understand the journeys their guests take to complete their purchase so that they can spot trends, hone their marketing and PR efforts, increase visibility – all leading to more bookings.

Google Study Provides Key Insights to Buying Process

The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision study from Google found:

  • The primary source of inspiration is digital – in particular social and video sites along with search.
  • Travelers use search first especially for car rentals and accommodations. They use multiple search terms – both branded (e.g. Hilton Miami) and non-branded (e.g. Nassau resort).
  • Mobile is critical. Ensure your property’s website is responsive i.e. show up well on a desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone. Travelers may search on mobile but will likely buy on a different device or method.
  • Video is key. 66% of travelers watch travel videos online when they’re considering a trip, and 65% watch when they’re selecting a destination.
  • Family trip planning. Half of those researching don’t have a set destination when starting the planning process.

Major Takeaways for your Marketing and PR Planning

When planning a trip or vacation, travelers search online, read travel blogs, look at videos, and read review travel PR sites – all should include links to your property pages.

What can you do to gain competitive advantages?  You have to understand how the travel buyer thinks and then find effective marketing and PR tactics to adopt to suit your property offerings utilizing your strengths – all with the goal to make the reservations phone ring.

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