So much of our lives takes place online, from remote work to connecting with friends through social media. The same is true for travel planning, both before and during a trip. While human interaction is a huge part of our industry, when it comes to booking, customers simply prefer booking outline. Why? Here are 7 reasons.
- Most travel research happens online: What’s the first thing you do when you’re planning on visiting a new destination? You Google it! And you’re not alone. In 2018, 82% of travel bookings were made online via a website or mobile app (Condor Ferries). With travelers spending so much time online reading about the best things to do, the best time to visit, the top landmarks to explore, and more, it only makes sense that they want to easily book tours and activities online.
- They can conveniently book at any time, from any place: If travelers are flying across the world to their destination, chances are they’re on different time zones than tour operators. In the past, that meant trying to figure out the best time to call, but when booking online, the time or place is no concern. In fact, 39% of travel bookings are made outside of office hours (Acteavo).
- They can follow their inspiration: Millennial and Gen Z travelers are heavily influenced by social media. A beautiful photo of a destination can inspire them to book an impromptu trip, and online booking is perfectly suited to these impulses. A quick Google search and a few clicks are all it takes.
- It accommodates last-minute decisions: Not all travelers plan their activities before they arrive at their destination. In fact, 72% of mobile bookings happen within 48 hours of last-minute Google searches (Condor Ferries), likely when travelers are already at their destination. These travelers typically search for bookings available on the same day, and businesses can capture these bookings with a website optimized for local search and a simplified online booking process.
- All the information they need is easily accessible: There are many factors that influence the decision to book. Most travelers look to online reviews to make their decision, with 9 out of 10 travelers worldwide reading testimonials before making a purchase (Oberlo). What do they want to know? Travelers look for mentions of friendly guides, tour inclusions, and good communication before the tour. Others look into who is running the company and where they stand on sustainability or supporting the local community. One of the benefits of booking online is that all this information is easy to access, simplifying the decision to book.
- Easily compare options: Some destinations have endless options when it comes to tours and activities. Online booking makes it easy to compare operators and find the best option for each traveler, whether they’re looking for the most affordable, the most kid-friendly, or the most luxurious tour.
- They prefer to book directly: A recent poll found that many travelers are opting to book directly with businesses (39%) over OTAs (17%) (GlobalData). This is a shift from just a few years ago, when OTAs were preferred. One of the reasons is that often businesses offer more flexible and straightforward cancellation and rescheduling policies, which became more important than ever during the pandemic. It’s also a great way to directly support local businesses!
Travelers expect quick, convenient online booking, and having a seamless experience can put your business ahead of the competition. Learn more about how FareHarbor’s online booking platform can help your business.