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Visibility in search is key: 2017 leisure travelers visiting only 4.4 sites before booking
27 March 2017
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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.

- David

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David Boggs MS    - David
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