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From Research To Booking To Check-In: Prepare, Tune Your Site For Traveler's True Needs

03/24/2011| 9:55:49 AM|

A recent study by eConsultancy shows that nearly 53% of consumers are purchasing their vacations online, and that "the Internet is involved in almost 85% of vacation purchases." Since we know when and where most travelers are making their purchases, the obvious question is, What exactly should we be doing to prepare our sites for these mass booking extravaganzas?

Travel is one of few industries bless with reliable, built-in buying seasons, and therefore, predictable consumer buying patterns and behaviors. From research and booking to take-off and arrival, the opportunities to capitalize on travel promotions and discount offers, as well as relevant upsell and cross-sell opportunities, are virtually limitless. Despite working with a highly predictable target audience, however, many online marketers make the mistake of waiting too long to test, optimize, and personalize their various online initiatives in anticipation of the masses -- or simply don't do it all. As a result, they decrease what could have been their company's rightful share of the buying action and miss opportunities to increase consumer lifetime values.

If you're waiting until a week before Memorial Day, Spring Break, or Christmas to start targeting your travel deals and optimizing your site to turn researchers into bookers, you're way too late. And what about when your customers come back to print boarding passes or add a car rental? You must be ready to tailor and target their experience based on the data you already know about them.

A recent study by eConsultancy shows that nearly 53% of consumers are purchasing their vacations online, and that "the Internet is involved in almost 85% of vacation purchases." Since we know when and where most travelers are making their purchases, the obvious question is, What exactly should we be doing to prepare our sites for these mass booking extravaganzas?

  1. Keep overall site navigation and usability simple. Start by addressing your site's overall usability. Vacation planning and booking decisions are daunting enough on their own; if your site is too complex, buyers will flee your site faster than New Yorkers leave Manhattan on Labor Day. (Trust me, this is very fast.) Twenty-nine percent of eConsultancy's respondents complained that travel websites aren't easy to use. So, ask yourself: Are you helping visitors save their research data? Can they easily find what they're looking for? What pages have high exit and bounce rates? A quick dive into your web analytics should reveal key problem areas. Consider these the low-hanging fruit -- pages you should address immediately to secure more bookings.

Read the full story at:http://www.tnooz.com/2011/03/21/news/whichbudget-unveils-airline-ratings-tool-seeing-immediate-results/

TAGS: eConsultancy
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