This is a guest post from Ian Welch, Consultant, Data and Analytics at Experian Marketing Services
For travel marketers, the internet continues to grow in significance as customers examine reviews, check out destinations and look for the best deals online.
Experian’s Mosaic Digital Insights, which draws on the Mosaic consumer segmentation, reveals a number of distinct online consumer behavioural groups – one of which is Armchair Travel Bookers. Those in this group have discovered the convenience of researching and booking trips online, and checking the weather for their next break. They tend to be online in the day, usually between 9am and 6pm and, consist of some of the UK’s wealthiest consumers, making them a valuable group for travel brands to engage with. The travel-related websites they are most likely to visit include Easyjet, Thomson and Tripadvisor.
These eight top tips will be vital in helping travel marketers reach Armchair Travel Bookers:
MAP THE JOURNEY
The journey includes awareness, consideration, short listing, purchase, and hopefully additional purchases of other services or destinations. It is important to map this journey for three reasons:
- Enable each stage to be measured so that performance indicators can be set to measure potential demand
- Help planners to understand the role each channel can play in influencing consumers
- Help develop an increased understanding of customer behaviour so that product and propositions can react to a changing market
As consumers use and engage with digital channels more during their decision making process, the challenge is to keep content, messages and experiences consistent. Travel organisations also need to understand customer behaviour on different channels at each stage of the customer journey to ensure that the right information can be supplied at the right time.
UNDERSTAND, PLAN AND INFLUENCE EFFECTIVE DEMAND
Whilst digital is a world full of insight and data, the challenge is how to relate that back to effective demand. It is vital to understand:
- Who buys from you and which destinations they travel to
- What other travel organisations your customers consider
- What other destinations they are considering
Using appropriate tools you should also look to demographically understand the profile of potential customers across digital channels.
Armed with this information you can start to develop well targeted ongoing communications that will influence behaviour in each channel to provide a continual relevance to customers and develop loyalty.
GETTING GREATER INSIGHT FROM DIGITAL CHANNELS
Digital provides the opportunity to capture data and insight on customers in a cost-effective way for:
- Understanding where in the decision making process a customer is
- Measuring the experience a customer has after their travel experience
- Providing insights into product propositions and development
RECOMMENDATIONS INFLUENCE BEHAVIOUR
A holiday is a significant purchase and the decisions people make can often be influenced by others. By using digital channels a consumer can access communities that provide neutral online reviews, e.g. Trip Advisor; therefore it is not only essential for marketers to actively manage their presence in these communities but more importantly to also follow the discussions.
VIDEO CONTENT IS POWERFUL
Online videos play an increasingly important role, whether this is to gather information on a potential destination or compare offerings. In 2011 46% of personal travellers and 68% of business travellers watched online videos during the research phase of their purchase. Working with Experian CheetahMail P&O Cruises drove a 679% boost in revenue with video in email demonstrating the need to develop engaging ways to get video in front of consumers.
ENSURE SEARCH IS KEY TO YOUR PLANS
Search is a vital element in any marketing plan and will be used by new customers sourcing information to compare offers. It is also a threat where existing customers could defect to other brands.
Search is the number one source of traffic for travel websites online: 37% of all visits to travel websites come from search engines. Search can also be used to reveal popular destinations or unearth emerging destinations and attractions and show the naming conventions people use to find things; for example ‘travel insurance’ is more than five times as popular as ‘holiday insurance’.
MOBILE MUST NOT BE IGNORED
Trends show that consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to access digital channels; this trend will continue to grow. Marketers must meet this challenge and develop content that is engaging across mobile devices.