No matter the form of transportation or the season of travel, U.S. travelers are planning, booking and experiencing their trips with their mobile devices. A handheld smartphone combines essential tools; it’s a pocket travel agent, map and GPS system, and search engine. So, it’s no surprise that some of the most relevant insight in traveler behavior comes from Google.
A 2016 report from Think With Google announced that mobile search volume for hotels is up 16% year over year. Plus, search behavior for hotels had the highest mobile traffic than the five other most popular categories.
This news reinforces the importance of optimizing a hotel’s online presence through strategic listing management, social media, and web design. Travelers should be able to easily find your hotel and book it from their mobile device.
The study also shared insight on the most popular hotel brands. Based on the search volume for specific hotel brands, the top 5 are Marriott, Hilton Hotels, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn and Best Western. However, only about half of travelers are members of brand loyalty programs and just 22% of travelers say they care if a particular brand is offered. Brand-loyal travelers are most interested in these chains, but how do other travelers determine where to stay?
Research from Brett Hollenbeck at the UCLA Anderson School of Management indicates that as online hotel reviews become more pervasive, independent hotels have increased market share. Historically, people chose brands because they knew what they were going to get, and they saw an independent hotel as a risk. Today, online hotel reviews allow travelers to know what to expect from any hotel. This illustrates the importance of earning positive reviews and responding to customer concerns online. The better a hotel’s reputation, the better they are able to compete in the market.
In 2015, one-fifth of online hotel bookings were generated on mobile, and over a third of call-in bookings came from mobile websites. Whether you’re a member of the big 5 brands or own an independent property, managing your online presence is a necessity to earning guests.
Request a free online assessment of your property and we will analyze how your hotel is appearing to travelers on search, social media, and online review websites. Learn where you’re missing opportunities to fill rooms and identify what can be improved to attract future bookings.
Travel Trends, Think With Google
Hollenbeck, B. Online Reputation Mechanisms and the Decreasing Value of Brands, UCLA Anderson School of Management, 2016.