Almost two in five online travel bookers in the US are deterred from booking a hotel without “photos, videos or written content that makes them feel comfortable”, according to analyst Forrester Research.
Forrester senior travel analyst Henry Harteveldt said hotels should ensure their sites appeal to “content-sensitive travellers”, who appear to travel more often and spend 22% more per hotel stay than other travellers booking online.
Harteveldt was speaking in a webinar introducing Forrester’s “five pillars of travel e-business”, which it defines as merchandising, context, engagement, value and appreciation.
He was joined by VFM Leonardo chief marketing officer John McAuliffe who unveiled the results of research tracking one million visitors to the website of an unnamed North American hotel chain. It found people who looked at virtual hotel tours were 67% more likely, and those who looked at videos 89% more likely, to book than those who looked only at still images.
Harteveldt pointed out younger users were more likely to look at videos and virtual tours, giving hoteliers a chance to appeal to future customers.
On written content, Harteveldt said: “Usability studies have found we tend to scan rather than read web content, so we recommend paragraphs are no longer than five or six lines.” He suggested hotels should outsource their local content to third parties.