Traveler purchases are big decisions involving an unknown number of questions. Where to go, what to do. Where to eat, where to stay and where to play.
Travel marketers have their work cut out for them. When it comes to travel marketing, the journey can be long, winding and unpredictable. It's a highly competitive space, with travel brands jockeying for position to land the business of customers faced with no shortage of attractive options.
Travel brands can't just set up shop and wait for the customer bookings to roll in. They have to hustle to get noticed, and this means building a marketing strategy that targets the entire customer journey. Where the travel industry is concerned, this customer journey has some unique wrinkles to be accounted for. Here are some tips for brands to get prime positioning at every point in the customer journey.
Target Travel Micro-moments
According to Think With Google, a major influence on travel decisions — and travel marketing strategies — are the micro-moments that shape the customer journey. These micro-moments can range from the weekly or monthly Google searches made while daydreaming of vacations at work, to the number of times customers search for flight deals online, to the moments where they consider an impulse buy.
Marketers can target these micro-moments by studying the behaviors indicating that these small windows have opened. Long-tail keyword research can identify certain searches being executed during the "dreaming" phase of travel shopping. The report noted that 75 percent of customers make travel purchases on desktops after conducting research on mobile devices, so brands could tailor their mobile and desktop strategies to these different stages of the buyer journey. Mobile could receive more of a research focus and desktop campaigns designed to close the deal.
Build a Strong Partner Network
Today's digital travel landscape is saturated with options. Brands can't operate in isolation — they need a distribution strategy to make themselves visible to customers.
Both creating content and being active on social are important, but travel brands should consider building a network of influential partnerships. Working with online travel agents, agencies and businesses can secure your company a reliable stream of leads and conversions.
These partnerships are great for targeting multiple stages of the customer journey, from building awareness to incentivizing bookings.
Engage and Share Post-Trip Experiences
Past customers are a great asset for brands in many industries, but travel companies, in particular, are in a position to leverage their advocacy. Digital Doughnut recommended having a strategy in place to turn happy customers into social advocates. Solicit feedback and online reviews and ask them to share social content related to their experiences, especially photo and video. These content types make it easier to share the experience with others.
Keep in touch with these customers through regular email newsletters. Send them promotional offers and other content to remind them of their great past experiences and encourage them to become repeat clients. Few travel brands can obtain long-term success when offering a sub-standard experience, so strong social advocacy is a testament to both your product and growing business.
By considering the entire customer journey, your company can engage customers in several different ways and orchestrate a strategy for successfully driving growth.