Why travel needs to design mobile-first customer journeys
We all know this – smartphones are changing how people search and make purchase decisions.
And when it comes to travel, in particular, consumers increasingly use their smartphones in real-time to dream up and research their next trip.
So, first of all, hard facts.
Some 40% of visits to US travel sites now come from mobile devices.
Additionally, mobile accounts for 60% of destination information searches. And, two-thirds of all watch-time for top travel videos on YouTube happens on smartphones.
As travel planners get closer to booking, smartphones continue to play a role.
Around 70% of travelers with smartphones use them to do research, and almost half of leisure travelers make their final booking decision on mobile.
These little devices in our pockets are reshaping how the customer journey looks today.
To successfully connect with consumers, all forms of content, ads and experiences must be designed for what Google calls “micro-moments,” those instances when people turn to a device with intent to meet an immediate need.
To recall the recent research by Google, micro-moments play-out in four ways, aligned with the travel decision-making process: dreaming, planning, booking, and experiencing.
- I-want-to-get-away moments: When people are exploring ideas for their next trip
- Time-to-make-a-plan moments: When people have chosen a destination and are ready to research the details
- Lets-book-it moments: When the research has been done and people are ready to book
- Can’t-wait-to-explore moments: When the trip is underway, travelers experience their trip and share it with others.
Savvy travel marketers shift resources to micro-moments
Seventy-two percent of travelers with smartphones look for the most relevant information regardless of the travel company providing the information.
This means that consumers are becoming more loyal to their need and to the company that helps them in each moment rather than a particular brand.
For example, in early planning stages, 78% of leisure travelers haven’t decided which airline to fly with.
Furthermore, 82% haven’t figured out where to stay when they start thinking about a trip.
They need help and are looking for brands to provide it.
Brands that help their customers by “being there” during the discovery and planning phases and are also “helpful or useful” by providing relevant content (pictures, videos, reviews, etc.) convert more than not.
For instance, 67% of travelers are more likely to book with a travel brand that provides relevant information for the destinations they’re interested in.
How to capitalize on travel micro-moments
Travel brands now have to earn, and re-earn, a person’s consideration in every micro-moment. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
- There can be no consideration without discoverability. People can’t consider you if they can’t find you. Identify the travel micro-moments that matter to your business and make sure you’re there when they are looking for answers.
- You have to be relevant to that person’s needs in that moment. Consider the intent they have based on the context of their situation to create truly useful and engaging experiences that answer questions and solve problems.
Make mobile a priority
- While travel decisions continue to be made more and more on mobile, it seems that consumers still face challenges when it comes to actually booking on a smartphone. 46% of travelers with smartphones say they make their decision on mobile, but then book on another device. What’s preventing people from booking on smartphones? 54% of leisure and 69% of business travelers say that mobile limitations or mobile usability are their main reasons for booking on another device.
Mobile is quickly becoming the device at the center of travel planning. With it comes an entirely new set of behaviors and expectations.
Whether you’re a destination, accommodation provider, airline, travel agency, or any other part of the hospitality ecosystem, winning micro-moments should be a focal point of your marketing strategy.
Those brands that account for the new multi-device landscape, identify pivotal micro-moments and are prepared to be there and useful will be successful in the future.