One of the biggest struggles travel brands face in 2017 is understanding their customer. With so many different types of travelers and booking options to choose from, knowing who your client is and what they want is no mean feat. And yet that knowledge is key to developing a successful marketing strategy.
For example, are people visiting your site to book a business trip or a personal trip? If it’s business, they likely care more about timing. If it’s for pleasure, their priority may be getting the best possible deal.
Understanding who a customer is and the purpose of their on-site visit is a powerful tool, and today, with the advent of digital experience analytics platforms, one that is readily available to travel brands.
Digital experience analytics can help marketing teams identify customer behavior within the booking funnel, providing context as to why people either make a purchase or drop off a site. They can help flag a confusing form, pinpoint a popular blog post, or even measure how far down a specific page your visitors scroll.
The ability to identify current trends in the travel sector is an invaluable asset for travel brands, who can use this knowledge to optimize their platform and improve their ROI.
As part of an effort to help travel brands boost engagement on their sites and generate promotions, ContentSquare recently compiled a study on the behavioral habits of travel customers. Outlined below are the top three trends:
Desktop remains the preferred device to complete bookings (but mobile is a close second!)
In terms of booking trends, desktop is still the most widely-used device to browse and book trips. But mobile traffic is quickly catching up. The study found that, during the browsing stage, most travel consumers would rather compare offers on a desktop than on a mobile — since they find information easier to digest on a desktop.
It’s important to note, however, that mobile traffic is up 20.7% since 2015, and is rapidly growing — although mobile devices are mostly used for prospecting rather than converting.
Last-minute promotions are not that popular, as most customers prefer to plan their trips well in advance
Online users searching for their next holiday destination are filled with high expectations. More often than not, they have done their research, and carefully mapped out the details of their trip. As a result, last-minute deals are not as successful as one would think.
In fact, users prefer the excitement of organizing their summer and winter vacations ahead of time — often searching for summer holiday destinations in January, and winter break destinations in September. In order to capitalize on this trend, travel brands should promote relevant content in the slower months.
Achieving customer loyalty will bring your travel brand success
The study found that, when it comes to booking travel, mobile and tablet users do not convert until their fifth session, while desktop users need at least seven sessions.
Meanwhile, returning visitors represent 20.7% of the overall traffic. These findings highlight the importance of repeat visitors and brand loyalty when it comes to multiplying bookings and increasing a site’s conversion rate.
The best way to achieve this loyalty is to make the customer experience as seamless as possible by optimizing the customer journey based on the specific needs and habits of travelers. This may sound complicated, but it could be as simple as shrinking your site’s search categories, offering interactive maps, and streamlining the check-out process.
By the time travelers reach your site, they have already put a lot of thought into what they want. If they don’t have a positive digital experience from the get-go, they will go elsewhere to find it — so why not invest in the right technology, and catch them on the fly.
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