Images hugely influence the purchase decisions of consumers booking hotels online, a new study sponsored by the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell University has revealed.
The study, titled “Using Eye Tracking to Obtain a Deeper Understanding of What Drives Online Hotel Choice,” tracked the eye movements of 32 individuals while they shopped for hotel rooms online.
“We found that when people are browsing through search results, they tend to look more frequently at hotel names than any other feature, and that pictures of the hotel appear to be hugely influential during both stages of the search,” wrote Breffni M. Noone, who along with Stephani K.A. Robson carried out the research.
“Both stages” Noone refers to are the browsing and deliberation stages. In the latter stage, shoppers are most drawn to images, followed by hotel descriptions, price and special deals, as well as user-generated ratings and reviews.
Robson believes the outcome of the study proves that eye tracking, a process that measures the gaze or movement of the eyes in relation to the head, is “a powerful tool and deserves to be used much more frequently in [the hospitality] industry.”
The two researchers plan to further their research to determine what photo traits are most attractive to consumers looking to book hotels online.