Boost Bookings by Understanding the Modern Traveler's Customer Journey
The days of the traditional customer journey within the travel sector are a rapidly fading memory at this point. Long gone is the simple single customer and travel agent dynamic, as the inexorable advance of digital technology has ushered in a new era of consumer-powered travel shopping.
Most travel bookings now occur online, where consumers are empowered with a wealth of platforms and tools they can use to get the very best experiences possible for the least amount of money - and they're available 24/7.
The issue this creates for travel brands is that the modern consumer requires constant engagement. What's more, the customer journey can vary wildly between consumers - some are meticulous planners, some are spontaneous, some want to go mountaineering, while others want to soak up rays on the beach - meaning it's hard for marketers to come up with a one-size-fits-all plan of attack.
However, by understanding the elements that link all travel customers and acting accordingly, you can give your brand the best chance of securing those crucial extra bookings.
More Travelling Than Ever
Millennials are now dominating the global workforce and have lots of disposable income to throw around. The state of the housing market is causing many of them to resign to the fact that home ownership is simply unattainable, and they are therefore looking to spend their money enjoying their lives in the here and now.
Over 50% of Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences instead of material possessions, and 60% are actively seeking to make purchases that reflect their feelings and personality. Money spent on doing things creates more happiness than money spent on objects - and Millennials know it, evidenced by the fact they are taking, on average, four holidays per year.
This is important for digital travel brands to understand, as your customers are likely to be at different stages of the journey at once - ready to set out on a trip while already plotting the next one, for example. Or, they are looking to book multiple trips in a single purchase.
Unprecedented Levels of Choice
Due to the huge amounts of media modern people consume, there's travel inspiration everywhere you look. Social media, television, film, books, and more can all contain suggestions for that next big adventure.
However, all these media can leave people feeling a spot of choice paralysis, knowing they want to get away, but unable to decide where.
Content marketing can help travel brands address this issue. Free and informative content from travel brands can help influence the decision-making progress. Your content team needs to pinpoint the various stages of the customer journey and look for the moments where people are feeling overwhelmed - during the search process, for example - and craft well-written and engaging content designed to help guide them down the road to making a booking with your brand.
Content also provides you with great material to share on your own social media platforms, so when consumers are looking around Facebook, Twitter, et al, for travel inspiration, they are more likely to encounter your brand.
RIP Customer Loyalty
A key element of the huge amounts of choice available to consumers is that customer loyalty is a thing of the past.
This means you can never take your eyes off the prize and become complacent, as there are a dozen other travel brands ready to provide the level of service your customers demand, should you fall short. It's crucial to be consistent and constantly on the lookout for new ways to add value to your service.
Another side-effect of this choice is that people these days tend to book separate parts of their trip when it is most beneficial to them to do so. Gone are the days of booking flights, hotels, etc. all in one package, with consumers tending to purchase each element where and when they can get the best deal.
Your brand needs to be flexible enough to offer unbeatable package deals to inspire customers to book everything with you. The more fragmented you allow their purchases to be, the more likely it is they won't spend all their money with your brand and look to other providers for the disparate elements of their vacation.
"We know that customers today have more options than ever to choose their own adventures," writes the DMA in a blog post. "This means that if every experience isn't properly vetted, a customer could be disappointed in their vacation or travel plan, or the businesses that they relied on to arrange their adventures. Despite these challenges, travel companies can improve those experiences across the board by developing comprehensive customer journeys."
Increased bookings through a better understanding of the customer journey are set to be a hot topic at Digital Travel 2019, taking place in April at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, CA.
Download the agenda today for more information and insights.