The travel industry is unlike any other. With such a varied and complex buyer’s journey to target, it can be difficult for travel marketers to know exactly where to focus their travel advertising strategies. Travelers can spend months dreaming about a trip before they book. And once they start planning and searching for a trip, every person has a unique and complex path to purchase, sometimes even different than the last time they booked a trip.
So, what should travel marketers do to capture traveler intent early in order to increase conversions? How can they focus their marketing efforts along such a complex, tangled web that is a traveler’s path to purchase?
Focus on The Travel Intent Journey
Ed Stevenson, VP of Sojern, says that travel marketers should focus on the intent journey, not the user journey.
I have two top tips for travel advertisers:
1. Focus on the intent journey rather than the user journey.
What I mean by that is travel is very unique. A single user could be one day booking a business class trip to Japan for work, but at the same time be investigating a cheap getaway to a campground with their family. There’s no other industry that really has that variation and intent where you know demographic or psychographic type profiling doesn’t really capture that difference of behavior.
2. Segment your audiences based on behavior.
Too often, we think about audiences in terms of prospecting and retargeting, and we use the metric of first site visit as the differentiator between those two things. Where really the path that a user takes from being unfamiliar with your brand to being a loyal customer is a lot more vague than that.
What I see a lot of advertisers get great benefits from is to segment down, for example, users that have never been to your website before at one end of the spectrum, and then people that buy from you on a regular basis at the other end. Really measure the attribution within those two groups. You’re looking for media to improve the performance of people that have never converted before. And then for the people that convert all the time, you’re looking for media to make those people convert more often.
Therefore creating those separate baselines across different audience segments.
Focus on Path to Conversion
Hotel marketers have different challenges when it comes to conversions. It’s tempting to get caught up in visually appealing marketing without giving great thought to the actual path a user takes when booking.
Angela Canny dives into where travel marketers should focus their energy:
Sometimes as hoteliers, we focus on the aesthetics and how pretty does my website look, how great are my images. And what we don’t really focus on is the path to conversion.
If we look at OTAs, typically there are only four steps involved in a booking. And sometimes I think as hoteliers, we’re more focused on giving information and displaying our beautiful images rather than how is this guest is actually going to convert to a booking for us.
Sojern aids in converting travelers across their entire path to purchase, no matter how varied and complex it might be. Our unique offerings focus on increasing conversions by providing unique audiences based on intent, insights into how travelers are converting, and optimization across all your online advertising efforts.