Rich Snippets Get You More Clicks

There is even more data appearing that reinforces one of Blizzard’s opinions: Ranking is nice, but HOW you look when you rank is very important.

A new eye-tracking and click-tracking study from Mediative (formerly known as Enquiro) shows the value of having the top spot in Google’s local results, but also suggests that social content and signals can boost rankings further down the page.

Mediative’s study of online click-tracking:

  • Most clicks went to the first listing, with the second and third businesses getting progressively fewer clicks.
  • The fourth listing, the one with a review and text snippets, appears to have had more click activity than the third result.
  • The top-ranked business always garnered attention and clicks, but listings further down the page did well when they had additional social content like star ratings, reviews and text snippets.
  • When the top results have fewer social signals such as reviews (e.g. London), lower results get more visual attention.
  • If your website is listed in any position other than the top, and your listing does not include any social signals, it will be relatively ignored, especially if there are other listings that do have social signals.

An eye tracking study done in July 2010 reveals some new insights into searcher behavior.

The study shows that the search snippet, often the meta description from the site, is an extremely important factor for searchers. It is fixated ovre more than the title or URL… searchers spent more time reading the snippet.

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal recently conducted an online survey of just over 2,000 consumers in the US and UK to determine local search usage patterns and attitudes. They found:

  • 71% of online consumers consulted local business reviews at least occasionally, with 22% saying they do so regularly
  • Those in the 35-54 age range consult reviews more than other groups
  • 55% of US consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews, and reviews appear to have a meaningful impact on consumer behavior
  • 67% of respondents say they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations

5 stages of travel according to Google – research, data and stats

Google reports in its 5 stages of travel:

More than 87% of travelers expect to take the same or more number of personal or business trips in 2011 versus years past. This outlook is positive, and with the rise of mobile, social and video behaviors, we are now seeing seeing travelers move through five key stages of travel. Here are some insights within each stage:

  • Dreaming: 68% of business travelers watch travel-related online videos. Among them, 68% are thinking about a trip.
  • Planning: The average traveler visits ~22 travel related sites during 9.5 research sessions prior to booking.  85% of leisure travelers consider the internet their main source of travel planning.
  • Booking: 37% of leisure travelers report that the internet prompted them to book, up from 28% two years ago.  53% of travelers plan to increase comparison shopping this year.
  • Experiencing: 70% of business travelers check into their flights/hotel with their mobile device. Almost 1 in 4 hotel queries come from a mobile phone.  Over 50% of travelers use mobile phone or device for travel-related information.
  • Sharing: About 1 in 3 business travelers have posted reviews online of places they’ve been.

Travel Stats from Google’s new thinkinsights

Google has a new portal for users to discover interesting stats: thinginsights

I discovered this there:

  • 62% of personal travelers use search engines as the number one source for travel information. Google/OTX, Traveler’s Road to Decision 2010, U.S, Sept 2010

  • 51% of business travelers use mobile devices to get travel information, more than double the rate of two years ago. Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision 2011

  • 46% of personal travelers are watching travel-related videos, versus 36% two years ago. Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision 2011

Adwords Stats (non-travel)

  • Over 89% of traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic search results when ads are paused. Google, Search Ads Pause Study, Global, Jul 2011

  • Two-line sitelinks increase click-through rates by more than 30%*. Google Internal Data 2011, *Compared to standard Adwords ads

Video ads can help your Brand Search:

  • Consumers exposed to a YouTube homepage ad are 437% more likely to engage in a key brand activity on the same day than those unexposed.

Stats from Google on Travel and Online Travel Research

The following stats were shared by Haley Knowlton Gribben, an Adwords Account Manager from Google. She presented at the Vacation Rental Manager Association’s Annual Conference on October 10th in Orlando.

It was a fast-paced and informative presentation. Thanks Haley.  These are my hastily scribbled notes:

Vacation Rental Search Becomes More Popular:

  • 42% Year to Year growth for popular vacation rental queries at
  • 34% growth in overall travel terms

10.2 sources being used by travellers in 2011 for their travel decision making process

  • 27% read email from a travel company
  • 85% searched with a search engine
  • 49% searched online hotel reviews
  • 37% read online travel reviews
  • 25% read online comments

Travel Purchase Timeframe and Planning Window: Most travellers began thinking about the travel purchase at least one month before taking their trip.

  • 8% 4-6 months before
  • 24% 2-3 months before
  • 21% 1 month before
  • 10% 3 weeks before

Affluent Travelers:

  • 80% of affluent travelers actually comparison shop “always or frequently”
  • This is more than personal or business segment travelers
  • The amount spent on the travel positively correlates with amount of research
  • “Research intensity increases with travel spend” Read more

Insightful data from Tripadvisor

The Revinate Blog shares some facinating data from Tripadvisor that should be helpful to all hotels and all kinds of lodging properties.

