Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

For Hotels, a New Reality of Booking Lead Times and Path-to-purchase - Travel Weekly

Excerpt from Travel Weekly

It's no secret to anyone in the hotel industry that the rules of online hotel marketing have been changing for a few years now. Online travel agencies, travel meta sites, destination sites and tools like last-minute booking apps are so numerous that the average hotel booker uses about a dozen sites before making an online booking. Add to that the fact that travelers increasingly toggle between mobile phone, laptop, iPad and, now, the Apple Watch to research and make a travel reservation.  

Consumers' changing shopping and purchasing behavior, driven by increased access to online/mobile travel tools, provides both a challenge and an opportunity for hotel marketers. It's harder to break through the clutter, but these electronic platforms provide real-time data to know more, with more granularity, about the actions consumers take online. 

Thanks to this data, we can now paint a clearer picture of a buyer's path-to-purchase, and that path turns out to be more complex than we ever imagined. 

At Sojern, we looked at hotel search and booking trends and we found that two major behavioral changes are rising in the consumer hotel world: 1) the path-to-purchase, from first search to final booking, is lengthening and 2) booking lead times, or "book to stay" windows, are getting shorter. Neither of these trends is surprising in itself -- we've had hints of them for years -- but what is surprising is how pronounced they are.

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