4 ways travel brands can increase customer engagement

Highly engaged travellers are the cream of the crop as far as your customers are concerned. They're the ones who give over their hard-earned cash, refer others to your travel business, provide constant feedback and remain loyal.

While not every single one of your engaged customers will exhibit all of these behaviours, at the end of the day, they're still engaged; it's still possible that they will go on to become loyal evangelists, rebroadcasting your marketing messages to their friends and family.

Customer engagement and customer experience go hand-in-hand. You're not going to get highly engaged customers if you're providing a poor user experience. For example, over half (52%) of customers are less likely to engage with a company if they endure a bad mobile experience, according to a WOW Local Marketing study.

Which leads us to first 'must' if you want to increase customer engagement with your brand:

1. Optimise your website for mobile

We could throw tons more stats at you to show why fully embracing mobile is crucial for increasing customer engagement, but do we really need to? You'd have to be daft not to see that mobile is where it's at for travellers. This year, over half of travellers who book online will do so through mobile, according to eMarketer's latest estimates. If you want to enter into a dialogue with your customers, give them everything they need, at every stage of their journey, from researching their travel to booking and beyond – all via a mobile platform.

2. Offer incentives

Research suggests that by incentivising the initial part of the sales funnel, customers will prove to be more loyal and make a higher number of purchases. It only needs to be a small or minor incentive – a free trial, for example – to enable your company to build a relationship with your customer of significant depth. What can you offer your customers for free that will initially tempt them in to engage with you?

3. Live chat

Chances are that customers browsing your website are going to have one or two questions they need answering before they commit to a purchase. If they don't find the answers easily, they may never go ahead with the purchase. Live chat is a great way of increasing user engagement on your website, while catering to customers' issues. It's easy to see why live chat comes out top on the customer service league table: it encourages brands to be more accessible and more helpful.

4. Social media plugins

A simple but effective way of getting customers to engage with your content, social media plugins will also help drive up your online presence. The number of social media followers is one barometer travellers use to gauge whether your business can be trusted – share buttons make it easy for them to follow and engage with your business on social media, which should result in follower numbers flying up. For that to happen, though, your content needs to be extremely searchable (not to mention helpful) so that it is getting in front of eyes in the first place.

Increased customer engagement means more sales, so ensure your travel website is as inviting as it can be, utilising the best technology available to you to ensure there is not a single barrier to starting a conversation.