News for the Hospitality Executive
want online travel
shoppers to recognize what’s special about your hotel?
Then you’ll need to know what’s special about them.
By John McAuliffe, Chief Marketing Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc.
In a travel market overflowing with options and offers, hoteliers often find it very difficult to differentiate their properties and clarify the unique value they provide. Indeed, it’s extremely challenging to cut through the online clutter and boost bookings in this economic climate when you don’t fully understand the travel shoppers you are targeting.
Here’s what hotel marketers need to recognize and capitalize on:
If you want to capture attention, generate interest and turn online lookers into bookers, you’ll need to understand the shoppers you are targeting. You’ll need to know what differentiates one group of potential guests from another. By studying your prospective and existing customers carefully, you’ll discover how to market your hotel online in ways that truly motivate them and differentiate you from the competition. You’ll learn what features and attributes of your hotel will motivate travel shoppers to book your hotel.
Travel Becomes Increasingly Precious in the Down Economy
Travel industry research suggests that hoteliers are now facing a wave of change and new challenges. They are challenged to address a difficult economy, frugal and demanding travelers, and a growing shift toward online travel shopping.
The recent economic downturn has certainly taken its toll on consumer confidence evidenced by the fact that 63% of US online travelers believe the U.S. economy will become worse this year, while just 17% expect it to improve.1 This has led to cutbacks in both leisure and business travel. The Economist Intelligence Unit reports that nearly half of the executives it surveyed said they were planning fewer trips this year, and 16% of the executives said they would cut back the number of trips by 30 percent or more.2 According to a study by Deloitte, 38% of respondents expect to spend less on vacation/leisure travel this year.3 But even as travelers reduce the number of trips they are willing to take, they are continuing to seek high quality travel experiences and are shopping with greater care and diligence. This behavior suggests that the economy makes travel more precious.
The factor enabling travel shoppers to search, compare and buy with greater diligence is the ongoing growth in Internet usage. Approximately 90 million American adults used the Internet to plan travel during the past year with 76.4% of online travelers planning leisure trips online.4 It’s a lucrative group as well. “Travelers who use online channels in the planning process spend more annually, travel more frequently and spend more per trip than offline planners,” according to research firm PhoCusWright.5
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1. North American Technographics® Travel Online Survey, Q1 2009 (US), Forrester Research, Inc., February 2009.
2. “Reports Show Execs Expect Business Travel Cutbacks and Downgrades,” Business Travel News, Feb. 9, 2009.
3. “2009 Industry Outlook: Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure,” Hospitality.Net, Feb. 10, 2009.
4. Travel Industry Association, “Travelers’ Use of the Internet,” 2008.
5. PhoCusWright, “Consumer Travel Report, Part One: Behavioral Trends,” 2009.
About VFM Leonardo
VFM Leonardo is a technology leader in online visual content management and distribution systems. VFM Leonardo's VScape® and VBrochure™ products leverage the distribution capabilities of the VNetwork™, the most universally accepted and largest online visual content distribution network for the global travel industry including all four global distribution systems (GDSs), Pegasus and travel-related channels including online travel agencies, travel research and supplier web sites, search portals and major travel intermediaries. VFM Leonardo offers the hotel industry the most effective digital asset management and online merchandising systems available today and efficiently delivers over 1,000,000 visual images (photos, virtual tours and videos) to more than 30,000 travel channels and websites in the VNetwork including Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre, Worldspan, Pegasus, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Tripadvisor, Yahoo! Travel, Kayak, Google and many more for 90,000 hotels worldwide. For more information about VFM Leonardo, visit www.vfmleonardo.com. Follow VFM Leonardo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VFMLeonardo.
VFM Leonardo Inc.
111 Peter Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON, M5V 2H1 Canada
Toll free: 1-877-593-6634
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