MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., March 3, 2016 – Fuel, an expert hotel marketing agency, just announced the survey results of the 2016 Leisure Travel Trends: What Smart Hotels Need to Know. Key findings illustrate that consumers’ trust with Online Travel Agents (OTAs) is waning, leading to a rise in direct bookings as well as dramatic changes in device use for research and an increasing reliance on mobile apps.
The 2016 survey revealed that distrust in OTAs has increased 50% over the past year and that consumers are visiting fewer websites while planning a leisure vacation. Fuel’s survey also revealed that 90% of leisure travelers visit 10 websites or fewer during an average research period of 26 days. This finding is contrary to data released from Google that claims the number of sites visited is in excess of 20.
“Each year we conduct this survey to better understand the behavior of leisure travelers when researching and booking a hotel,” Stuart Butler, Chief Operating Officer for Fuel, said. “As the go-to digital agency for the hotel industry it is our responsibility to have hard data that our clients and potential clients can rely on and use to help put more heads in beds.”
The results were complied from more than 2,900 respondents, all of whom planned and conducted at least one leisure vacation in the past 12 months. The results are compared to previous years’ responses in an effort to identify shifts and trends in consumer behavior.
Another key take-away from the survey was the increase in mobile use starting from the planning process through the duration of the stay.
“With more than 85% of travelers owning and using a smartphone, hoteliers need to focus on the benefits of this direct access to customers,” Butler said. “The results overwhelmingly suggest that, not only is it time to invest in a mobile app, but it’s also time to use your hotel-branded mobile app to generate new revenue streams and increase RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room).”
Travelers are eager to embrace the benefits and convenience of mobile apps. It was revealed that 52.2% of customers would use a mobile app to purchase additional services. The biggest opportunity the study showed when focusing on mobile apps is that 61.4% customers would be willing to spend more money for added value such as late checkouts and room upgrades via a mobile app. Mobile apps offer a direct link to promote onsite revenue generating amenities such as restaurants or spas provides a new and untapped method of creating demand during slow periods and increasing revenue.
Full results from the study can be found on Fuel’s website.
Fuel is a comprehensive digital marketing agency for hotels. Services include Website Development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), Email Marketing, and more. Fuel also creates cutting-edge software that helps hotels increase their direct bookings and decrease their reliance on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Products include: GuestExpress – the industry’s most feature-rich hotel mobile app; GuestDesk – the online booking engine that transacts more than $400 million in online revenue each year; and the Fuel Gauge Marketing Dashboard – the world’s most advanced analytics and insights tool for hotels.
At Fuel, we think a little differently. We believe that we’re making the world just a little bit better by connecting people with the right products and services. “Travel Marketing…Simplified.” That’s our motto and our commitment. Headquartered in the heart of the travel and tourism industry in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Fuel provides all digital services in-house through a team of experts who understand the potential of well-executed, effective online marketing.