An article by Pete DiMaio for SC-based hotel marketers Fuel Travel makes the case that the number of Web sites visited by travelers prior to booking has decreased dramatically: from 38+ in 2015 to an average of 4.4 now.
Possible reasons cited:
- Consolidation in the trip-planning space: fewer sites with larger attention shares
- Shorter planning cycle because travelers expect instant gratification
- Better sites (OTAs, TripAdvisor and hotels) that make decisionmaking easier and faster
- Google improvements: decisionmaking information in SERPs, knowledge graphs, Google Hotel Ads
Key insights for hotels:
- Although many travelers visit only 1-5 sites, many others visit 10+. So if you haven't closed the sale by the time the prospect has visited 5 sites, you've missed your best opportunity, and the prospect will be seeing many competitive options.
- Being visible in search is critical to your getting seen while the prospect is at the top of the conversion funnel and still open-minded.
- Getting found in search is only the beginning: your Web site - starting with the landing page - bears the burden of making the conversion.
Unfortunately there are no recommendations here as to how to get your hotel Web site to show up in the lucky 1-5 sites those many prospects visit. The related listings (below) are worth a look in that regard.