The Journey of the Digital Traveler

Spring has finally sprung and we all feel a little happier.  With summer just around the corner, travelers are starting to plan their summer vacations - whether it be the adventure seeker or the family getaway.  While it may seem early, the change in season has people excited to get outdoors and utilize their coveted vacation time.

With information constantly accessible, people are planning their own trips from start to finish and doing so entirely online.  The travel industry is almost solely digital as consumers want information immediately and would rather avoid waiting on hold to speak with someone who may not be as excited as they are about their upcoming trip.

As a marketer, it’s important to understand this shift and capitalize on getting in front of your audience early and often to leave a lasting impression.  Brands find success when they focus on all stages of the planning cycle turning interest into conversions and revenue.

When planning a trip, it all begins with search.  Travelers do a ton of online searches before booking.  They are comparing everything from destinations, food and even local activities and are doing weeks or months ahead of their trip.  Search campaigns should appeal for those planning in advance and focus on helping the customer through the process.  It’s important to structure campaigns based on proximity to attractions or accommodations offered as the actual act of booking may happen much later.

While no two travelers plan the same, they tend to have one thing in common, the use of multiple devices to gather information and book their travel and accommodations.  According to Google, the purchase journey for a travel accommodation includes 45 touchpoints across devices and sites. Messaging should be seamless across mobile, desktop, and apps and optimized accordingly as consumers are interchanging these and want to feel like they are getting the same information each time.

With brand loyalty declining for travelers, it’s important to provide a better brand experience with personalized messaging.  A recent study showed 87 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with travel brands that provide a personalized shopping experience as they’ve come to expect this type of service.  Messaging should be tailored based on user site activity, fitting into the goals of the trip and making the customer feel that their purchase is valued by the brand.

Finally, retargeting is essential.  Consumers can feel overwhelmed with travel options so it’s important to be in front of them often with the right messaging in their moment of need, leading to the moment of purchase.  This should be applied across all platforms such as social, display, email, etc so that your brand is engaging in the right moment and meeting them on their path to purchase.

While people are daydreaming of their next getaway this spring, the process can be tedious. It’s never too early to plant the seed of interest and help distinguish your brand from the crowd.