With around 40 million Americans getting busy planning for summer vacations, opportunity is practically everywhere to market your travel related products and services. With various segments of the broader American Jewish community having higher than average disposable incomes, the marketing opportunities are even greater. Being that much of the enjoyment from travel actually comes from the planning stages, customers take great joy, and are always looking to discover new and interesting travel options. While the traditional travel and hospitality sectors are the most obvious contenders to market to this demand, it is important to remember that products and services on the periphery of these sectors can also capitalize on many of the same opportunities for growth. Successfully marketing for travel requires an understanding of the dynamic for both how consumers find products/services as well as how they subsequently make purchases. This knowledge is vital for implementation of effective and efficient strategies.
What is arguably the most important aspect of a travel related marketing campaign is the awareness that customers are increasingly finding brands “on demand and on the fly.” What that means is, that oftentimes, customers are performing searches and seeking out what they need as they need it.This is evidenced by the fact that 58% of travel spend takes place during the trip. Furthermore, over 74% of travel related planning takes place on the internet as per a study conducted by Ipsos. What is clear from the outset is that a robust presence online with optimized search visibility is of critical importance when trying to capitalize on potential travel related marketing opportunities. What is also apparent, is the importance of being present in the “I Want” moments. Theses moments are when a potential customer needs a certain product or service “on the fly.” It is during these brief periods where the greatest opportunities are present.
While there are a number of different factors that make these opportunities so important, their draw in large part is due to the fact that these customers are looking to make a purchase decision right away. They will generally not be making decisions backed by research over a span of weeks or even months as they may do for a car purchase. What this translates into is that if a customer finds you during these “on demand moments,” then there is good chance that they will make a purchase. Therefore, once you capture these “on demand” customers, conversion rates dramatically increase. With such an increase in “on demand” searches, mobile centered campaigns have been playing a larger role. While purchases that require research and lengthy decision making are more likely to take place on desktop, travel search which happens during the trip is way more likely to take place on mobile. This may come as a surprise to some, but mobile search has now outpaced search from desktops. This explosion of mobile should stress the great importance of having a proven strategy that caters to these searches. This is even more so the case for travel related search for the reasons above.
Another important aspect of a travel centric marketing campaign, or for that matter any campaign, is landing page experience. That is, once you have accomplished what can be considered the difficult task of getting a visitor to your website, converting that customer depends in large part on the experience they have on your site. Providing for a convincing landing page, with helpful information and perhaps customer testimonials has been shown to substantially increase conversions. With such a heavy concentration of on the go search stemming from mobile devices, ensuring that your website works seamlessly across all devices should be a priority. What we have seen to be a common problem with client websites is where the website works and looks great on desktop but is substantially lacking on mobile. Such an oversight is sure to translate into lost revenue.
As with search visibility in general, the importance of a great user experience is magnified when it comes to travel specific marketing campaigns. This is because customers who are searching from their mobile device in a car, airplane, etc. need a fast and easy to use interface. With 77% of search during “spare moments” (such as waiting in line or commuting) taking place on mobile, it is no wonder that mobile is becoming the king of the field. With potential customers performing searches while actively traveling being more prone to abandon a website or other platform that is not functioning in a seamless manner, it is of unique importance to make sure optimal functionality. Of the 83% of leisure travelers who encountered a sub-par mobile website experience, only 23% followed through with the site.
One of the biggest concerns of businesses in the travel industry remains the popularity of big brand sites and apps such as Priceline, Kayak, and the like. This stems from the trend of travelers going directly to these brands without providing an opportunity for others to have a chance to market to them. This is a direct credit to the convenience and marketing efforts that these large travel sites have cultivated over time. An encouraging sign to smaller players within the travel sector is the fact we are seeing a trend towards an increase in travelers initiating search via engines over going directly to brand sites. This gives these businesses an opportunity to catch the potential customers attention. With that being said, the experience and offerings provided need to be stellar in order to compete with the familiarity and brand recognition that the brand sites bring with them.
When it comes to marketing travel to the Jewish community, there are a whole host of exciting and effective strategies that can be implemented to attract this growing segment. One of the most popular is by taking into account the familial aspect of the vacation as well as religious considerations. With many Jewish families going on holiday with children, it is important to account for the substantial role they play. With up to 87% of decisions regarding travel taking into account the needs and preferences of children, campaigns should factor the family aspect into their strategy. In addition, marketing to the religious needs of some Jewish travelers is also an effective tool in getting their attention. Take for example, cruise lines that offer kosher food options can capture a lucrative segment of the Jewish community by playing this accommodation up. While these are just two ideas for growing within the Jewish community, the goal is to think about what can set you apart from the competition who may not be factoring in specific communities.
While we have only briefly scratched the surface of some of the ways to approach marketing for travel, the key takeaway should be understanding the position of the customer. What are they searching for? How are they searching? With such a large portion of travel planning and booking done online, the starting point is ensuring that you have a strong strategy that provides for robust visibility. A seamless and easy to use website that takes into account the increasing role of mobile search is of great importance. Remembering that only 23% of visitors who encounter a non-optimized site will follow through is a sign of how vital a great mobile experience is. As more people use search engines to find travel services versus going directly to branded sites and apps, there is more opportunity for you to catch their attention. When it comes to the Jewish community, looking at the big picture and what the community desires in their travel is the key to capturing their attention. Understanding the role children and religious consideration plays can help set you apart from the competition who may not be taking these segments into account.
It is through a wholesome approach and an understanding of customer needs and habits that you can formulate a winning strategy that is geared towards capturing growth in the travel sector.