Booking.com is launching a consumer-facing PR campaign around what happens during the first 24 hours of a trip.
It has partnered with a “celebrity life coach and wellbeing expert” who shares her advice on how to get in the vacation mood quickly – booking.com claims nearly one in three travellers spend the first day of a trip worrying about what could go wrong.
The headline stats from the research show that getting online is a big priority – 43% of the 18,000 people booking.com polled said that the most important phrase when they arrive somewhere new is “what’s the wifi password?”
More than one-in-four (27%) of the sample want to post a picture onto their social media accounts upon arrival. The imperative to share is even stronger for 18-34-year-olds, 37% of whom want to share their new location with followers and friends.
One in four spend the first day checking out local restaurant reviews and 10% check work emails.
Looking beyond the consumer angle, the fact that booking.com is talking about the trip itself rather than the accommodation is interesting. Booking.com is in the business of upselling activities to people who have already booked accommodation, although it is fairly low-key and takes place pre-departure.
But selling activities, tours, restaurant bookings and attraction tickets to customers at the destination is one of the few areas of online travel where the market remains fragmented. Some established businesses allow visitors to book in advance, but most restaurants, tours, attractions, museums etc still get a lot of walk-in business.
The potential offline-to-online shift in-destination is huge.
Earlier this year Google looked at how people were planning their summer 2017 vacation. It found that one-in-six (16%) said would plan “most of their activities on the fly, in the destination itself.”
Even if the remaining five-in-six plan only some of their in-trip activity on the fly that’s still a lot of money on the table. OTAs know where someone is staying and for how long; depending on their profiling capabilities they might have an idea about an individual’s preferences, price point or previous trips; they have contact details.
It is only a matter of time before the accommodation providers begin to muscle in more directly on the in-destination activities market. Booking.com’s attempt (we’ll need to see how much pick-up the campaign gets in the consumer press) to be part of the conversation around activities is likely to be no co-incidence.