Travelers, like all consumers, are habitually minded.
Changing a person’s purchasing behavior is no easy task. Habits dictate nearly half of every decision we make, and they’re challenging to break.
The same is true when it comes to purchasing choices. People have brand loyalties, habitual buying patterns, and seek comfort in the familiar. It is during moments of great change or uncertainty when consumers change loyalties the most.
Life changes—like having a child—push consumers to form new habits and establish new loyalties. While the last year was not quite childbirth, it certainly was monumental. As travel begins its recovery, hoteliers have a unique opportunity to influence travelers like never before and create a new wave of brand loyalty.
The return of direct bookings
Since the early 2000s, online travel agencies and third-party distribution channels have dominated the reservation space, effectively shifting market share and ownership of the traveler. However, the encouraging news is that many hotels are seeing a rise in direct bookings. This is, in part, due to the uncertainty of travel in the early stages of recovery and travelers needs for clear and direct communication.
Skift’s Hotel Distribution Report stated that hoteliers are reporting increases of more than 10% for the Voice channel, with curious and cautious guests calling to ask questions about newly implemented cleaning policies, the changing availability of property restaurants, and the status of area attractions. As well, hotels employing chat functions on their website are seeing an unheard level of engagement, “thousands of percent above what they used to be.”