Is a 5:00am searcher more likely to book a room than a 5:00pm searcher?

Let’s say you get 200 people to perform a lodging search on your site but half of them start at 5:00am and the other half begin at 5:00pm. Will there be any difference in the number of trips that actually get booked between those two groups? That was our question. Here’s our answer.

The Goods
An itinerary in the Inntopia system is created when a user first searches for lodging, so we looked at all itineraries created during the last 5 years and grouped them by the hour (ET) they were created (2/3 of all bookings analyzed came from within 2 hours of ET). We then found the average completion rate for each group. For example, if 100 itineraries were created at 11:00am ET and 25 were eventually booked, the completion rate for 11:00am ET would be 25%.

First, let’s start with everyone’s predictions of the results from last week.

Perhaps thinking that the ability to focus on booking a vacation (instead of work) during the evening hours would lead to higher completion rates, the predictions rose steadily before peaking just before the day ends.

Here’s how the actual results turned out (11am below represents itineraries created between 11:00-11:59am).

While the predicted lull in itinerary completion rate during the early morning hours was spot on, the peak actually came during the late morning rather than late evening.

What This Means
To answer the question we started with, if 100 people search lodging on your site at 5:00am and another 100 do so at 5:00pm, only 8 of the 5:00am group would finish booking while more than 25 of the 5:00pm group would do the same. In other words, yes, it does make a difference.

For most waking hours, however, the gaps are fairly small. For example, between 9:00am and 9:00pm, the difference in completion rate only fluctuates about 1-2 percentage points. In other words, if you have a marketing campaign designed to get people to book, you’ll probably want to avoid pushing it out early in the morning. But aside from the first 8-9 hours of the day, it won’t make a huge difference when you send.

More, Merrier
We’ll be back with another hospitality-specific insight like this one next week. Don’t want to miss it? Stick your email below to get an alert when it’s published.

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