We just got our hands on a bit of important data Google recently collected. Google teamed up with Ipsos MediaCT to produce a 38 page research study on travel planning and purchases by business and leisure travelers. The study took place between late April and early May of 2012 using a sample of 5,000 consumers, making this data very current. Here are the highlights.
Guests Plan Using the Internet
83% of leisure travelers use the Internet to plan their trips. Are we really surprised at this one?
Guests Start with Search Engines
Most guests start their travel plans using search engines (Google), and 95% of those who do, use them to research destinations–aka, hotels. If your hotel is invisible on search engines you’re missing out on 95% of the 96% of ALL travelers who make plans online.
Guests Use and Will Use Mobile Devices
Google extrapolates that the number of your guests who will use Google on their mobile phones to find your hotel will increase by 68% next year, and for tablets, by a whopping 180% next year. For desktops? 0%. That’s right, no more people (and maybe fewer?) will use their computers to make travel queries next year than they do today.
Is your hotel website mobile optimized? See our recently published checklist for steps to optimize for mobile.
Guests Use Mobile Search
Even though smartphone apps are hugely popular and are a billion dollar industry in and of themselves, guests still overwhelmingly use mobile search engines (read: Google) to make travel plans. This finding flies in the face of recent data that shows that many guests use apps from OTAs (like Kayak) to make travel plans.
What is interesting about this data for hotel owners is that 40% of leisure travelers and 36% of business travelers book overnight accommodations (hotels) from their mobile phones–today.
Is your hotel’s booking engine optimized for mobile? How many reservations are you missing because guests can’t access your info from their phones?
A Poor Mobile Website Loses You Money
This one speaks for itself:
Compelling data! What’s the summary?
- It’s time to go mobile, folks. Get a mobile optimized website and a mobile optimized booking engine.
- Search engines are still relevant. Make sure your designer optimizes for search without charging you extra. See our article on hotel SEO.