Travel marketing is dominated by technology, soaring consumer expectations, and more intense competition. All this is a fact of life in the digital age. Only those travel companies that evolve their business models, focus on delivering optimal customer experience, and embrace the possibilities of the digital economy, are succeeding in this time of unrelenting change. It is the survival of the digital fittest. I’m not talking about your workout app, but about the need for all businesses in travel to be digitally fit.
Tech-savvy connected customers
It’s the new tech-savvy, connected consumers on their mobile phones that are driving the need for digital transformation. Digital connectivity is pervasive. These days, consumers are considerably more sophisticated users of technology than ever before. They have quickly embraced mobile everything and the convenience of anywhere, anytime, connectivity.
All of the forward-thinking travel companies have recognized the need to provide customers with easier ways to do business regardless of the device or location. In many cases, to create value, travel operators are making foundational changes to their organisations to put their customers first. Optimal engagement begins with better customer experiences that deliver value. For instance, content that fulfills individual aspirations, information that addresses specific needs and special offers that provide exclusivity.
To be relevant today, travel brands must digitally transform to meet the evolving needs and expectations of their customers. Marketers must deliver a dynamic digital customer experience – one that is personalized, social, interactive and consistent. As people shop, watch movies, listen to music, learn and work and play online - from their mobile devices - digital experiences must be optimized for mobile devices, and seamlessly connected with other customer touchpoints and channels.
Customer experience focus
So what does all this mean to the company selling travel and travel experiences? Customer experience is key. You have to be ready to deliver the right message, at the right time, at the right place. With the explosion of travel channels and devices, this can be really complicated for small businesses. Luckily there is a toolset that gives the small local business a significant advantage because they are made to help customers find exactly what they want. It’s better than personalization because we are responding to a need that goes much deeper – we can deliver to the underlying needs of the customer. So we have tools available that can find adult-only romantic hotels on Wategos beach. If that’s your business it’s a match. We now have tools to work with the full digital journey of the customer. Say you were the hotel at Watgos and the customer did not convert to a sale – maybe because they were still doing their research.
We can then communicate with that person on Facebook and in fact anywhere on the web and remind them your business existed. You could offer a discount if you want or could show a video of your rooms and the view, perhaps a map of the area. If the person converted you may want to send an email inviting them to a special chef's dinner or maybe offer a car and a picnic basket. After all, you don’t want the customer to cancel because they would something better.
We are using your customer data to work out which activity is most effective, and which marketing channels are producing the best return on investment.
So how do I do this?
Some of this sounds complicated but it’s reasonably easy. Google provides the tools to find people looking for what you have. There are a lot of them but really it’s the perfect fit for travel business right down to “travel vaccine near me” The tools then allow you to remind the customer you exist because they might not be ready to buy right now. You also get the tools to communicate with people who have booked with you.
This can be part of making sure they know what to expect, they get a sense of your business and they don’t cancel because they find something better. All of this can be done for less than the commission's people are paying the OTAs and aggregators. These can still be part of the mix but the incremental business will add to your profit. All of this can be done without additional stress and resources.
You just need a little help. That’s why we exist. Ask for your free 30-minute business planning session