The latest research by Fuel Travel and Flip.to shows that, on average, leisure travelers are only visiting 4.4 unique sites before booking. This is a massive decline from the past where research suggested upwards of 38 sites (based on a 2015 Expedia Media Solutions study).
Let’s look at possible causes for the drop in number of sites in just three short years:
- Consolidation: Where years ago customers would browse countless OTAs, portal sites, destination sites, and resort-specific sites, the times have changed. We have seen a consolidation in the planning space with fewer sites having a greater share in the traveler’s decision set.
- The Planning Cycle: Customers are beginning to expect instant gratification in their lives, in their loyalty programs, and yes – in their vacation planning. A shorter cycle between deciding to travel and actually traveling will result in fewer sites browsed during the process.
- Improved Sites: Now that the OTAs are offering reviews, TripAdvisor is acting more like an OTA, and individual hotel sites are more advanced; customers do not need to visit as many sites to get the information key to making a travel decision.
- Google Knows: Three years ago, search engines were no where close to where they are now in providing decision-making data on the SERP. With the improvements in the travel knowledge graphs, the adoption of Google Hotel Ads (GHA), and improved results in general, customers are finding the right information quicker than ever.
Here are the key insights a hotel can glean from the data.
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