Survey: Strong SEM Strategy Essential to Drive Direct Hotel Bookings

In a recent blog post we touched on how travel has become one of the world’s most lucrative industries for digital commerce and highlighted the importance of certain strategies that every hotelier should consider as part of their marketing plan.

New research and findings published by guest feedback platform TrustYou reinforces the importance and need to invest in and implement a strong marketing POA to help keep OTA’s at bay and increase direct hotel bookings. While the TrustYou study focused on relevant and important factors affecting the booking decision during the first step of the traveller journey such as, a hotel’s review score an important search variable when booking and 88% of travelers  prefer hotels with review scores of 3+ stars, and 32% with +4 stars, their findings also included;

  • 91% of travelers use Google during their search process – over half of all travel-related searches are for hotels,
  • Only 20% of consumers surveyed said they likely to click on a hotel’s website link when it appears in a hotel listing on Google.

These findings emphasize Search as the main research tool used by travelers and that the power of brand is perhaps less strong than what hotels may have thought/ be hoping for. Between the dominance of Search and power of OTA’s, it is essential hoteliers have a strong, convincing and relatable brand that is highly visible in the online sphere – otherwise they risk losing out on direct hotel bookings. “The majority of travelers turn to Google when seeking travel inspiration, beginning their accommodation search, and evaluating features between multiple hotels…By optimizing a hotel’s presence on Google, more information is available that would likely drive travelers to your website and also to book direct.” Nicholas Scott Johnson, from the University of Heilbronn.

You can check out the full TrustYou report and survey background here – and if you missed our last blog on marketing solutions that every hotelier should consider to help maximize your digital presence (including SEM and brand storytelling), just click… here!

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