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Three Questions Travel Marketers Should Ask to Create the Right Customer Experience

Stefano Luceri
Senior Sales Consultant, Oracle Marketing Cloud

It is no secret that travel is one of the most mature online markets in the UK. Unlike emerging industries, which are still growing and have yet to settle into regular consistent patterns, travel is now an online veteran and follows repeatable seasonal trends.

While retailers were rushing around organising their Christmas marketing campaigns, the travel industry was busy preparing for its own peak. January is one of the two peaks for the travel industry where every marketing department is doing everything it can to get the brand to the front of consumers’ minds. This means that the main challenge for the travel industry is not knowing when to increase marketing efforts but understanding the typical consumer journey.

The typical consumer journey for travel has changed dramatically. More and more travel customers are turning to their smartphone to get the information they need before making a purchase and consumers are also spending more time researching before they make a decision, as they are faced with so many options while planning a trip.

With that mind we have been working with some of UK’s most recognised travel brands to work out ways to improve marketing and the customer experience. In partnering with them, we have learnt that every travel marketer should ask themselves three simple questions:

  1. Should we increase the level of focus and effort we put on cart abandonment?

More often than not, the answer is yes. On average, 67.91% of shopping carts are being abandoned. And while it is impossible to convert 100% of abandoned carts (some online “window shoppers” never actually intend to buy), it is possible to turn a good percentage of those carts into actual sales by implementing a shopping cart abandonment email campaign.

The biggest tip when building a cart abandonment campaign is timing. Brands should approach customers in real time, right after they’ve abandoned a purchase, and over the following 24 hours. That is the key period when customers are mostly likely to buy after abandoning their carts.

  1. Can we test more elements of the online campaign?

It sounds obvious but where possible, marketers should test all elements of their online collateral and marketing. The issue comes when budgets and deadlines don’t always allow for testing and it becomes a seemingly painless step to miss. As an online marketer, you have to show progress, and one way to pick up sales and improve online marketing campaigns is by testing.

Even small changes impact the bottom line. Marketers can implement very simple, easy and affordable tests such as testing button colour and placement, headlines, images and the registration process.  In working with one of our travel partners, we managed to ensure for every £1 spent, an additional £9 in revenue was generated.

  1. Are your internal stakeholders engaged?

While this isn’t focused on the customer or campaign itself, educating internal stakeholders is a fundamental part to the success of the campaign. Ensuring that all the right stakeholders are on the same page in terms of the vision, approach and metrics will allow the campaign to run smoothly and within budget and deadline. More importantly, if the campaign needs to be changed to adjust to changes in consumer behaviour or feedback mid-campaign, it will allow for a much smoother transition.

To hear from more travel brands and marketers on how they are facing business challenges, take a look through some of these case studies.

Yotel, a new breed of hotel featuring innovative technology and design, harnessed the power of A/B and multivariate testing, defined a testing roadmap, and achieved a marked increase in conversions.

Etraveli, an online travel agent moved away from a batch-and-blast approach to email marketing by using customer data to achieve more personalized communications.

Far East Hospitality reinvented its marketing to scale in operation and grew their business by 70%

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