Travel Behavior: The Path to Purchase.
By Net Affinity
Friday, 27th October 2017

The traceable steps a user will take before eventually deciding to book a room in your hotel is known as attribution: sometimes it can be a simple path, but other times it can be a complex and convoluted path, that takes place over days, weeks or even months before the prospect converts.

Travel booking behaviour, can be more complex than the average online sale of a book or item of clothing. Naturally, the bigger the price tag, the more time a person will need to research and reflect on the purchase before committing to parting with their money, as is true with booking a hotel stay.

Attribution is more difficult than ever. Understanding where your guests are finding your hotel, right through to which device they’re using to make the booking purchase is still murky waters for the hotel industry, although we’re getting closer to decoding it.

It’s important to remember that site traffic is equally as important as conversion rates, when a potential customer is browsing your special offers page, that is still a valuable part of their customer journey even if they don’t purchase then and there.

The online hotel space is becoming increasingly consumer-centric – as there is no linear path to purchase, the consumer must be given what they want at each touchpoint in order to be at the front of their mind once they’re ready to buy.

In this article, we discuss the key trends that our own client data, collected in the first half of 2017, has indicated. This data brought to the fore some interesting insights into the gender divide when it comes to making travel plans, and which demographics are using what devices.

Device Trends

People behave and book differently on different devices, here’s how mobile and tablet users stand out from the overall pool of your hotel website visitors:

It might not come as any surprise that mobile visitors are slightly younger: 10% of mobile visitors are between 18-24, and 63% of them are 25-44.

Age on Mobile

Tablet users are slightly older: only 4% of them are 18-24, and over 40% of visitors who browsed on tablets were over 55, compared to mobile’s 11%.

Those over 55 convert much less frequently on mobile, while those 25-34 book the most often.

Age on tablet

Is it Time to Forget Tablets?

Many industry experts will state that ‘Tablet is dead’, and that may be somewhat true, however, whilst there is still activity on tablet, be it traffic, or bookings, it’s still important.

What is most interesting, is that data shows that those who are aged 25-34 book much more frequently on tablets than any other demographic on any device. While tablet traffic is stagnant, this is a fact worth taking note of.

Who’s Window Shopping & Who’s Checking Out?

Nearly three times more women browse on their mobile than men. On desktop and tablet, these numbers are closer together: only about twice as many women as men browse on the larger devices.

Gender on tablet

In terms of revenue and transactions, while men still convert more often than women on mobile and tablet, the numbers are closer than they are overall. On mobile, men convert 1.25 times as often as women, as compared to 1.5 times more often across all devices.

This could suggest that in general, women tend to spend more time online to research and plan trips whilst they consider their purchase, whilst men tend to go on these sites to make the purchase.

According to BigCommerce across all eCommerce industries including travel, 43% consumer shop from their bed, 20% shop in the bathroom, 20% shop in the car, 23% shop at work, and 10% shop after the influence of alcohol!

What Does the Future Hold For eCommerce?

Whilst cross-device attribution models are still ironing out their kinks, the one thing hotels can do now is make sure all channels are optimized with the consumer at the heart. The should also ensure the booking process is as simple and hassle-free as possible to make a seamless shopping experience.

The next wave of eCommerce will be conquered by those who connect the dots from these various customer touch-points and provide a cohesive experience that delights shoppers — no matter where they interact with a brand and from whatever device.

Key Take Aways:

  1. The Customer should be central to your strategy, everything you do should be to please them.
  2. Don’t ignore any platform or channel where your customers are saying they like to either browse or buy – both are important.
  3. Think about how your site content displays for all devices compared with what your users are doing on each device – marrying these up with give a better user experience.
  4. Use tracking tools such as Google Analytics to understand your customer journey as much as possible.

Net Affinity
Focused exclusively on the hotel sector, Net Affinity has collated the brightest, most commercially focused, experienced and passionate team of online marketers, account managers, designers and developers whose combined skill set ensures our clients online success and continued growth. We created this blog because we wanted to share our expertise with you, and offer you the knowledge that over 15 years experience in the hotel industry has given us.

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