Hotel Marketing Podcast Episode 208 – Don’t Let Expedia’s GOAT Eat Your Direct Bookings

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Expedia has just released their 2022 Travel Trends report, and the data is quite interesting. Today, we’re going to be reviewing the top-line findings of the study and looking at specific ways independent hoteliers can apply Expedia’s findings to drive more direct bookings.  You can find the full report on PR Newswire at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-goat-mindset-expedia-reveals-2022s-biggest-travel-trend-301433866.html

Expedia is framing their study around the “Greatest Of All Trips” or GOAT. Let’s see how we can make sure Expedia’s GOAT doesn’t eat our direct bookings.

Where U.S. Travelers Are Heading in 2022:

Domestic travel leads the way in 2022 with 59% of U.S. respondents staying in the states. 37% are going to be venturing out beyond our borders, which is a refreshing change from the past.

  • Domestic: Orlando, Destin, Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge, Panama City and Maui
  • International: Riviera Maya/Playa del Carmen/Tulum, Rome, Bali, London and Paris

Scrapping the Schedule

37% of U.S. travelers said travel has been less spontaneous since the pandemic. The good news is 25% want to be MORE spontaneous with another 26% wanting to just be a bit more flexible.  That means over 50% of travelers are up for grabs if you can put the right offer in front of them.

Expedia Says: Use the free cancellation filter on the Expedia app

TravelBoom Says: Obviously free cancellations are key, and will continue to be a major factor in driving advance bookings.  While a no-holds-barred cancel anytime policy is not always realistic, hotels should adapt a workable policy to ensure they can continue to market and appear on these searches.  In addition to this, work your owned assets and aggressively target past guests who have not recently booked.  Give them a reason to drop everything and get away.

The Splurge-cation

Travelers are going big and opening their wallets to make up for lost time and seeking out GOATs. 40% of travelers are more willing to treat themselves and spend money on their next trip through: 

  • luxurious experiences (15%), 
  • upgrading on rooms or flights (16%) 
  • visiting a bucket-list destination (32%), 

2022 travelers are going to be looking for some pampering and “wow” experiences.

Expedia Says: Get treated like a VIP by staying at Expedia VIP Access properties, top-rated hotels that offer member perks like spa credits, late check-out and more. 

TravelBoom Says: Upgrayedd your stay, for a double dose of luxury (courtesy of my favorite movie).  Everything from a welcome gift at check in to room upgrades and luxury additional services are all big.  Consider packages that add a touch of luxury. Your guests will appreciate the service and you’ll appreciate the Profpar (profit per available room) increase.

Immerse to Discover

Travelers are looking for their Greatest Of All Trips (GOAT) by stepping outside their comfort zone. This includes 22% looking to connect/immerse in a destination or culture, with an additional 19% looking for completely new experiences.

Expedia says: Expedia’s handy “Interest” filters will help narrow activity and experience searches. Try filtering by history and culture, or food and drink to indulge in a food tour to get the very best the destination has to offer.

TravelBoom says: Hotel’s need to step outside of THEIR comfort zone and promote new and exciting experiences to travelers.  Tools like additional services/experiences during the booking process, pre-arrival promotions, and on-property sales can elevate an otherwise normal vacation experience into an incredibly memorable experience.  One client that comes to mind offers a very cool weekly Hawaiian-style luau, complete with food and flame dancers (Siva afi). 

Sensation Seeking

2020 and ‘21 have been pretty boring; in 2022, travelers want to feel the rush of adrenaline. 41% of respondents want to feel exhilarated during their travel. 11% want daring activities and experiences, while 24% are going to be happy with an amazing night out.

Expedia says: Use Expedia’s “Adventure & Outdoor” filter to narrow down experiences that will get the blood rushing and adrenaline pumping.

TravelBoom says: Your property probably doesn’t have cliff diving or an exotic car driving experience. Though we bet you do have something to get guests’ blood flowing in your area.  Create the partnerships to offer something outside of someone’s comfort zone.  Something like deep sea fishing, hiking, or just a secluded dinner on the top of your hotel!

Unfiltered Enjoyment

Travelers are starting to finally unplug on vacation instead of fully documenting their trip on Insta. 36% are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing on their next trip, 24% plan to spend less time on their devices to be more present. Travel in 2022 will be about quality, not quantity, where travelers are embracing the simple pleasures to truly achieve their GOAT with more meaningful impact. 

Expedia says: Whether it’s relaxing at a Mexico spa retreat, or staying at the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa in Chile with zero reception or Wi-Fi, it’s the perfect time to discover unplugged getaways that are sure to recharge the batteries.

TravelBoom says: Focus on your marketing strategies and find what resonates with each of your guest personas (you have personas right?). Some guests will want to continue to enjoy a highly connected always-on vacation, while others are looking for a more unconnected getaway. However, “now more than ever” wellness is a major selling point and if your property can authentically deliver an unplugged experience, lean in to that!  

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Newsaroos:

The New Expandable Snippet

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-expandable-snippet-carousel-live-32511.html 

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60 Seconds To Success:

Use AnswerThePublic.com to identify new content ideas and improve upon your existing website content. It’s as simple as that. Identify certain keywords that are important to your hotel and AnswerThePublic will show you what questions people are typing into search engines related to your key phrase. Answer these questions within your content and your site will be much more likely to rank when someone types that question into a search bar.

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Stat of the Week:

Stat of the Week:

Check back for new and exciting stats that will shock the hotel world!

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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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