Most companies are interested in converting customers online…. Up until they’ve actually paid for something.
It’s not that they are cash grabbing and have bad ethics. It’s just easier to build business cases for investments that lead to a definite conversion points and money.
Travel and tourism companies can’t be that callous. Holidaymakers evaluate the enjoyment of their holidays on their overall experience. As far as they are concerned paying for stuff before they go is a necessity. The enjoyable bit comes when you actually go on holiday.
This article gives our tips on four commonly missed elements of the holiday maker customer experience.
The day-dreaming phase
We’ve all done it. After we’ve booked our holiday we like nothing more than to sit on the sofa flicking through where we’re going on an iPad because it’s raining outside. If you’re anything like me there’s only so long that you can cope with browsing the web with someone else, so before long you’re browsing separately on your phone.
During this stage speaking personally I’m looking for information that can help me to work out what I’m going to do when I get there. As someone with a busy life I’m also looking for anything that can help me to make sure I come prepared (what clothes / equipment shall I bring? Do I need to book anything in advance?).
To any travel agents reading this article… Yes I know much of the in-location experience is dictated by tour operators on the ground, restaurant owners, etc… but helping customers to experience the best bits of a destination can only help to ensure they have a nice time. That’s to your benefit too.
The day of travel
This is often a mixture of extreme excitement and fear that something has been forgotten.
According to this article a third of UK travellers forget their travel documents. I’ve done it before plenty of times. This is where things like the EasyJet App which stores your boarding passes are incredibly useful.
If you don’t have an App this doesn’t mean that you can’t add value to the customer experience at this point. Our work with LLA showed that providing customers with personalised itineries that they could pin to their web browsers dramatically improved brand advocacy. This in turn helped us to deliver a 82% increase in online revenue.
The hotel room
Why is it that whether you’re on holiday with friends, family or your other half it is impossible for everyone to be ready at the same time?
I’ve often found myself sat on a bed in the hotel room searching for random things on the internet. Before long I’ve browsed everything that I normally would (trying hard not to look at anything that is too closely related to work). What happens next is similar to the ‘Day dreaming’ type of browsing except it is now done with more purpose… I have some knowledge of the local geography and I want to start making decisions.
The message here is far from ground-breaking. If you’re hoping to provide value at this stage it is important that your website continues to perform well. This includes on 4G / 3G connections. It is surprising how poorly websites with cheap hosting set-ups which appear fine in the UK work overseas. Slow websites at this stage = lost opportunity.
Selfies & Show Offs
If your Facebook friends are anything like mine this time of year is a bit of a cringefest. Sun burnt bald men … taking selfies, “This is the greatest place ever… etc, etc”.
This activity doesn’t normally result in direct sales but it certainly helps. Integrating your website with Google Tag Manager and Google Display Network can ensure that you can calculate exactly what impact this user generated content has on real bookings. It also helps to ensure that people who see how great your experience is are hit with advertising which helps them to remember rather than file it in the “cool but I’ve forgotten what it is” folder in their memory bank.