When it comes to deciding on where to go on holiday, nothing beats a recommendation from friends or family. They are the most trusted source for insights and advice on travel purchase decisions. But what if your friends and family aren't that well travelled? Where do you go for ideas and inspiration?
We can no longer think of travel purchase decisions in terms of the traditional "funnel" going through the stages of ideas and advice through to comparison and purchase. Instead our real life, real time travel experiences are creating a dynamic journey that influences the decisions of other jet setters too. Here are some of the key influencers when it comes to travel purchases.
Today's consumers are becoming more autonomous. Travellers themselves have become key influencers in the purchase decision process for travel packages and products. Customers are most likely to comment on their travel experience while directly experiencing it (i.e. whilst still on holiday). This is made possible thanks to smart phones and tablets giving customers online access wherever they may be. Research suggests that more than 70% of consumers rely on social media sites such as Tripadvisor when making purchasing decisions, and around a third of holidaymakers browse the web during their trip for research. If you are getting good social reviews you will see the benefits. But if you are getting bad reviews you need to tackle this problem as a priority.
Social reviews may be ever-growing in popularity, but if a business does not have a well-designed, engaging and informative website then customers will tend to look elsewhere. Content needs to make the user stay on the site and find out more and should include inspirational images and video, as well as written text.
Research shows that more than half of customers download travel apps before they leave. The most popular of these apps focus on guidebooks, the weather and maps, as well as restaurants and bars. The most popular travel app is Google Maps, which should come as no surprise. Its content is influencing travellers in real-time during their trip. So it makes sense to ensure that your business is part of that content, doesn't it?
It may come as a surprise to you, but there are still customers who turn to printed media and television when making decisions about travel. In terms of the traditional travel decision-making "funnel", brochures, guidebooks, magazines and TV all play a part in the ideas and inspiration stage. They work to build awareness of a product or service rather than influencing decisions.
As a business, you need to ensure that the content that is being created about your travel product or service is of the highest quality. Provide the highest levels of customer service and create the perfect customer experience and wait for people to share it.