The purchase of online travel is changing and marketing too
The digital revolution has transformed the travel industry. Alex Dichter, Senior Partner at McKinsey, analyzes the data to understand the implications of these changes for marketers.
The majority of sectors have been shattered by the digital revolution, and the travel industry is no exception. It's not always easy for marketers to adapt to the changes while also making consumers want to book their next getaway.
To learn more about this transformation, we analyzed cumulative and anonymized data from more than 300,000 travel-related searches. Here are 3 lessons we learned from this analysis and their implication for marketers in the sector.
Users are overwhelmed with travel offers
Ten or twenty years ago, planning a trip was not easy. Most people used a travel agency, which offered them a limited set of options: a few destinations, limited departure and return dates, and few options to tailor the trip to suit individual preferences. With the Internet, the whole world is (literally) on our doorstep.
While technology has democratized vacation research and booking, it has also created what psychologists call the paradox of choice. The more choices we have, the more anxious and indecisive we are. This is exactly what came out of the travel data we analyzed. On average, the shopping journey of an accommodation lasts 36 days (incredible!) And involves 45 contact points on several devices and types of website.
Implication for marketers: Travel buyers are already overwhelmed with information.
Rather than drowning them more, help them decipher this information by being there for them when they need it most and offer them a relevant product or service. Thanks to the technologies at your disposal, it has never been easier. For example, if a traveler's "digital signals" indicate that he or she wants to travel with his / her children, make the ad he / she sees mention the connecting rooms available at your hotel rather than the cocktail bar.
More and more trips start with a search
In 2018, 31% of searches for accommodations started on search engines (vs. 23% in 2017) 3. More surprisingly, users who start their journey with a search do not take longer to book. They even finalize their purchase faster than users, who start their journey on the site of a travel agency.
Implication for marketers: the purchase of a trip is complex, sometimes anxiety. Unlike a pair of shoes, it is complicated to make a trip of 2 weeks. Even if you want to improve your conversion rate, resist the temptation to go directly to the sale. Instead, help curious customers with ideas and inspiration.
Travel buyers move from one device to another
Unsurprisingly (given the growing number of mobile users), we have seen an annual increase of 10% of customer journeys only on mobile or multiple devices4.
When planning and booking their next mobile stay, buyers may encounter some obstacles. Data shows that cross-device traversal takes more time than traversing on a single device. They actually require 5 days, 55% of sessions and 45% more digital touchpoints.
Implication for Marketers: If customers are omni-channel, the marketing strategy must be omni-channel. In other words, marketers need to create fast, intuitive, and fluid experiences on the desktop, on mobile pages, and in applications.
Digital is playing an increasingly important role in the journey of buying travel. Industry players can and must invest more in technology and digital experiences to differentiate themselves and develop customer loyalty. Only those who offer more fluid and personalized experiences ensure their future.
Article taken from Think With Google, Written by Alex Dichter