four ways to grow direct bookings with millennial travelers
By KELLY Springett
To attract direct customers in 2019, think about the booking journey you offer from every perspective and consider how you can make it more meaningful, helpful, and pleasant.
Here are four ways you can define your booking journey to grow direct conversions among todays modern travellers.
1: Think mobile first.
In 2018, more so than ever, we have seen a shift where travellers use mobile and trust mobile beyond their desktop machines. According to Google, two thirds of travellers under 45 are more inclined to booking an entire trip on a smartphone, while one third of travellers over 45 are doing the same. This is especially true for those already travelling, where 76% are actively building they’re itineraries on the go via a mobile device with little reliance or need of a desktop machine.
Reimagine the booking journey in ways that benefit the user – a lacklustre user experience, information overloads, and over complicated mobile layouts are the main reasons that operators are falling short with mobile users.
Focus on a fast and frictionless experience that lets your mobile audience discover the most relevant information that relates to them as an individual.
2: Make it personal.
You already know travel is about experiences and that’s even truer when delivering a high converting booking journey.Travellers want content to be personal and relevant. Actually, they not only appreciate a personalised experience — they expect it too. And while travel operators have always known that a little personalisation goes a long way, they should now consider themselves tasked with finding new, digitally empowered ways to custom-tailor the booking journey for individuals.
Using analytics, think about your content and understand what it’s saying to your audience to create an entire customer view, you will see that different website referrals yield a different type of audience. Now build personality matched pages to targeted specific customers and tailor to their needs in an exact time and place.
Just remember, millennials don’t want to see imagery and experiences that focus on baby boomer activities, and vice versa.
3: Engage in social.
According to Amp and Blitz, an impressive 84 percent of travellers are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s photos, reviews and updates on social media. Especially true for younger travellers, where trips are experienced vicariously by their network – with real-time commentary, questions, and ideas.
Integrate social media into your digital presence, channeling the natural strengths of referral in this realm: it’s cheap, transparent, and effective. And for travellers, it not only plays a part during the booking journey itself, but it has a major influence in others’ planning stages.
Beware of social proof widgets from the many OTAs. Most of them are attached as scripts that track and retarget your website visitors into their booking journeys. Instead opt for placing your reviews and ratings using the many public api’s available. Certificates, awards of excellency, etc can be added as images.
You likely already know someone that can help but if not, reach out to our live chat and we’ll put you in the right direction. Plus, if you are thinking of joining us and starting your programmatic advertising, know that we’ll fix these for free, sometimes even rebuilding your entire website. Find out more here.
4: Understand your channels.
The truth of the matter is that OTAs and aggregators are paying for your organic traffic in search or retargeting your website visitors using tracking cookies hidden inside their widgets. We know it, you’re feeling it and customers are likely missing it altogether. Not to worry and in some ways it isn’t so terrible.
For the last 5 years, search has been problematic for small to medium size operators, where focus has been to compete for quantity over quality of clicks. Often leaving you with high bounce rates, low engagement and confusing analytics.
Long-term success isn’t about serving as many customers as possible. It’s about understanding what your highest converting customer looks like and marketing to more audiences like them. Learn what makes them tick, where to find them, and the steps they need to take before making a booking.
Change the way you think — and talk — in a digital world.
The possibilities in travel marketing have never been more exciting – nor has the expectations ever been so high. With the right tools, it isn’t too tall an order to deliver mobile-ready, personalised, and socially connected experiences.
You can now arm yourself better than ever for the task at hand. Analytics gives you vision, cross-channel understanding gives you reach, media optimisation gives you predictability and automation, and creative optimisation gives you a higher chance of direct conversions.
By building a holistic view of your customers, embracing their increased prominence, and delivering content and experiences that matter to them, you can ensure growth in direct bookings for many years to come.