Everybody has theories about why so many people prefer to shop for hotels on OTAs… but have you ever actually seen them do it?
To find out why so many guests prefer booking hotel stays on an OTA instead of a hotel brand/direct website, we hired UserTesting.com, a well-known website testing company that records unbiased (but demographically relevant) consumers while they search and book hotels online.
See for yourself!
We have two videos of actual users (listen to their comments) as they shop for rooms on Expedia and then directly from the hotel’s website:
Video 1: Participant using desktop computer. Male | 35–55 | United States | Income $100K–$150K+
Video 2: Participant using smartphone. Female | 35–55 | United States | Income $100K–$150K+
3 Key Lessons to Take Away From These Two Customers’ Experiences:
1. A Slow Booking Process Will Hurt Revenues
What we found reinforced a lot of what hotel marketers already know: guests think OTAs are easy-to-navigate and appreciated their simple process. In comparison, a hotel’s site was lengthier, not as intuitive and required too much information to complete a booking.
One user said, “Expedia was a lot easier and a quicker process to use. While the hotel’s website experience was not a bad one, it was more …’time-consuming,’ asked for more details. As a busy traveler, I would prefer to navigate through the check out process quickly.”
Consider this: It requires TWO steps to book a hotel on an OTA, inputting personal information and payment details.
To make the same reservation directly from the same hotel found on Expedia, the user had to navigate through SIX steps. This included asking the customer to select optional amenities like wine/champagne or flower arrangements, input a loyalty membership number, request a room preference and enter arrival and departure information.