When we imagine a traveler planning a trip, we might picture someone meticulously researching places to stay and combing through hotel reviews and flight options weeks—even months—before their purchase. While the destination selection process tends to be very extensive and thorough, the traveler who researches hotels, flight, and other travel components weeks before their purchase is the exception to the rule.
According to a 2019 Phocuswright report, “U.S. Consumer Travel 2019: Shopping and Booking,” 63 percent of travelers take six days or fewer to research and book their trips. This “ready to book” mentality provides an ongoing window of opportunity for hotel advertisers to fill rooms.
The Ready to Book Trend: Driving Factors
While it’s difficult to say precisely what drives travel shoppers to search and book so quickly, there are various potential contributing factors. The exponential advancement of technology has led to more efficiency in our daily routines and workflows, greater access to information, and arguably, a general expectation that tasks will be completed more quickly. Forbes states, “Since the emergence of the internet and immense growth of social media, instant gratification has become an expectation, and the norm rather than the exception.”
“Everybody, everywhere seems to be busy. In the corporate world, a ‘perennial time-scarcity problem’ afflicts executives all over the globe, and the matter has only grown more acute in recent years, say analysts at McKinsey, a consultancy firm,” writes The Economist. It stands to reason that—whether by choice or necessity—all consumers, including travel shoppers, have grown accustomed to this same level of speediness.
Chalk it up, in large part, to the era of mobile: We’re on our phones. A lot. As of February 2019, “mobile devices accounted for 48 percent of web page views worldwide,” writes Statista. As of April, the “global mobile population amounted to 4 billion unique users.” Combine time scarcity, the desire for instant gratification, and the prevalence of mobile, and it’s easy to see why travelers are researching and booking hotels with more fluidity, spontaneity, and efficiency than ever before.
How to Connect with Ready to Book Travel Shoppers
At any given moment, the majority of travel shoppers are actively looking for a place to stay and will purchase within six days. This tendency to shop and book quickly provides travel marketers a continual opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.
Equipped with this knowledge, how can hotel advertisers tip the booking odds in their favor even further? By standing out against the competition. There’s a short window of opportunity to influence, and a prominent placement in search results—combined with consistent visibility—can yield positive outcomes.
One of the ways we’ve seen hotel marketers and revenue managers engage this audience is by using our sponsored listings product, TravelAds. Specifically, an “always on” TravelAds strategy is a particularly effective method for connecting with travel shoppers ready to book. A simple yet sophisticated pay per click (PPC) solution, TravelAds helps connect hotel advertisers with some of the 144 million unique, highly qualified monthly unique visitors across Expedia Group’s global portfolio of travel brands.
Hoteliers looking to stand out in a saturated market, and engage with ready to book travel shoppers can:
- Build their strategy to capture the attention of spontaneous, fast-moving travel shoppers by maximizing visibility
- Schedule ads and fund them with strong daily budgets to provide visibility throughout the entire day, especially when competitors are bidding for similar audiences
- Optimize their ads to connect with the right audience at the right time
Tara Porter, Senior Regional Manager of Business Development for Expedia Group, emphasizes the importance of mobile when looking to connect with ready to book travel shoppers. “Mobile as a whole is huge, particularly in North America. It really pertains to last-minute shoppers. While desktop is just as important overall, we see a large amount of mobile shopping.” By using the mobile targeting TravelAds feature, hotels can even set a specific bid unique to mobile, to increase visibility to fast-moving, ready to book shoppers.
Porter also recommends using the Scheduled Ads tool in TravelAds. With this feature, TravelAds users can customize and fine-tune their images and copy for a specific shopping window. An eye-catching message or image can make all the difference in catching the attention of fast-moving travel shoppers. Ads highlighting time-sensitive, “book now and save” deals may appeal to travel shoppers, particularly those already leaning in the direction of making a quick booking decision.
Above are just some of the ways TravelAds can help hotel advertisers tap into the large, ready to book travel shopper audience, avoid low booking periods, and finish out the year strong.
You can get started by learning more about the TravelAds solution. If you are ready for a more in-depth look, listen to this on-demand webinar.