The BriefYourMarket.com blog

This is some blog description about this site

The travel booking journey in hospitality…

booking-experience

A quarter of our disposable income will go towards our holidays, with the average household taking two main trips per year and spending £6,000.

With Brexit on the horizon, and more consumers deciding to stay closer to home for their 2019 vacations, you’ll need a winning strategy to attract their attention and custom in the new year, starting with an insight into the customer booking experience…

A Nationwide spending report recently found that four in ten Brits will dip into their savings to afford their next trip away, whilst a quarter will borrow money – relying on credit cards (15%), personal loans (4%), and friends or family (3%).

Whilst many intend to stick to a budget, six in ten will end up overspending – typically by at least £250 – and will take around three months to pay it all off.

To position your hotel as the ultimate staycation destination in 2019, and reduce your OTA reliance, it’s important to develop your customer experience.

Hotel marketers have defined the travel booking journey as consisting of five phases, those being: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing.

So, what are you doing at each of these stages to win over new and returning guests?

 

Dreaming

According to Think with Google, we experience travel micro-moments throughout the dreaming phase, or as they coin them, “I-want-to-get-away moments”.

In fact, on average, we’ll spend three hours a week daydreaming with the most common fantasy being our next holiday, leading 17% to either miss or take a wrong turn when driving.

There is no fixed time for how long this period will last. For some, it may take only a matter of minutes from dreaming up their next holiday to actually booking it. Whilst for others, reaching that next step could take a matter of weeks or months.

However, it is a crucial stage in terms of marketing, so you should be sharing as much content online as possible, including across your website, emails and social media sites.

Brand loyalty does not yet play a part in the customer journey – with 82% of leisure travellers yet to choose an accommodation provider – making it an opportune moment for you to put your brand in front of your audience.

Rather than lead with a hard sell, these messages should focus on inspiring on-the-fence travellers, creating positive brand associations, and demonstrating value.

 

Planning

So, they’ve taken their first step in the travel booking journey, and now that they have a rough idea of what they want, your customers are ready to start researching their options.

The average British holidaymaker will spend close to 30 hours preparing for a holiday, with the planning spread out over five weeks, and it all begins online.

Ten or twenty years ago, your business would have had to rely on word of mouth referrals, travel agents, drive-by trade or print advertisements. In 2018, the booking process happens across digital channels for 90% of consumers, providing you with a multitude of customer touch points to oversee and maximise on.

So, whilst 25% would have previously booked their holiday based on travel brochures, hoping for the best, we’ll now scour the internet for 4.5 hours for more information and reviews before making a commitment.

For three out of five digital consumers, a holiday is the most expensive purchase they’ve made online, meaning that the planning phase is crucial for determining worth against perceived risk, with concerns about the quality of the facility (63%) or the quality of the food (47%).

This is where your customer testimonials will prove useful, mitigating concerns and putting your prospects at ease.

 

Booking

At this stage, your customers are on the verge of booking, and whether that’s through your website, online comparison sites or over the phone, you need to be providing a seamless service.

Although the majority will book online (81%), research shows that a significant number (38%) feel more comfortable having the option to speak with someone too, either by calling up or communicating via live chat functionality.

More cancellations occur from OTA bookings than from your website, mostly due to the utilisation of high-pressure tactics, with Trivago making headlines earlier this month for apparently “misleading customers with false advertisements” and facing what could be a $10 million fine.

Your 2019 strategy needs to propel your business away from its reliance on online comparison sites and towards avenues that offer self-generation.

Half of all Google searches (46%) are location-specific, which means that if you have a strong online presence, you’ll improve your chances of driving traffic direct to your website.

It’s also critical to get the “post-purchase experience” right, as getting it wrong will push 93% to buy from a competitor next time.

One of the biggest grievances with a brand’s post-purchase communication was found to be the speed of email delivery, with 81% frustrated after waiting longer than ten minutes, so be sure to provide a follow-up confirmation message to every customer.

 

Experiencing

How your guests interact with your brand will determine whether they’ll come back or not.

With email marketing, you can encourage customer loyalty whilst influencing spend per head, with reports that pre-arrival campaigns – typically – see a 57% open rate and welcome messages see 48%.

When guests reach the experience stage of their travel booking journey, they’re often looking for ways to add value to their holiday, which you can provide in the form of your additional services, restaurant facilities and spa packages.

Though they may initially be travelling for business, 49% of your corporate guests will choose to extend their stay to enjoy some downtime, rising to 80% for millennials, who will plan their personal time around work.

Providing relevant information to the right target market will therefore improve your chances of hitting the mark, as well as enhancing their brand experience.

Approximately 50% of smartphone users will research what to do mid-stay, demonstrating that at every point of the customer journey, you need to be showcasing what the local area – and your hotel – has to offer.

 

Sharing

The final stage of the travel booking journey is one of the most important yet frequently most neglected by UK business owners – sharing.

Your ability to generate direct bookings hinges on what your customers are saying about your brand online, making all the difference for 96% who look up reviews and 76% who focus on pictures uploaded by past guests.

Social media also plays a crucial role attracting new customers – and helping your business to engage its recent visitors – with 42% believing it’s important to share their travel experiences with their followers and 40% picking a destination based on its “Instagrammability”.

So, are you collecting and sharing your recent reviews? If the answer is a resounding no, you’re missing out on an abundance of repeat business opportunities.

By honing the travel booking journey that you provide, you’ll stand out from your competitors and give your customers an experience that meets their needs as and when they crop up.

 

Talk to us…

To discuss your 2019 strategy with a member of the BriefYourMarket.com team, call us on 0344 800 84 24, or email us at pauld@briefyourmarket.co.uk.