The vast majority of reviews on TripAdvisor are positive. The average is 3.9. As of October, 2010 the breakdown of stars is: 1 star – 9% 2 stars – 8% 3 stars – 11% 4 stars – 27% 5 stars – 45%

10% of TripAdvisor’s traffic comes from mobile, mostly in the form of people surfing during the weekend or at night, when they’re not in front of their computers.

Properties with more than 20 photos get 150% more engagement.

When deciding between 2 hotels, 65% of people say that seeing a management response would sway them to book with the responding hotel. (Forrester)

Visit the post to learn more, including an interview about the Tripadvisor popularity algorithm and few tips that might help you handle your  reviews more skillfully.

I usually don’t editorialize in these posts… but this content excited me.  While it is hard to actually control your reviews, if you put up a bunch of photos AND respond to reviews, you can get a whole lot more out of the system.  The percentage of hotels doing both those is in the single digits… low single digits!

Vacation Rental Review Data from FlipKey and Escapia

At the April 2011 North Carolina Vacation Rental Managers Association (NCVRMA) conference John Suzuki (VP of Sales, Escapia) and Bryan Goodwin (Account Manager, Flipkey) shared some unique data about guest reviews for the vacation rental market.

Between the two of them there are over 500,000 reviews in their research. Escapia is owned by HomeAway and Flipkey is owned by TripAdvisor.

Here are my notes:

John from Escapia went first and said:

  • 362K requests were sent (from vacation rental managers to guests)
  • 142K reviews provided for a 39% completion rate
  • Higher satisfaction correlates to higher response rates
  • Higher priced properties get higher ratings and lower priced get lower ratings
  • The breakdown:
    • 64% are 5 star reviews
    • 25% are 4 star reviews
    • 8% are 3 star
  • Specifically, the highest ranking “part” of the stay was:
    • Location 72%  5 star rating
    • Services from the Vacation Rental Manager 73%  5 star rating
  • And the lowest was:
    • Cleanliness 59%  5 star rating
    • Condition of property 51%  5 star rating
  • 61% of property managers do not respond to negative reviews
  • 4% of all reviews are actually responded to

Bryan from FlipKey reported that:

FlipKey has 320K reviews:

  • 63% 5 star
  • 23% 4 star
  • 11% 3 star
  • 4 % 2 & 1 Star

When they measured interest (by inquiry volume) according to how many reviews each property had:

  • 3-5 reviews received 34% more interest
  • 6-10  reviews received 159% more interest
  • 11+ reviews received 246% more interest

Leisure Travel Statistics

The State of the American Traveler (July 2010) by Destination Analysts is a beautiful 4 page pdf full of stats about the mindset, travel plans, favorite activities and more for the leisure traveller

They devote an entire page to some interesting online marketing stats.  Here is an overview of some of teh most relevant.

  • 42.9% used user-generated content.
    • 27% used hotel reviews
    • 21.4% used destination reviews
    • 19.8% used restaurant or activity reviews
  • 26.2% used social media for travel planning.
    • 8.2% became a fan of a city or destination
    • 7.8% used social photo sharing website
  • 28% used a mobile phone/PDA to access travel info
  • 15% used a travel-related e-mail newsletter
  • 31.2% used a DMO website
  • 16.6% used online video

Here is a screen on respondents answers to the question “Which of the following did you specifically do using your mobile device” (select all that apply, asked only of those using mobile phones/PDA to access travel information)

TripAdvisor Releases Second Annual Vacation Rentals Survey Research

TripAdvisor Unlocks the Results of its Second Annual Vacation Rentals Survey Research

Survey Shows Increased Interest in Vacation Rentals, With 40 Percent of Travelers Researched Planning a Rental Stay in 2011

NEWTON, Mass., Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the results of its second annual vacation rentals survey of more than 1,400 U.S. travelers. Forty percent of respondents said they are planning a vacation rental stay in 2011, indicating that rental homes are poised for a busy year ahead. Thirty-three percent of travelers said they stayed in a vacation rental in 2010.

“With an increased interest in vacation rentals on TripAdvisor and a similar trend shown in our survey, it’s shaping up to be another strong year of growth for rentals,” said Hank Hudepohl, director of vacation rentals at TripAdvisor. “For travelers staying with larger groups in 2011, a vacation rental is a great option to consider for its home-like amenities and affordable pricing compared to hotels.”

Know Before You Go

When deciding between different rental properties, the key influences cited by respondents are:

  • Photos of the home (42 percent)
  • Traveler reviews (27 percent)
  • Cost of staying at the properties (13 percent)

Over the Internet and Through the Grapevine

Most travelers find out about vacation rental properties on the Web, both on vacation rental property websites (70 percent) and online travel websites (55 percent). In addition, 25 percent of respondents find out about particular homes by word of mouth from friends and family. Read more