Organic Search is the Top Source of Traffic for Hotels Accommodation

Organic Search is the Top Source of Traffic for Hotels Accommodation


Source: Online paid search and display ad marketing spend down in travel

This is the latest statistics on 2016 trends in traffic for travel. Organic search is strong, it is growing at the expense of paid adverting and hugely more now than referrals, which has taken a dive in 2016.

Hotels and Travel Accommodation see More Organic Traffic

Organic Search is the Top Source of Traffic for Hotels Accommodation: Is has jumped 19% from 21% to 25% in March 2016 from march 2015. Referrals are down 27% and Paid ads are plummet a whopping 70%.

Referral Traffic Down

Referral traffic is interesting, it is significantly down; the reason may be related to the fact tahat OTAs and TripAdvisor are pushing more onsite bookings and the billboard effect is note happing as much. It used to be that nearly every OTA shopper would look for the hotel but today that seems to be not happening as much. Perhaps they have grown accustomed to completing the shop on the OTA site.

TripAdvisor once a great source of referrals has almost dropped out of the business model wit their instant booking and links with Also the new sharing economy models of AirBNB, VRBO, are negatively impacting the referral. (also see story on TripAdvisor).

The top 25 websites account for just over half (54%) of all traffic in the sector, although their combined traffic has decreased by 18% between March 2015 and March 2016.Tnooze has provided a good summary of the full report by Similarweb. You may also download the full report at the Similarweb link below.

The study covers all major sectors in travel from lodging to flight search and cruising. In also looks at distribution with latest stats on  Online Travel Agents (OTAs), mobile and Review Sites.

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How travel has changed

How travel has changed

How TripAdvisor Changed Vacation Planning – The Washington Post

How TripAdvisor Changed Vacation Planning – The Washington Post

How TripAdvisor changed vacation-planning universe – The Washington Post.

“TripAdvisor has more than 84 million reviewers, and their critiquing styles vary wildly. Balanced and tempered. Highly observant and specific. Overly enthusiastic. Nit-picking and negative.”

Object Reviews are Key

Its the overly enthusiastic that are often fraud which is something that TripAdvisor works very hard to eliminate and because of thta it has the best rating and viewership of all review sites (see graph below)

Eliminating Fraud a Top Priority

Adam Medros, in charge of fraud at TA pointed out that they have 5o or more filters to detect suspect behavior.  He compared the process to a biologist singling out And says “A team of inspectors investigates the claim, and if their suspicions are verified, TripAdvisor may affix a red badge to the hotel’s listing, a scarlet letter that could scare away business.”
Apparently fraud is found in only a fraction of reviews. “The owners know it doesn’t pay,” Medros says.

Users of  TA like Ginny Cunningham, pint out that TripAdvisor has freed them from having to rely on hyped reviews from company that have a vested interest and as he says “want to profit from my choices.”  He adds “Frommer’s, Fodor’s and travel agents are great, but they’re exceedingly limited in the real-life feedback they offer.”

And that i think is the key to TAs success, real reviews by real people, not glossed over comments that are nothing more than an advertisement. That too is the reality of the digital age, which makes one wonder just what is the future of advertising – see blog on advertising at a crossroads


Will Reviews Replace Ads?

Not only has TripAdvisor Changed Vacation Planning, it has changed travel and it may be on its way to change how we advertise or for that matter the entire advertising industry! 

Cleraly there is a move to more authentic adverting and marketers are keen to use more social content and sharing to Engage and Influence buyers rather than just Promote and Market to them. This will become the standard in the future!


Dark Clouds on the Horizon?

But not all is smooth sailing, as we shared in a recent post, and TripAdvisor Strategy may be on Shaky grounds as it mixes its old mission of having the best reviews, to becoming just another OTA.

Hotel guests read 6-12 reviews before booking

Hotel guests read 6-12 reviews before booking, says new TripAdvisor survey.

Its not surprising that 80% of those surveyed read at least 6-12 reviews before making their decision, and they’re most interested in recent reviews that will give them the freshest feedback.

TA is remaking itself as a hotel friendly marketing company. Its meta search lets hotels get their own direct booking engine in front of hotels at the point of purchase. When asked about TripAdvisor’s recently launched Hotel Price Comparison function (meta search), 51 percent agree that it ‘has helped me save time during my planning process’ and 52 percent agree that TripAdvisor’s meta search ‘has helped me find the right hotel at the right price’.

Its a service that hotels will not find on the OTAs that use their own engine and take commissions. TA lets hotel bid for the exposure and charges a dollar or so for each lead. Very Cost effective it seems, but that price may change as OTA compete for the business. My guess is that TA clients like to book direct and may choose hotel options over OTAs in any case.

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