When you plan a holiday, it can be both fun and a tiring experience. Every traveller goes through research and planning phase before he gets to his final booking. According to a recent study report released by Google, on an average, a traveller visits approximately 22 different sites over an average of 9.5 sessions before completing his travel booking. It’s also interesting to see that 51% of the travellers are searching destination-related terms when they first start planning their travel. As reported by Euromonitor, mobile bookings will account for almost 30% of all online travel bookings in 2017. With accessibility to a wealth of information on fingertips, it’s expected that the reservations will double in 2019.
The customer journey does look linear, but it isn’t! The journey to travel starts with inspiration and research where a lot of travel brands struggle to prove the value of branding. Once they are through their research phase, they are off to purchase the best and the most convenient option. The next two are the essential part of the holiday journey which is all about the experience promised and the post-holiday feedback. These two events will define their repeat customers.
It is essential to reach out to the customer and provide relevant information that could entice them into conversion. This phase of the customer journey called awareness is an integral part of the purchase funnel. Here are few interesting ways to tap into the customer journey in the initial stages of research and planning.
• Embrace the user-generated content. About 53% customers read reviews by travellers or professionals before making their travel decision. Travellers turned to user-generated content when visiting a destination for the first time
• Create an emotional connection, storytelling is the way to go. The blogger’s world is booming, and a lot of paid promotions are taking away the trust of a customer from the influencers. Hence, it’s very important to connect with the customers emotionally and storytelling would be the perfect way to go about.
• Your customers are mobile, and you should be too. Mobile is mostly used throughout the customer journey as research device but not as a purchase device very often. As per a recent survey, it is indicated that 46% of travellers make booking decisions on mobile but complete on another device. Hence, it is vital to reach the customer at the prospecting stage itself.
• Engage with various forms of content, both paid and organic. It could also mean that you’ll need to find different ways to display content, it’s all about engaging the customers while being informative. As they say, target the travellers and not the travel site.
And that’s all about what I’ve learned from both research and experience. Feel free to comment your hacks and learnings below on how to efficiently we can tap into the customer journey in initial stages.