Ways to Provide Value in All 8 Stages of Travel
Determining the role you play during the travel process is the first step to structuring a powerful and effective online marketing strategy.
Identifying the stages of traveling will help with strategic planning. You must consider the entire traveling experience- from the moment travelers are inspired to take a trip all the way through the dreaming phase.
This way your hotel can provide the right amount of value to your guests and gain maximum visibility
Best practices in marketing strategies focus on providing maximum value to travelers. Inbound marketing, for example, focuses on attracting customers through relevant and high-value content and nurtures prospects and customers at every step of the buying journey. Zehnder, a multi-disciplinary marketing agency, created an infographic of the 8 stages of travel and has provided examples on how to connect with travelers at every point of contact. Here’s a summary of the article’s main points:
Travelers are constantly thinking about their next vacation destination. Google data reveals that37% of travelers think about vacation planning once a month and 17% think about it once a week. New destinations are considered during the early and first stages of a traveler’s journey.
The goal is to reach your ideal guests by offering inspirational content via different channels (blogs, tv, bus shelters, etc.) to influence their decision-making process. By acting as a destination promoter during this stage, you can considerably increase your hotel’s visibility and be the hotel of reference for that destination.
Once travelers start to consider their next destination, they enter the second phase- planning. Here travelers search for information about the destination and consider things like cost, and seek advice from travel reviews and blogs. For the planning phase, video content is key for inspiring travelers. According to Google, more than 60% of travelers watch online videos when deciding on a destination and looking for ideas about activities. A key action is to strengthen your hotel’s brand image with video content and connect it with the destination.
In the booking phase, some of the most important factors are price, online reputation, location and wifi. This stage is a very decisive moment in the sales process. Other competitive players in the game like Airbnb and OTAs complicate the booking process. According to Certify, a provider of travel and expense management software, Airbnb listings are popular among business travellers. In 2015, Airbnb had an annual growth rate of 261 percent domestically. To attract guests, it’s important for you to highlight your hotel’s advantages and connect with your ideal guests on the right channels.
More than likely travelers will create tentative schedules before departure and then make necessary adjustments once they arrive at the destination. This means that your hotel must be visible to the traveler before and after they pack their bags. Google data shows that 37% of travelers walk around to find activities, 36% rely on websites or Apps and 35% rely on brochures and books. Thus, reaching travelers across various mediums is fundamental for maximum brand visibility.
During the trip, you can connect with the traveler and determine opportunities for your hotel depending on the means of transport the traveler intends to use. For example, your hotel can appear in an in-flight magazine or partner with a car rental company to appear in its advertising. Since your hotel can now identify travelers before their visit, thanks to their booking information, it’s important to anticipate their needs and offer travelers special promotions or services.
This phase is driven more and more by mobile technology. Travelers are opting for online searches to improve their experience and solve travel doubts rather than seek assistance in person. To travelers, social networks are channels to communicate personally and directly with brands. In a report by Tripadvisor on millennial travelers, the smartphone was considered the most important travel item, even above clothing. This shows how important it is to interact with travelers and satisfy their needs via apps, and mobile-friendly websites and platforms.
Travelers, today, share their experiences more than ever during all phases of their trip. According to Twitter, 20% of users share feedback throughout their travels. For hotels, third-party content is highly significant, because you can identify trends and determine traveler needs.
Keep in mind that the experience doesn’t end when travelers return home. The next trip is already being planned. According to a study done by Tripadvisor, going on vacation inspires two out of three travelers to plan another trip. Connect with travelers during the dreaming phase with loyalty programs or via email marketing and as they seek inspiration for their new trip. If hotels are savvy and efficient during this stage, they can reduce acquisition costs. All in all, stick with travelers throughout the 8 stages of travel to make the most impact and increase your hotel’s visibility.