We’ve all seen it. You’re finally booking a hotel for that long overdue vacation, and the website pressures you to “Book now – only two rooms left!” After years of seeing these sales tactics, your audience has grown immune to the same behavioral interventions.

Simon Shaw’s ‘Consumers Are Becoming Wise to Your Nudge’ article at behavioralscientist.org dives deeper into that skepticism:

“Only 2 rooms left? They don’t expect me to believe that do they? You see that everywhere.”

I leave with a wry smile. The client won’t be happy, but at least the project findings are becoming clear. Companies in certain sectors use the same behavioral interventions repeatedly. Hotel booking websites are one example. Their sustained, repetitive use of scarcity (e.g., “Only two rooms left!”) and social proof (“16 other people viewed this room”) messaging is apparent even to a casual browser.

For Chris the implication was clear: this “scarcity” was just a sales ploy, not to be taken seriously.

Do the general public spot patterns in the way that marketers are using behavioral interventions to influence their behavior? My own natural skepticism when seeing those popups says yes.

If this is driving your website, review your use of these behavioral interventions — Much adieu, Karen