What Do Your Travel Customers Want?

What Makes your Audience Click?

What really excites your customers?

What does your target audience really want?

There likely aren’t more important questions to ask because you can only sell what they want. If you crack these tough questions right, you’re liable to make a big impact on them and open up a big sales pipeline.

As they assemble their vacation or trip in their mind, as they surf the web for ideas and services (average 2 months long), will they find your website? And does your website have these items and products that perk their interest? And does your content build their desire to experience them?

Because customers are looking for what they want. For your travel company, it’s part promise, part presentation, part friendship, and one part delivery.

They Want the Perfect Travel Experience

What would you say right now are the top 3 benefits/features that your travelers want as they go online to search, get inspired, and find new experiences? Commit yourself and write them down, because this is your current view. You need to compare it to the research you’re doing now. The difference helps you to discover any missing gaps in your understanding which is where your business fails.

Knowing your customer as deeply as possible should be your number one goal. They want to be understood, and will book with those travel companies that appear to understand them.

It’s a Long Time Between First Awareness and Bookings

Surveys and research can help tell us what the end experience or product might be, but there’s a big gap between first awareness via research and booking a trip. You can win it, or you can lose it.

In fact, Expedia’s study of the traveler’s path to purchase shows there is a lot that travelers want, and there’s a big gap between when they start searching online and when they book their trip (2 months on average). Of course, Expedia’s look at their customers is a little slanted towards high volume basics like flights and hotels.  And their customers are very price sensitive which translates to commodity-like travel choices. Their survey is skewed toward their brand strategy which includes items that few travelers consider in their purchase (such as how much jet fuel is used, or inclusiveness, etc.)

Still, you should be aware of how the travel monopolies make their big money and what’s driving that.  You can easily duplicate and adapt their branding tactics in your own marketing strategy.

What drives bookings? Image: Expedia.

Plenty of Time and Content Touchpoints

What’s great about this, is that you have a continuous opportunity to reach travelers, influence them, and persuade them to book your products/tours.

What do they think when they first arrive on your website? You have to know this. Did they find the key must haves right away?  Because they don’t want to waste their time.

Via your compelling travel content through all digital travel marketing channels, are they getting a laser-clear impression that your company is the most significant provider for them in the marketplace?  The “only one for me” fixation is a key objective of any travel management software company, tour company or travel agency.

What makes your company most significant? Are missing items such as meals, rooms, and loyalty points canceling your firm from their list?

Travel Consumers Want:

  • the product that delivers the experience outcomes they are hoping for
  • specific products like one-stop flights, rooms with great views of mountains/oceanfront, guided tours, authentic Italian food, exotic tropical destinations, sunset cruises, etc.
  • content and marketing that makes them feel good (self-esteem) about what they intend to do
  • stimulus to build their emotional travel intent and confidence so they follow through and book the trip
  • interesting content that highlights stimulating/relevant travel stories
  • to be inspired and moved
  • to enjoy novelty, change of scenery, and getting health benefits
  • to book with a company that appears to be focused on them (niche) cares about them, and is brand they want to associate with
  • to buy from a trustworthy, welcoming, positive, confident and helpful company
  • to buy a product/experience that transforms them and rejuvenates them and their lives
  • compelling visuals and enticing copywriting that makes their dream feel real and emotionally satisfying
  • personalization and visuals and copywriting that fits their lifestyle and preferences

From a TravelPort Survey — “In fact, most respondents (59%) said that getting exactly what they want is more important than how much they pay for it.”

  • to feel trust, safety, certainty, and confidence in the travel product provider
  • easy, transparent booking process with guarantees/full refund
  • evidence of cleanliness and good service — good reviews
  • satisfying, authentic, enriching, immersive experiences that make them feel better about themselves and more
  • interesting to their friends and family
  • to get great value for their money
  • to be romanced and receive marketing offers that add value to make the trip irresistible

Lots of Opportunity to Reach Travelers and Influence Them

Similarweb found that 50% of travel purchase journeys have 30 travel and tourism touchpoints.

Consider that each of the most sought-after benefits/features are touchpoints. Can you just list them like above, or do they need to be woven into your storylines so they’re believable? Are travelers that wary and suspicious? Well, many look for reviews, and in the reviews, they may see positive references to each. That can be powerful.

What’s needed is a big emphasis on digital marketing. And that ranges from good research, great strategy, clear branding, excellent content, advanced SEO, engaging stimulating social media posts, and real value delivered via emails and newsletters.

Add on a well-planned PPC campaign with remarketing and you can get the reach, frequency and impact to capture your leads.

Infuse all the above must have factors in your aspirational and informative content across all channels to influence them throughout the path to purchase. Each exposure adds to the overall impact on them.

Are you ready to make travel marketing a priority and grow your bookings?

Contact me, Gord at 416 998 6246 about your challenges and how I can help.

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