We can’t blame Millennials for this trend. While they may be well known for making last minute bookings (even when they plan ahead), we have groomed today’s travelers to wait for deals, price drop offers, and special promotions before booking their itinerary. It’s spread beyond dining reservations to include hotel rooms, activities and attraction tickets. According to a recent consumer report from Arival, only 25% of summer travelers plan to book all of their activities before they leave for their trip.

In addition to the challenge of last-minute travel, indicators tell us that Boomers and Gen Xer’s are not traveling as much as they have previously. MMGY, in their Portrait of an American traveler, reported that Millennials are the only generation that is expected to spend more on travel than in previous years.

There are glimmers of hope, in what may look like doom and gloom. The same report shares that 80% of Americans plan to travel. So… what can you do to capture your share of last minute bookings from the 2.3 million leisure and business trips expected in 2019?

  1. Optimize your search strategy. Travel related searches for “tonight” and “today” have increased 150% over the last 2 years. That means you have a finite window to capture and convert! Incorporate a local focus using keywords related to time into your paid campaign.
  2. Audit your website for mobile usability and conversions. Treksoft reported that 72% of all mobile bookings happen within two days of Many of the last-minute searches (leading to bookings) are happening on mobile devices. Can a 7th grader find your phone number or book a reservation within 3 minutes (or less)? If you answered “no”, start working on your website now.
  3. Experiment with Beacons. Hyper-local marketing is becoming a requirement to capture last-minute bookings, and Google is making the technology easier than ever to implement. Beacons will improve last-minute sales, as well as enhance your customer experience and provide key insights that will help you improve your services.