Visiting a variety of travel-related websites has become a fundamental part of the travel planning process for many consumers. Understanding what motivates travelers to visit particular websites is vital for travel companies wishing to attract more consumers to their sites, products, and services. One might expect, especially in today’s price-conscious environment, that price would be the dominant reason why consumers choose to visit a travel website. However, according to PhoCusWright’s European Consumer Travel Report, positive prior experience is the most common reason consumers visit specific websites. Approximately half of U.K. and German travelers, and 38% of French travelers cited positive prior experience as the reason they chose a particular website.
Of course, travel marketers with new sites or those targeting new customers cannot rely on prior experience and must leverage other key motivators. After positive prior experience, the next most common reasons for visiting a website vary by market. U.K. travelers are strongly motivated (44%) by sites with the best prices or offers, followed by trust in the brand (35%). Among French travelers, brand trust (34%) and prices (32%) are the number two and three reasons for visiting a website. German travelers, on the other hand, cite comprehensive information and photography (36%) and prices (32%) as the most important reasons for visiting a website, apart from positive prior experience.
Consumers who cited prior positive experience as a reason for visiting certain sites actually visited more sites on average than those who did not give that reason. So, while delivering a good experience will encourage consumers to return, it will no doubt be challenging to convert these repeat visitors, since they are also likely to visit other sites. Travel sites need to do a lot more than deliver consistency in order to attract visitors, convert them, and keep them coming back for more.