There has been a shift in the process of buying travel. For the better or for the worse, it's happened.
Travellers are using the Internet to search out their own deals and itineraries.
They are starting with inspirations from friends or broad based DMO campaigns and then drilling down from there.
Travellers are visiting as many as 22 different websites before making that buying decision.
Think about that.
Would you travel to 22 different stores to buy lettuce?
Of course not.
How would you feel after you trekked to 22 different grocery stores, compared prices, and lettuce volume? Made notes. Returned for second looks. Asked the grocery cleck for more information on the lettuce and waited two days for a response.
You'd be tired.
You'd be frustrated.
Imagine how the traveller feels about his/her online experience.
Review your website through the eyes of someone who has spent the last hour looking at similar bed and breakfast websites. Does yours clearly state information like prices, rooms, amenities, policies on kids and dogs???
While we may never get to the point where we are comparison shopping for lettuce, we are in the midst of online comparison shopping for travel experiences.
It's a reality that operators need to respect and deal with.
Remember when travel agents used to be Gods... We wined and dined them and sent them special gifts. Well the travel agent is feeling the crunch, and now we need to wine and dine the online tourist directly.
Clean and clear websites chocked full of relevant information and inspirational imagery.
That's what we need to present to today's lettuce shopper.