Understanding accommodation search query formulation: The first step in putting 'heads in beds'

Bing Pan, Stephen W. Litvin, Thomas E. O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The internet affords enormous amounts of destination and accommodation information. A key tool relied upon to navigate the medium is the search engine. As such, accommodation marketers, primary target beneficiaries of this research, seek greater understanding of how search engine travel inquiries are conducted. Such knowledge would better inform online marketing campaigns and allow for more effective use of limited marketing dollars. This study analyzed 701 Excite.com accommodation search queries in order to identify such trends. The results suggest that travelers most often search for their accommodations simultaneously with other aspects of their travel, such as destinations, attractions, transportation and dining; and that most commence their search by seeking specific hotels in conjunction with their destination city. A sequential analysis also revealed the prevalence of switching behavior, with searches often reflecting swings between broad and focused research tacks. Marketing implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vacation Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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