Travel Insight: Why we book the way we do

What influences a traveler’s decision to book a hotel room or commit to a flight? Understanding the research they put into travel booking and the reasoning behind their decisions is important for both the industry and those of us who travel frequently. Understanding the psychology behind travel affects us all. And so Sojern, a performance marketing platform for travel brands, created an interactive Hotel Insights Report, based on the analysis of more than a billion traveler intent data points across the globe. As they begin to consider a purchase, today’s consumers have more tools and better technology at their disposal than ever, which is changing how they shop for hotel rooms and flights.

“We found that two major behavior changes are rising in the consumer hotel world,” said Kurt Weinsheimer, Sojern’s SVP of property solutions. “Firstly, travelers are spending more time on the hotel path to purchase than they do when looking to buy an airline ticket – US travelers, for instance, spent nearly 25 percent more time on their hotel path to purchase then when booking flights. Secondly, even as the path to purchase lengthens, last-minute bookers are multiplying.”

Though only 5 percent of all hotel searches by Europeans and Americans are initiated seven or fewer days prior to the stay date, these last-minute shoppers represented 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively, of all hotel bookings in the two regions. Flight search sees a similar phenomenon, with larger proportions of people booking last-minute travel than searching, for both Europeans and Americans.

Understanding the psychology behind travel decisions makes us better travelers

Guests of Luxury Hotels Most Likely to Book the Same Day they Search, But Make More Searches Before Booking

More than half of all hotel searches are conducted in the two weeks before the booking. The number of searches conducted prior to a booking is directly proportional with the price of the room being booked: the higher the hotel segment eventually booked, the more searches were made. For travelers who start to research hotel options three days before making the booking, the Luxury segment hotel guests make on average 20 searches, while Upper Midscale guests make an average of 12 searches.

Regional Differences in the Relationship Between Flight Class and Hotel Segment

Looking at the global average, guests staying at Luxury segment hotels are more likely to have arrived at their destination on a Business or First class ticket than guests of all other hotel segments: 15 percent flew first class and 4 percent Business class.

Travelers to Asia-Pacific and, to a lesser extent, the Middle East stand out from the rest of the regions studied. In the Asia-Pacific region, Business class flights are significantly more likely for travelers across the Hotel segment spectrum: almost 26 percent of guests staying at Luxury hotels, 23 percent of Upper Upscale and almost 20 percent of Upscale, flew in Business class. In the Middle East, 18 percent of Luxury and 17 percent of Upper Upscale hotel bookers flew in Business class.

Business Travelers More Interested in India and Indonesia than Leisure Travelers

Over the past two quarters, leisure hotel travelers searched for lengthy stays in every region. In the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, destinations like Dubai, Istanbul, and Bangkok propelled their respective countries to the top ten. In the Americas, leisure travelers looked at the US, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean for getaways, often in parties of two.

Business travelers showed  much more interest in Asia-Pacific destinations like India and Indonesia, two popular launchpads for travel in the region. Popular leisure destinations like Mexico and Spain still rank in the top ten of business destinations, but fall to spots nine and ten respectively.

The big takeaway here is the travelers like to research their trips and know what they’re getting into before getting on a plane.


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