Online Booking Trends and Stats Every Hotelier Should Know
In less than 85 days, 2022 will come to an end as we usher in 2023. It’s hard to believe how quickly this year has seemed to pass, a stark (but welcome) contrast to the two years spent in relative stillness in due to the pandemic. For most of us, this past year has been like a breath of fresh air – an opportunity for social and economic redemption after one of the most difficult experiences of our time. For industries like hospitality, 2022 represented a long-awaited period of recovery, a finish line to the pandemic, and a starting line to a new landscape and a new wave of travelers eager to make up for lost time.
Of course, there have been many hurdles in the road, and as we collectively shake off the fear and uncertainty of the pandemic, hoteliers must do their due diligence to familiarize themselves with the hotel landscape that has emerged after the dust had settled. As they say, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” and we cannot expect to adapt to (and better yet, capitalize on) the new preferences and trends that will shape our industry if we don’t identify them first. With 2023 clear on the horizon, it’s time to look at the booking trends and statistics that dominated 2022, so we can leverage this insight for the future.
Optimize all booking channels
Hotels and travel agencies must offer a smooth and user-friendly experience across all digital media; however, the office remains the preferred booking channel. Adobe research found that around 52% of travelers used a mobile device to find information about hotels, restaurants, tours and activities in their destination of choice, but only 21% booked on a mobile device. . Current statistics also indicate that over 90% of travelers will do their research online, and most people who do their travel research online will do so on the desktop site, as only 23% of leisure travelers believe that they can get the same hotel or flight deal. on mobile, versus desktop.
There is, however, a caveat. Recent research has shown that mobile is often the preferred channel for last minute bookings. Revenue Hub results indicate that in the summer of 2020, mobile bookings grew to more than 24%, or almost a quarter of all hotel bookings. In 2020, on average, mobile bookings accounted for more than 27% of total bookings for the hotels surveyed and remained above 40% in 2021. Additionally, 66% of millennials would now book their trips using a smartphones. With this in mind, hotel brands need to optimize all digital booking media to ensure the experience offered to potential guests is consistent, streamlined and engaging.
The experience economy is alive and well
Research indicates that 78% of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than things. Additionally, 77% of millennials say some of their best memories were made at events, and 79% say attending live events helps them feel closer to friends and family. with whom they attend. This should come as no surprise, especially in the wake of the pandemic, as in-person events and experiences have become the commodity many of us have missed the most.
To this effect, a recent Tripadvisor study revealed that more than a third of travelers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Singapore say that traveling to a destination they have never visited is more critical now than before. Travelers also said the top three most important factors in future plans were having new experiences, learning more about history and culture, and “immersing yourself” by discovering new places. Tripadvisor also found that average spend per trip for 2022 will likely exceed that of 2019.
Not only that, but the travel industry has recouped over 50% of its gross revenue by the end of 2021 compared to pre-coronavirus figures. This recovery is expected to reach 85% by the end of 2022, and the online travel industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.58% between 2021 and 2027 – when it is expected to reach $1463.98 billion (GBTA).
This is, of course, music to hoteliers’ ears, as it signals that travelers are ready and willing to book travel experiences in the near future. The appetite for travel is back, it only remains for the hotel brands to set the table.
A picture is still worth a thousand words
When considering the factors that differentiate one hotel’s listing from another, one element that clearly reigns supreme: high-quality photography. Hotels that have a significant number of high-quality photos on their websites see a 15% increase in conversion rates. Additionally, TripAdvisor shared that the number of photos a hotel has on its TripAdvisor profile has the most impact; properties with at least one photo see a 138% increase in engagement and are 225% more likely to receive a reservation request, and those with more than 100 photos see a 151% increase in engagement and are 283 % more likely to receive a reservation request. Research also found that three of the biggest deal breakers for most travelers are bland and unattractive hotel rooms, unattractive food photos, and boring content presentation.
Although the importance of imagery (and other visual elements) is well understood in our industry, many hotels still do not offer potential travelers sufficient high quality photos throughout the booking experience. Now, more than ever, hotels must seek to immerse potential guests in the experience their property has to offer at every touchpoint of their booking journey – from the booking channel to email marketing and beyond. .
Direct bookings are on the rise
Hotels and online travel agencies have found themselves in a long-running war for traveler preference over the years. In the past, the ease of booking and promotions offered by OTA platforms often cost hotels direct bookings, which can be costly due to OTA commission fees. Fortunately, the pandemic may have (finally) reversed this trend in favor of hotels. Recent data indicates that travelers became frustrated with OTAs early in the pandemic when trip cancellations became unavoidable and consumers began asking for refunds. Due to miscommunication and delays in issuing refunds, many travelers have apparently lost confidence in booking with OTAs.
To this end, in a survey conducted by GlobalData last June, 39% of consumers said that they would generally book direct, compared to 17% who would opt for OTAs and comparators. Additionally, according to Skift, 56% of independent hotel bookings came from direct channels in 2020, up from 39% a year earlier, an increase of 17%.
Travelers plan ahead
Good news, hoteliers. Perhaps in a quest to sate their renewed appetite for travel, many travelers are now booking their trips further afield. A report from Expedia found that the second quarter of 2022 saw more growth in short- to medium-term planning, with the 0-90 day search window increasing by more than 5% quarter-on-quarter. another and the research period of 61 to 90 days. daily window up 15%. Travelers are also showing a preference for longer stays over weekend getaways. A GlobalData survey reveals that 44% of users prefer leisure trips of at least seven nights, while 26% prefer more than ten nights. Airbnb’s results for the third quarter of 2021 also reiterated this sentiment, with trips lasting 28 days or longer accounting for 20% of nights booked this quarter, compared to 14% the previous year.
This may, in part, be influenced by the post-pandemic growth of the remote workforce, as millions of workers now find themselves working from home permanently or adopting a hybrid working model. With greater career flexibility, individuals and families are likely to feel more confident in booking travel further afield, as they may now have the ability to “work from anywhere.” You know what that means, hoteliers…longer booking windows, more opportunities to convert leads!
It’s time to get personal
There’s simply no denying that personalization sells, and it also allows hotels to build more meaningful relationships with travelers. Today, consumers expect personalization from brands across all industries, but travelers, in particular, prefer hotel brands that leverage guest data to curate personalized and relevant messages and offers. In fact, 90% of all travelers expect a personalized experience when booking a hotel.
In 2023 and beyond, personalization will be a key tool in attracting new and returning customers who are looking for a hyper-personalized and memorable travel experience. Fortunately, collecting customer data, building customer profiles, and showing customers you care every step of the way has never been easier – as long as you implement the right technology.
This is particularly important as hotels seek to optimize their booking channel and increase conversion rates, which have historically been very low. On average, the online conversion rate for hotels is an abysmal 2.2%, which can be significantly improved through personalization and dedicated booking recovery solutions. With the right technology in place, hotels can seamlessly recover lost reservations by maximizing email engagement with – you guessed it – super personalized content and offers. A reservation recovery solution (like RezRecover) also intelligently displays conditional offers and other content based on abandoned reservation dates and other visitor data.
RezRecover by CartStack