Consumer Research Uncovers Travelers’ Online Search and Booking Behaviors

Travelers display similar and distinctive behaviors while making booking decisions related to their travel accommodation selection.

This study was designed to reveal the possible relevant and important factors affecting the consumer decision process during the main phases of the traveler journey. Travelers’ decisions are not only influenced by the factors they are exposed to while searching and booking an accommodation, but also based on primary sources of information derived from previous on-site experiences and post-stay feedback, including online reviews and/or recommendations from friends and family.

This study follows the path to decision made by travelers during their accommodation search and evaluation, which play a pivotal role leading to the eventual decision to book.

Finding show that:

  • 91% of travelers turn to search engines when looking for a place to stay with the majority 81% preferring to use Google. “Google Search” is travelers’ top most common source of travel inspiration.
  • 77% of travelers search keywords relating to accommodation and/or locations. 57% of travelers search for hotels, 49% search for a location, and 31% searching for a combination of the two.
  • A hotel’s TrustScore, or average review rating score, is the second most important factor affecting the booking decision after a hotel’s nightly rate. Furthermore, 88% of travelers sorted out hotels with a TrustScore under three stars, and 32% eliminated those with a TrustScore under four stars.
  • Tracing click-through on a Google’s hotel listing, travelers are most likely (20%) to click on the direct link to the hotel’s website and also very likely (10%) to click on review data provided by TrustYou.

The research sample represents travelers from within the US who have traveled and booked accommodation online within the past year.

All respondents indicated they had booked online at least once for leisure, with the average number of bookings made per respondent (71%) having occurred between one and three times.

Additionally, more than half of participants (51%) have identified also having traveled for business within the past year, a 9% increase from the previous year.

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