How Guests Find Your Hotel

How do transient guests find our hotels today? Are people still using phonebooks? How about the TV commercials that our brand runs? Are we spending the right money on the right marketing resource? Well, we have the answers.

How Guests Find Hotels


Less than 20% search hotels offline

It’s official. It’s 2013, and nobody uses the phonebooks to find hotels anymore. According to Google’s latest Travel Study, less than 15% responded that informational brochures were their top source for hotel research while less than 13% admitted to using travel agents to search hotel rooms.

To be clear, 20% is not a low number. In fact, every hotel should maximize their visibility on every channel. However, if you’re budgeting for marketing dollars for your hotel, just make sure that your budget for each medium is in proportion to the significance of that source. For instance, you shouldn’t spend 40% of your marketing budget on a newspaper advertisement that only 3% use to look for hotel rooms.


Over 80% of guests use the Internet to search for hotels

This is an obvious one. As smartphones, tablets, and PCs become more ubiquitous, people immediate think Google when they need to do a little bit research. Couple that with the fact that travel industry spends the 2nd highest advertising dollars on Google and the explosive growth of the OTAs (Online Travel Agency), our industry has groomed travelers to search the Internet before any other source to find hotels to their destination.


Nearly 60% of guests will book hotel rooms online

Where hotels are booked

Just because a great majority of guests look for hotels online, it doesn’t mean that all those who looked online will book online. Some are insecure about putting their credit card information online while others just wish to speak to a real person for the final transaction. Whatever the end booking source is used, however, there is no doubt that this number will continue to grow over time similar to how no one goes to Blockbuster to rent movies these days.


Budget For Hotel Online Marketing

So the real question is, what are you and your hotel doing about your hotel’s Internet marketing? Every year, we see studies and surveys that continue to tell us that more people are using the Internet to not only find us, but also book at our hotels.

What kind of budget have you set aside for your hotel’s online marketing? Is hotel online marketing even in your budget? If not, does it make sense to keep spending money on other offline media as your main source of marketing when over 80% of guests are not even looking there?

It should be made clear that the data presented by Google can’t be taken at its face value. Some offline marketing media will have its values that no Internet marketing can offer. But what we should take away from this study is the trend that it represents. More people are using the Internet to search for hotels today than ever before, and that it shows no signs of slowing down.

If you own a hotel, branded or not, you should spend your marketing dollars where it will give you the biggest return on investment. It is the most efficient way to market your hotel and broaden your reach. It offers perpetual visibility with very low associated costs.


Coming up next week

We’ll talk about various ways a hotel can launch a successful online marketing campaign efficiently; starting with, of course, a hotel website design. Stay tuned.


Joe is a seasoned hospitality professional who has worked in various roles within the hotel operations including Rooms, Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Management. His current mission in life is to bring affordable technologies to hotels to launch their own hotel internet marketing campaigns. You can also connect with him on Google+ or on Linked In