Omni-channel marketing inspires wanderlust in the travel sector
The process of booking a holiday is a long and often complex journey for many. In an attempt to cut through the noise, the industry has capitalised on the experience economy, delivering huge volumes of content across all channels, both online and offline, with the aim of inspiring wanderlust and attracting customers for life.
In this post, we explore how travel brands can use an omni-channel strategy to cut through the noise, remove complexity, create trust, and increase revenue. Ensure your omni-channel visions are realised using tactics high on the travel industries agenda – cross-device, social media and personalisation.
Customers are channel agnostic. From inspiration right through to confirmation, they jump between marketing channels and mediums, reading reviews, cross checking prices, until confident in their decision. This is especially true for the travel industry. Up until recently, desktop has been the preferred channel of choice for booking, yet recent research shows that mobile has overtaken desktop for UK holiday bookings.
The benefit of providing a seamless omni-channel experience means users can pick up their journey wherever they left off, whether that be researching hotel options on their mobile, or booking trains on desktop. According to research conducted by Expedia, travellers will visit 38 websites per travel search, giving brands a lot of opportunity to disrupt the journey, and create unnecessary complexity in the booking process. If a brand can provide an experience that ensures a user picks up exactly where they left off, regardless of device, you create a more trusting one-to-one personalised experience and browsers are more likely to book.
Ultimately, executing a clear omni-channel marketing strategy takes the customer effort out of booking, leaving more opportunities for inspiration, excitement and positive brand experiences.
Last year there were over 60 million web conversations about travel on social media. The same research from The Drum discovered that, up to 52% of users are inspired to travel after viewing content presented via social channels.
The travel industry has always been fuelled by word-of-mouth but the plethora of social media channels means that travellers no longer rely on guidebooks alone, with reviews, blog posts and other user generated content largely contributing to the decision making process. In fact, only 48% of those who use social media to research travel actually follow through with their original plans, re-enforcing the ability of this channel to influence decisions.
As social is such an important channel for the travel industry, an integration of the behavioural data derived from social into your omni-channel strategy is imperative in achieving a holistic customer profile. Without it, will you have the confidence your marketing messages are based on a complete and full picture of your customers behaviour?
A barrier to customers engaging meaningfully with travel brands is the bewildering array of choice. In an attempt to strike the right balance between offering enough choice yet not so much as to overwhelm, a data-driven personalisation strategy will help deliver the most motivating content, at the right time via the right channel.
There is little value in presenting customers with multiple product options, unless those opportunities are relevant to them. This is where a comprehensive personalisation strategy is key. The alternative is presenting individuals with deals and content that are entirely irrelevant, damaging brand reputation and failing to inspire wanderlust.
TravelSupermarket, have seen a huge increase in engagement and sign-ups using real-time data-driven personalisation techniques. Their CRM team used the Intilery Marketing Cloud to build an onsite personalisation campaign targeting anonymous browsers and significantly increased conversion rates.
Furthermore, when each channel is populated with content based on what inspires on a one-to-one basis organisations will be rewarded with brand advocates as well as improved conversion rates. Delivering a perfectly personal experience creates invaluable brand loyalty.