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Hotels at fingertips: informational cues in consumer conversion from search, click-through, to book

Karen L. Xie (Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)
Young Jin Lee (Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 19 June 2019

Issue publication date: 20 May 2020




When shopping for hotels online, consumers usually follow a sequential process of search, click-through and book. How to maximize consumer conversion on the path to purchase and prevent potential customers from giving up the online search remains an important topic to hotel marketers and online travel agents (OTAs). The purpose of this study is to understand how informational cues displayed in an online hotel search process, including quality indicators, brand affiliation, incentives (discounted price and promotion) and position in the search results, influence consumer conversion from one stage to another.


The authors collected clickstream data of hotel search from Expedia. The data include information on individual consumers’ click-through and booking, as well as events leading up to the conversions (or failure to convert) from search, click-through to book. It contains 940,164 hotels searched and displayed in 39,574 online search queries made by users in a regional US market between November 1, 2012 and June 20, 2013. The modeling strategy comprised the Heckman model and random effects model, which integrated sequential consumer behavior in different problem-solving stages while accounting for heterogeneity across different hotels online.


The authors find that consumers rely on informational cues displayed online to make decisions about hotel booking. Specifically, consumers tend to click through hotels with higher consumer-generated ratings and industry-endorsed ratings. However, they tend to rely on consumer-generated ratings rather than industry-endorsed ratings when committing to a booking. Moreover, consumers are strongly responsive to incentives (discounted price and promotion) when clicking-through and booking a hotel. Finally, the likelihood of consumer conversions from search to click-through and booking is higher for hotels with brand affiliation and higher positions in the search results.


This research provides critical managerial implications of online search for hotel marketers and OTAs. The results inform hotel marketers and OTAs on how consumers respond to informational cues displayed in their search process and how these informational cues influence consumer conversion from one stage to another. The sequential problem-solving process of search, click-through and booking disclosed in this study also helps hotel marketers to identify customer conversion opportunities using effective informational cues.


当在线酒店预定时, 消费者往往遵循一系列流程, 搜索, 点击查询, 到最后预定。对于酒店营销商和线上旅游社(OTAs)来说, 如何最大化提高消费转化, 使得消费者不会半途中断, 最后预定酒店, 是一个重要话题。本论文的研究目的就是理解酒店在线搜索过程中, 信息线索如何影响每个阶段的消费转化, 其中涉及的因素有:信息质量、品牌、激励(折扣和促销)、以及搜索结果排名等。


研究样本数据采集于Expedia酒店搜索点击流。其中包括个人消费者点击和预定信息、以及由搜索、点击查询到预定过程中的消费转化(或者中途转化失败)的各种事件。样本容量包括940,164家酒店, 其涉及到由美国局部市场消费者在2012年11月1日到2013年6月20日之间做出的39,574条搜索结果。 我们采用Heckman模型和随机效应模型来整合不同线性时间上的消费者行为, 同时考虑不同酒店的多样性。


研究发现消费者使用在线信息线索来做酒店预订决策。具体来说, 消费者倾向于对于消费者评价高和行业认证高的酒店进行点击查询。然而, 相比行业认证, 消费者更倾向于借鉴消费者评价, 来做出最后预定决策。此外, 在点击查询和预定时, 消费者对于激励(折扣和促销)反应强烈。最后, 品牌和搜索排名靠前的酒店往往获得从搜索、点击查询到最后预定中更高的消费转化率。


本论文对酒店营销商和OTAs有重要的在线搜索启示。研究结果向酒店营销商和OTAs证明消费者在搜索过程中对信息线索如何反应, 以及这些信息线索如何影响每个阶段之间的消费转化。本论文展示的从搜索、点击查询、到预定的线性决策过程对于酒店营销商们有着重大帮助, 帮助其使用信息线索找出各种消费转化机遇。



This paper forms part of special section “Big data in tourism and hospitality”, guest edited by Marianna Sigala and Roya Rahimi.


Xie, K.L. and Lee, Y.J. (2020), "Hotels at fingertips: informational cues in consumer conversion from search, click-through, to book", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 49-67.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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