How to Anticipate Traveler Needs Over the Holidays

October 16, 2018

The core of great hospitality is a hotel’s ability to anticipate a guest’s needs. That process begins way before travelers hit the “BOOK” button. It starts when they’re first dreaming about and then researching their hotel options.

With the first major American holiday approximately 60 days away, it’s a perfect time to get on a customer’s short list of hotels. How do you do it? Give them what they want, how they want it, and with the right messaging to attract their attention—giving them the perfect gift without them even asking for it!

In this blog, we’ll cover the best hotel marketing approaches needed to reach holiday travelers at the right time with the right message—helping them to book today!

What do people search for when researching hotels?

Travelers typically have an average of 1.5 brands in their consideration set when actively searching online for accommodation; only 32% of hotel planners consider three or more brands during their search (Sojern’s 2018 Hotel Report).

The top things travelers look for as they consider booking options are:

  • Availability
  • Schedule compatibility
  • Price
  • Reviews
  • Amenities
  • Activities close by

These things are straightforward and to be expected, but it’s how they want to consume this information that can put blocks up for hotel marketers. With key insights into what travelers expect, you can deliver an experience that answers their questions before they even ask.

4 Things Holiday Travelers Expect When Planning Their Stay

People researching hotels want a personalized online experience.

More than half of travelers, 57%, feel that brands should refine their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. Additionally, with the right data, brands can personalize their messaging around a traveler’ specific travel intent. For example, are they an adventure-seeking traveler or one that is more interested in chilling out by the pool? Maybe they are traveling with a group or just by themselves.

Put together personal preferences, past behaviors, and intent to curate an overall trip experience, and 36% of guests are more likely to pay higher prices for hotel services (Google/Phocuswright, 2017). That same trio allows you to personalize ads directly for the traveler, showing that you know something about them. If you’re not using the data to help them choose your hotel, they may choose to book a different experience somewhere else.  

Travelers expect you to use artificial intelligence to serve them better.

Oliver Heckmann, Google’s Vice President of product and engineering for Travel and Shopping, says 60% of consumers believe their travel experience should deploy the use of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and base their search results on past behaviors and/or personal preferences (PhocusWire, 2017). Marvin, Adphorus’s A.I.powered assistant, constantly optimizes your ad campaigns by providing key insights into your audience and what resonates with them the most, helping your Facebook advertising efforts. By using data, you can curate the online experience for your customer.

Potential guests don’t want to search for your offerings; your offerings should find them.

Your offerings should be as easy to find as Grandma’s obnoxious holiday sweater. A multi-channel approach can target their interests and information they’ve shared with data sources. Use programmatic advertising to find new customers and help convert them at the bottom of the funnel with the perfect nightly rate. Serve them information via native advertising to help them get a better understanding of your offering. Finally, use Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT) to enable marketers to personalize ads to people who are in the process of planning a trip across multiple properties to showcase relevant and tantalizing pictures of yours.

Make the hotel research experience easy and fun on mobile devices.

One in two traveler searches starts on mobile. And 79% of people will book on their mobile device after searching (Google). So, one might say that the mobile experience is increasingly more important to reach travelers. Your ads need to be consistently effective to ensure that no matter where travelers are finalizing their plans, it’s easy. Ensure that you have big, simple to read calls to action. Know which pages are most frequently used during the planning stage of a traveler’s process and know they’re loading quickly. Allowing a prospective guest to find the information they need in the way that suits them best, will not only increase your bookings but also act as a predictor for the hospitality experience they’ll expect when staying at your property.

Being there in the moments that matter.

Domestic and international travel spend reached a total of $717 billion in 2017, up 4.7% from 2016 (not adjusted for inflation). 21% of that spend was on lodging, adding up to approximately $221 billion (US Travel Association). Capture the holiday traveler business by extending your hospitality to the moments before they book with you. That means hotel marketers need to understand their buyer’s journey better than ever. Anticipating what your potential guests will be searching for will require you to have tools to help you do that. Be assured that when you use those tools to infuse the anticipation of needs into your hotel marketing strategy, you’ll win more hearts, minds, and dollars (please imagine the sound of jingle bells here).

What’s next for your hotel marketing strategy?

Sojern’s unique audience sets along with our key insights can help you better understand your customer’s path to purchase—allowing you to see traveler habits, purchase intent and so much more as you craft your hotel marketing program. Reach out today to learn how we can help you become the master gift-giver to travelers this holiday season.


Sojern's Hotel Insights Report 2018

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About Amy Higgins

Amy is Sojern's Director of Content Marketing. With over a decade of experience in the tech industry, Amy enjoys crafting memorable content that not only educates but entertains. When she’s not online, you can find her at the opera, hiking the tallest mountain, or on the hunt for the latest foodie craze.

Amy Higgins About the author

Amy is Sojern's Director of Content Marketing. With over a decade of experience in the tech industry, Amy enjoys crafting memorable content that not only educates but entertains. When she’s not online, you can find her at the opera, hiking the tallest mountain, or on the hunt for the latest foodie craze.