Half of holiday shoppers ‘uninfluenced’ by high-pressure selling tactics

Web Team | 27th August 2019

Neary half of travel shoppers are ‘uninfluenced’ by pressure selling messages according to new research around online holiday booking experiences.


The in-depth study by the Voice of the Customer (VoC) pioneers forms part of their Travel Benchmark Report which asked independent consumers about their mobile and desktop holiday shopping experiences.


It revealed that 81% of holiday shoppers can recall experiencing pressure messaging while browsing travel websites in the past 12 months.


However, just 56% of respondents said that they actually felt pressured to book travel earlier than planned. Instead 2 in 3 (68%) holiday shoppers put their trust in customer reviews when making purchase decisions – significantly more than those that who state they’re influenced by price and promotion.


Earlier this year a number of travel brands, particularly online hotel agents such as Booking.com, Hotels.com and Trivago came under increasing scrutiny for so-called ‘high-pressure’ selling tactics designed to accelerate bookings. Such tactics have included promoting room availability or the number of users viewing a property at any one time.


From September, messages designed to accelerate hotel bookings will be banned under new Competition and Market Authority (CMA) regulations. Instead, travel brands will need to rely much more heavily on encouraging bookings through improving other areas of the customer experience – such as via reviews, photos, information and offers.


Chief Research Officer Steve Brockway comments: “Even the best prices and promotions are unlikely to provoke bookings where there are poor reviews. However, the research in this report also identifies three core factors which travel brands must address if reviews are to help, not hinder, online booking rates. Most importantly, they need to be seen as genuine and easily accessible at key moments of the customer journey.”


“Drivers of review authenticity are volume, independent verification and age – users often examine when a review was posted and how relevant the rating and content will be to their upcoming potential stay. It suggests that a recent 4-star review could have a far greater impact than a 5-star rating posted over 12 months ago. Holidaymakers will also quickly become suspicious of content if they are unable to sort reviews based on key criteria, such as the date or score.”