THE SIX STAGES OF TRAVEL
An understanding of how the travel decision-making process works leads to a blueprint of how to place a Travel Business in the market. With so many websites and online services offering millions of variations of the same thing, it is of the utmost importance to capture the attention of your segment of the market with the right tools at the right stage of the buying process. Let’s take a look.
People who love to travel love to dream about it. Flashes of places they have been are mixed with a recent image on a billboard, a flip through a travel magazine or a glance at a friend’s Facebook holiday pictures. Regardless of how they got to the dreaming phase, here they are looking at your site, dreaming of their next breakaway.
Of all the stages, this is the most content-driven. You want a vibrant website with captivating images. You want to include videos, blogs and content articles to capture the essence of what your business offers and you need a regular newsletter bursting with dream-worthy content, to shake readers from their daily routine.
Why is this stage so important? The dream stage requires a lot more than just information and facts. The dream transforms your visitors from passive spectators into active participants in the buying cycle. The dream activates customer interest in your destination or service offering.
So your client has a dream! You’ve got the ball rolling. Now that you have their attention, the most important thing is to keep it. This is the stage where your visitor will start to consider logistics. When they can travel, how long they will stay and how they will get there. They will also be able to determine whether they think their experience will match or exceed their expectations.
Content verbiage and imagery should be inspiring and pleasant, encouraging them to take the next step in the buying cycle.
By implementing display marketing, remarketing and paid media, you can guide your visitors’ attention to exactly where you want it to be and by keeping visitors on the site, you’ll have more control over their experience. You will also have the ability to track the complete user journey throughout your website and booking channels.
This is it. Your visitors are ready to commit and make their purchase decisions. The key consideration at this point is to make it easy for your visitors to initiate purchases and for transactions to run smoothly.
You should anticipate that your customers will spend more time on your site at this stage of the buying cycle. They are also very likely to revisit information they have stored or saved during this stage. It is therefore very important that your website is well managed and up-to-date. Continuously update your pictures and images, include seasonal information and ensure current information is readily available.
Do not underestimate the value of additional “sweeten-the-deal” offers linked to travel deals at this stage of the buying cycle. Any added amenities or services (think game drives, spa treatments or golfing opportunities) may count in your favour at this point.
Crunch time. For your clients, this is the most important part of the journey. Their experience of what they have dreamt, planned and booked will determine whether they will use your offering again and encourage others to do so too. The strategy is simple.
Be real. By providing real content from the get-go, you ensure the customers’ experience will meet or exceed their expectations. This builds trust and creates repeat business.
Be flexible. By allowing your guests freedom to make their own choices, explore on their own and connect with people, you are able to turn one-size-fits-all vacations into personable, unique experiences.
Be welcoming. By having welcoming staff and quality people in place at your offering, you create the opportunity for guests to connect with more than just the place, food or attractions. Fond memories of staff cultivates loyalty in guests.
You can send out surveys upon departure, or shortly thereafter, giving guests the opportunity to rate and review your services. The feedback obtained can be used to improve your business and also help you in creating user generated content across online platforms.
They loved it! You’ve delivered a quality offering and your guests had a great time. By implementing a few simple strategies, your visitors can become the ultimate ambassadors for your destination or offering.
Promoting online reviews across online platforms can create credibility for your services offerings. Updating social media profiles regularly will ensure that your guests can share moments of their experiences at your offering by way of images, videos and reviews. You could also invite Social Media Influencers to stay at special rates and by doing so increase awareness of your destination or offering.
Couple months later, they still love it. Nothing takes a traveller back to a great holiday like a well-placed piece of content at the right time. Imagine the post-trip memory of a cruise vacation awakened by a picture of the ocean from the open deck…on a mid-week work day. Nostalgia!
By carefully and consistently placing content on social media or sending out e-mailed newsletters or marketing campaigns, you will ensure that your past guests not only remember their great trip, but never forget it.
Asking a satisfied client to fill out a survey or to give you a favourable review is another route to go to make sure they will remember you fondly. This way you won’t be far from their thoughts when they start dreaming about their next vacation.
At Realm Digital, we understand what it takes to create a successful online presence in the Travel Industry. Get in touch and let’s discuss the many opportunities available to you and your business. Any and every step of the way.