Digital Marketing Strategy For The Travel Industry

Estimated Reading Time 10 minutes

Finally, we are coming up to summer, which means that travel digital marketing and advertisements should be in full force, and going strong. If you seem to be struggling or need a couple of tips and tricks on how to reach the ideal audience then keep reading.  

Last October, Reggie James wrote a blog about the ‘How can travel companies make the most of digital marketing to personalise and engage customers’. Although the title may elude to similar content, this blog is only focusing on:

  • travel economy of today
  • travel user journey
  • planning for summer seasonality

The evolving user

Everyone in the digital marketing industry is aware that it is constantly evolving. It is drilled in to us that technology is going to keep changing and becoming more advanced, meaning we are going to have to keep acting like sponges and soak up new information all the time. The same theory can be attached to the travel sector, specifically in relation to mobile use.  

People with a phone use it every single day they have it. Fact. The majority of people use their phones to check emails, shops, and even to navigate. Specifically millennials use their phone religiously now. When we relate the mobile usage to the travel industry, we can see according to Google Partners that 40% of all travel searches are initiated with a destination search from a mobile device. The use of the mobile phone has changed our search behaviour and even how we book holidays. We can see from the graph below, which shows data collected from Google Partners that the use of mobile is growing 5% year on year, whilst others such as a computer or laptop only seem to decline.

 

mobile is also evolving how we book online chart

How can I make sure my website is mobile ready?

DO – An absolute must is to make sure your user experience is perfect for a mobile. Your UX needs to be really easy for the user in order to make a conversion. Make your CTA’s clear which will also help your website navigation, users should be guided to the content they are looking for in a really simple, minimal way. The path through the content should make sense to the user, and be a logical journey. Your user experience needs to be absolutely perfect.

DON’T – Make your users wait for content. Your site speed needs to be performing at optimum level. There is statistical evidence from kissmetric that 47% of people expect a page to load in less that 2 seconds and 40% of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Mobile + travel = growth

As you can see from the evidence above, the use of mobile is growing, what about the travel industry? In fact, the travel industry is growing at the same rate as mobile. Even though we have seen some setbacks in the travel sector from events such as Brexit and terror attacks, it is still thriving. Google partners would like to introduce the ‘Brexit worry’ chart:

brexit worry index

The Brexit Worry index shows us that when Brexit was announced in 2016,  there was a huge spike in concerns about travelling, we can see a dramatic drop in Q3 and Q4, where it became less of a concern for consumers, but how would this affect the behavioural habits of someone looking to go abroad?

Google Partners found that people are still wanting to travel however because of the climate, the research that some are doing may include more exploring in order find the right deal, resulting in the process being extended.

  • 55% of people would go out of their way to look for websites and packages which would help save money for their trip.   
  • 31% of people would book a package / all inclusive holiday to save money and to monitor spending.
  • 29% of people would worry about they travel agent they booked with going bust, consequenting in losing a deposit.

We can quite clearly see that there is a key theme here, saving money. Saving money is top of mind for some consumers.

Even though the concerns about money seems high from the previous statistics there is still a sense of consumer confidence. According to a Google Partner survey conducted in 2017, Over 66% of travellers plan on spending the same or more on their 2018 holiday than they did in 2017 which is great to see. Another really important takeaway is that people are 47 times more likely than last year to actually spend more time on holiday, also going further away.When we look in to how long people are looking to go away for and how long they are looking to go, the numbers have doubled! People have started to increase their time away to two weeks, and are more inclined to travel a further distance!

The ‘booking a holiday’ journey

The journey is changing, not the actual physical journey of your holiday, but the journey your consumer will go on to actually book a holiday has changed. The journey should look something like this:

  • You Tube. One of the first things in the user journey seems to stem from youtubing some holiday videos which ultimately makes people feel inspired about where they want to go.
  • Google Maps. Secondly researchers tend to look in to the maps, about where is close, where is far, what’s near, could they go island hopping, or could they do a bit of traveling?  
  • Expedia. Expedia is the top travel booking website. You can book flights, hotels, car rental, and airport exchange services for great deals. As I said earlier, saving money is important to 55% of travelers, so the user journey normally includes Expedia.
  • Mail. Lots of people have conversations with the hotel, or perhaps get emailed about some deals they have going on.

The cautious optimist conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to understand that the use of mobile looks as if it is going to only increase and become more popular, therefore in order to reach the desired audience, your user experience needs to be performing at a rate of 100%, and working to the best of its ability to make your traffic convert. You also need to make sure that your site is easily navigated, in order to speed the process on a bit. As mentioned earlier Mobile and Travel are two areas that are constantly evolving, I can assure you that this won’t be the last blog about travel.

 

Verity Smith
Verity graduated from Brighton University and is working within content creation and social media at Digital Clarity. With time spent at agency DWA and technology group Limelight, Verity brings a creative approach to projects, blended with a commercial aspect that is underpinned, with her ability to analyse campaign data. Verity is a keen horse rider and fashionista.
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