 

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Saturday, 19 January 2019

The BriefYourMarket.com blog

This is some blog description about this site

The travel booking journey in hospitality…

booking-experience

A quarter of our disposable income will go towards our holidays, with the average household taking two main trips per year and spending £6,000.

With Brexit on the horizon, and more consumers deciding to stay closer to home for their 2019 vacations, you’ll need a winning strategy to attract their attention and custom in the new year, starting with an insight into the customer booking experience…

A Nationwide spending report recently found that four in ten Brits will dip into their savings to afford their next trip away, whilst a quarter will borrow money – relying on credit cards (15%), personal loans (4%), and friends or family (3%).

Whilst many intend to stick to a budget, six in ten will end up overspending – typically by at least £250 – and will take around three months to pay it all off.

To position your hotel as the ultimate staycation destination in 2019, and reduce your OTA reliance, it’s important to develop your customer experience.

Hotel marketers have defined the travel booking journey as consisting of five phases, those being: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing.

So, what are you doing at each of these stages to win over new and returning guests?

 

Dreaming

According to Think with Google, we experience travel micro-moments throughout the dreaming phase, or as they coin them, “I-want-to-get-away moments”.

In fact, on average, we’ll spend three hours a week daydreaming with the most common fantasy being our next holiday, leading 17% to either miss or take a wrong turn when driving.

There is no fixed time for how long this period will last. For some, it may take only a matter of minutes from dreaming up their next holiday to actually booking it. Whilst for others, reaching that next step could take a matter of weeks or months.

However, it is a crucial stage in terms of marketing, so you should be sharing as much content online as possible, including across your website, emails and social media sites.

Brand loyalty does not yet play a part in the customer journey – with 82% of leisure travellers yet to choose an accommodation provider – making it an opportune moment for you to put your brand in front of your audience.

Rather than lead with a hard sell, these messages should focus on inspiring on-the-fence travellers, creating positive brand associations, and demonstrating value.

 

Planning

So, they’ve taken their first step in the travel booking journey, and now that they have a rough idea of what they want, your customers are ready to start researching their options.

The average British holidaymaker will spend close to 30 hours preparing for a holiday, with the planning spread out over five weeks, and it all begins online.

Ten or twenty years ago, your business would have had to rely on word of mouth referrals, travel agents, drive-by trade or print advertisements. In 2018, the booking process happens across digital channels for 90% of consumers, providing you with a multitude of customer touch points to oversee and maximise on.

So, whilst 25% would have previously booked their holiday based on travel brochures, hoping for the best, we’ll now scour the internet for 4.5 hours for more information and reviews before making a commitment.

For three out of five digital consumers, a holiday is the most expensive purchase they’ve made online, meaning that the planning phase is crucial for determining worth against perceived risk, with concerns about the quality of the facility (63%) or the quality of the food (47%).

This is where your customer testimonials will prove useful, mitigating concerns and putting your prospects at ease.

 

Booking

At this stage, your customers are on the verge of booking, and whether that’s through your website, online comparison sites or over the phone, you need to be providing a seamless service.

Although the majority will book online (81%), research shows that a significant number (38%) feel more comfortable having the option to speak with someone too, either by calling up or communicating via live chat functionality.

More cancellations occur from OTA bookings than from your website, mostly due to the utilisation of high-pressure tactics, with Trivago making headlines earlier this month for apparently “misleading customers with false advertisements” and facing what could be a $10 million fine.

Your 2019 strategy needs to propel your business away from its reliance on online comparison sites and towards avenues that offer self-generation.

Half of all Google searches (46%) are location-specific, which means that if you have a strong online presence, you’ll improve your chances of driving traffic direct to your website.

It’s also critical to get the “post-purchase experience” right, as getting it wrong will push 93% to buy from a competitor next time.

One of the biggest grievances with a brand’s post-purchase communication was found to be the speed of email delivery, with 81% frustrated after waiting longer than ten minutes, so be sure to provide a follow-up confirmation message to every customer.

 

Experiencing

How your guests interact with your brand will determine whether they’ll come back or not.

With email marketing, you can encourage customer loyalty whilst influencing spend per head, with reports that pre-arrival campaigns – typically – see a 57% open rate and welcome messages see 48%.

When guests reach the experience stage of their travel booking journey, they’re often looking for ways to add value to their holiday, which you can provide in the form of your additional services, restaurant facilities and spa packages.

Though they may initially be travelling for business, 49% of your corporate guests will choose to extend their stay to enjoy some downtime, rising to 80% for millennials, who will plan their personal time around work.

Providing relevant information to the right target market will therefore improve your chances of hitting the mark, as well as enhancing their brand experience.

Approximately 50% of smartphone users will research what to do mid-stay, demonstrating that at every point of the customer journey, you need to be showcasing what the local area – and your hotel – has to offer.

 

Sharing

The final stage of the travel booking journey is one of the most important yet frequently most neglected by UK business owners – sharing.

Your ability to generate direct bookings hinges on what your customers are saying about your brand online, making all the difference for 96% who look up reviews and 76% who focus on pictures uploaded by past guests.

Social media also plays a crucial role attracting new customers – and helping your business to engage its recent visitors – with 42% believing it’s important to share their travel experiences with their followers and 40% picking a destination based on its “Instagrammability”.

So, are you collecting and sharing your recent reviews? If the answer is a resounding no, you’re missing out on an abundance of repeat business opportunities.

By honing the travel booking journey that you provide, you’ll stand out from your competitors and give your customers an experience that meets their needs as and when they crop up.

 

Talk to us…

To discuss your 2019 strategy with a member of the BriefYourMarket.com team, call us on 0344 800 84 24, or email us at pauld@briefyourmarket.co.uk.

 

Will the "New Year, New Me" hype be enough to keep...
What are you doing to win more business on these d...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Saturday, 19 January 2019
 
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