Online Consumer Behavior in Travel & Tourism

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  • 0:03 Online Shopping
  • 0:55 Step One: Searching
  • 1:41 Step Two: Engagement
  • 2:59 Step Three: Booking
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Online shoppers go through certain phases during their search for hotels, attractions, and restaurants when they are planning a trip. Learn what this process is and how travel and tourist companies can benefit from this process.

Online Shopping

Imagine that you are now working for your very own hotel. You get customers that come because of a pre-arranged tour group. You also get customers that come because they are driving through and need a place to stay for the night. Then you also get the customers that have specifically chosen your hotel from all the other choices in the area. It's this group of customers that you want to increase. Many of these customers reserve one of your rooms online. In this context, online means on the internet. To help your business grow, you want to find out more about how these people choose and eventually book a room online.

In this lesson, you'll learn about how people shop online for hotel rooms and other travel needs. We'll explore the methods people use to find different hotels, attractions, and restaurants and analyze the process that leads to a booking decision.

Step One: Searching

Imagine a man named Mr. Drew is beginning to plan his visit to New York. He lives in Florida, so he'll need to get a hotel while he's in New York. He plans to visit for a week so he can see the sights and go to all the major attractions in the New York. He's planning on seeing the Statue of Liberty, walking around the famous Central Park, going to Chinatown for some great Chinese food, and visiting a wax museum called Madame Tussauds New York.

To find his hotel, Mr. Drew begins by searching online. He types in a search for New York hotels close to the places he wants to visit. He then looks through the listings to see if anything catches his interest.

This is the first step that online travel shoppers take. They search for a list of potential candidates and then take a closer look at each.

Step Two: Engagement

The second step after searching is the engagement step. In this step, online shoppers look through their options and decide which one they will go with. It's a bit more complicated than it sounds. A lot actually goes on in the heads of these buyers. The company's website has a lot to do with engagement. If the website isn't appealing to the type of customer they want to attract, it won't help them to get more business.

Potential customers, like you, are drawn to websites that appeal to them. This means good pictures that appeal to the eye and appealing website design for the potential customer. If the website conveys the right feeling to the potential customers shopping online, then they'll have a greater chance of getting a sale. Also, any extras that the company offers will also determine who proceeds to purchase and who doesn't. For example, a person may be more inclined to make a reservation at a particular restaurant because the restaurant offers a special menu for gluten free and vegan people.

Going back to Mr. Drew, he has looked at the websites of several hotels found during his internet search. He visits each one to see what each hotel is like. He eliminates the ones with websites that he doesn't care for. He reasons that if he doesn't like the feel of the website, then he won't like the feel of the actual hotel. This may or may not be true, but this is how Mr. Drew feels.

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