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Tips How many guests prefer to book over the phone vs online?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

I recently wrote about how catering to guests booking preferences is something we should ideally let the guest choose instead of making the choice for them.

What I didn’t cover then was where they book those vacations.

Because just like some guests prefer to trust a resort’s recommendations and book a package to get everything they need, some guests like to trust a call center agent to help them design a perfect itinerary rather than try to go it alone.

Online vs Phone Preference

So in that same survey of 350 travelers I mentioned in the last post, we also asked how they were prefer to book that vacation.

  • Online
  • On the Phone
  • Some of Both

Here’s how the results shook out.

phone vs online booking survey results

Now, when I set up this survey I fully expected that “online” slice of the pie to be 70%, 80%, maybe even 90%. But as I pondered on the idea that 45% of our sample wanted to use the phone in some regard, I was reminded of a recent conversation.

Stein Collection

A couple years ago Stein Collection came to us for help. They were selling a few of their rooms online but they wanted to get everything online. But they also knew how many of their guests preferred to call and book with an agent even when they were booking rooms that were available online.

They wanted a system that would be great for those booking online, those booking over the phone, and all the shades in-between whether it’s those who shop the “menu” online before calling in or those who talk to an agent to build the itinerary but would really prefer to review a written version with their family before eventually booking on their computer.

photo of stein ericksen lodge

So instead of making the choice for them, they went with Inntopia Commerce because our platform would give all these guests an option that worked for them. And with the guests choosing how to book what did their online vs call center numbers look like? Here’s what Jason Nelson said:

“We’ve increased online bookings 2.5x with Inntopia Commerce. Before, just 22-23% of bookings were online. Now it’s 52% in winter and 63% in summer.”

Our survey said that, given the choice, 55% of guests in our sample would prefer to book online. Stein Collection gave their guests that choice and, interestingly, 52-63% of their guests chose online. The rest chose to work through the call center to some degree.

Power of Choice

Again, the idea here is simple: don’t force everyone down your favorite booking path, let your guests make the choice.

That’s what Inntopia Commerce does. Whether guests start online, start on the phone, book everything at once, lock something in today, or any other dozen combinations, booking resorts vacations is tricky enough as it is, don’t make it harder by making your guests book those trips in ways they really don’t want to.

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Have a question? Just ask.

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Tyler Maynard
SVP of Business Development
Ski / Golf / Destination Research
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Doug Kellogg
Director of Business Development
Hospitality / Attractions
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