Hotel Marketing Podcast Episode 222 – Key Takeaways From The 2022 Leisure Travel Study

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It’s finally here!  The 2022 Leisure Travel Trends Study.  Chock full of wholesome travel insights, free range tips, and gluten-free hotel marketing data.  Download your copy of the study at TravelBoomMarketing.com/LeisureTravel.

The latest study shows concerning trends in how leisure travelers are changing their planning process and the increasing importance of price/cost.  Get the full study here, and enjoy these two key takeaways from Pete and Leanne.

Pete’s Top 2

#1: The single most important factor in choosing travel dates

This one surprised me a little, but we asked the question, “What is the most important factor that impacts your travel dates (select only one)?” Work schedule… no.  Kid’s school year… nope. Great weather or seasonality… wrong again.  The one factor that will make a traveler pick a date is price with 46.3% of respondents noting price and 9.4% indicating a “special offer.”  This was a big surprise since four years ago that was only 37.9%.  

The takeaway, you can absolutely drive demand and shift occupancy based on rate.  In the leisure world, July 4th is going to be 100% occupied, but can you reach out to those travelers who didn’t get room and entice them to visit you with a great offer?

#2: Travelers will be visiting your property’s website before booking

81.2% of all respondents said they visit an individual hotel website before they will make a booking.  However, that figure was 86.7% in 2019.  When we look at people under 35, only 77.8% will visit a hotel website.  The good news is you have a direct booking through your website opportunity for every 4 out of 5 travelers.  The bad news is the number does appear to be on the decline.

The Takeaway for me here is consumers are getting more accustomed to using search engines and meta tools to complete the booking process (other data shows an overall decline in OTA usage).  The word I hate more than any comes in to play… Omnipresent.  Your property needs an omnipresent rate strategy to ensure your potential guests can find you, your rate, and the ability to book anywhere they happen to be online.

Leanne’s Top 2

#1: Loyalty programs are a critical step to keep your bookings

Regardless of how the question was worded, the majority of respondents told us that the price of a vacation was the biggest factor in their decision, with many, regardless of their annual income, saying that sales, incentives and special offers would also motivate when to travel (chosen over events, holidays, work and school schedules.) Two out of five respondents also said that rising costs could very well be reason enough to cancel their vacations!

Interestingly, a study released this month, commissioned by Amadeus, “Consumer Travel Spend Priorities 2022,” dug into the issue, asking questions that might help hoteliers find actionable ways to overcome the pricing objections. Nearly half, 47%, said they plan to spend any loyalty points they’ve previously collected to pay for upcoming trips. 49% also said they’re now more interested in co-branded credit cards that earn loyalty reward points. 

#2: Meta Search Marketing is more important than ever

While less respondents went to Expedia than Booking.com this year than in our past study, other sites with smaller percentages of visitors, like Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, Trivago, and VRBO all grew in importance.  However nearly all users began their search with either a search engine or a meta-search based site.  All reasons why meta search marketing at the hotel level is now more important than ever.

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60 Seconds To Success:

Evaluate your hotel’s meta search exposure and plug the holes when you find them.  This one is big and something every hotelier needs to be very focused on moving forward.  In the latest Leisure Travel Study, we are seeing OTA usage decline and a major uptick in meta tools such as Google, Microsoft, Kayak, and others.  Moreover we are seeing tons of third tier engines competing for rate on these platforms.  If you’re not showing your rate on these platforms, some else is showing your rate for you.  Don’t lose out on a direct booking by not paying attention.  https://www.travelboommarketing.com/meta.

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Listener Feedback:

Do you guys think that Google reviews are getting more important than TripAdvisor? Should hotels and restaurants start focusing on that? And asking guests to review them on Google instead of TripAdvisor?

– Andrew K

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Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @_travelboom or [email protected]

IN ADDITION TO THE PODCAST WE HAVE A STACK OF WHITEPAPERS AND STUDIES YOU CAN DOWNLOAD FOR FREE!

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