How to Engage with Mobile Travellers in the ‘Micro-Moments’ of their Research Journey

April 5, 2016 by Matt Ambrose

engage mobile travellers

What’s your marketing strategy for mobile travellers? I’m not talking about making sure your website is mobile optimized – everybody knows that’s a must. What I’m referring to is devising a strategy for integrating your brand into the research journey which, increasingly, is taking place on smartphones.

According to Google, the share of mobile visits to travel websites has grown 48% while conversion rates on mobile sites have rocketed 88%. Clearly, people are now comfortable researching and booking on miniature screens. And if you want to profit from it, you need to find ways of engaging with them earlier in their mobile journey.

How to engage mobile travellers earlier

Early actions influence later booking decisions. That’s a fact. Instead of sitting back and hoping that by pure chance mobile travellers make it to your booking form at the end of their journey, try attracting them to your site much earlier in their journey.

How can this be done?

By creating content that addresses their key questions, motivations and dreams at each stage of the research journey by mobile travellers. When your content is helpful and informative it naturally builds trust in your brand and increases conversions as a result.

So the next question is ‘what are these questions and what content do they want to read’?

The answer lies in understanding the research journey taking place on smartphones and delivering the content travellers are looking for.

Tracking the mobile research journey

Luckily for us travel and hospitality marketers, Google generously directed its vast resources at identifying exactly what the mobile research journey is.

The Big G published some solid research that revealed the abundance of intent rich ‘micro-moments’ involved in planning a holiday. These are quick searches people are making in spare moments on their smartphone to find inspiration and insights on travel experiences.

In one study, Google found that a user had 419 digital moments, of which 87% were on her smartphone:

travel-trends-infographic-v2

Source: Luth Research ZQ Intelligence™ – Cross Platform Digital Behavior Measurement, Nov-Dec 2014 via thinkwithgoogle.com

Currently, these travel intent searches are untapped by travel marketers. I guess if enough people read this post, that could soon change.

Google has divided these ‘micro-moments’ with samurai precision into five key stages:

I want to know – People are looking for inspiration and ideas of what sort of travel experiences are on offer. Their searches are experience driven and they haven’t decided on a specific location yet. An Expedia Study found that American holiday package buyers visit travel sites 38 times to get answers to all their questions.

I want to go – They’ve now settled on the sort of holiday they’re looking for and need to finalize a location. Their searches become more specific, checking hotels, flight information and reviews of previous travellers. In fact, 80% of consumers will read up to 12 reviews on average before making a booking.

I want to do – They’ve now chosen a location but want to know whether it will deliver the experience they’re looking for. This is why, according to Pebble Design, 49% of people visit OTAs during the research stage and over half also visit supplier sites to get more detailed information on the experience they can expect. This explains why the two most popular searches are ‘what to do in [destination]’ and ‘where is [destination]’

I want to buy – Research more or less completed, they are now ready to reach for the plastic. While most of the research may have been completed on a smartphone, people still prefer the familiarity of booking on a computer or tablet. This year, according to emarketer, 51.8% who book online are expected to book on a smartphone vs 43.8% in 2015.

I want to make most of it – Even when they’re arrived, the hunger for information continues. Travellers are eager to discover the best attractions, restaurants and tourist hotspots around their location. For this reason, according to Google, mobile queries from hotel properties are up 49% and the most common searches begin with the phrase ‘near me’. Smartphones are also the go to device for getting local information as 94% of people will take a mobile device on holiday.

Content on local experiences must be on your website

While on holiday, most people (36%) use websites or apps to get information on local attractions and experiences. This is now more than brochures (35%), asking staff (27%) or looking on a hotel’s website (23%).

If we connect the dots, we can see that creating content on local attractions and experiences should now take primacy over the next run of glossy hotel brochures. And if this content isn’t already on your website, it’s time for a revamp.

The reason is because when you provide content guests are actively looking for it increases engagement with your brand in a positive way and helps to improve your guests’ overall experience. This in turn completes the circle with increased satisfaction, better reviews and more future guests to delight all over again.

How to create content on experiences customers love

What content do you think guests are most interested in when researching local experiences? Slick marketing copy? Expensively made promotional videos? Or content created in abundance by other travellers?

If you think it’s the third option, you’re bang on the money.

Travellers are the most influenced and are actively searching for content that reflects the authentic opinions, experiences, likes and dislikes of other travellers. This is backed up by an Ipsos Mori survey for TripAdvisor that found that content which helped in ‘enhancing perspective’ was the main driver of destination choice.

Benefits of creating content on local experiences

I think by now you’re with me on this one. But just to cement the point, let’s rundown the benefits of creating authentic content on real experiences your guests are actively looking for:

  • Engage with them earlier in their research journey thanks to the boost in local SEO (as we explain in this post).
  • Enhance your offer with the appeal of the experiences
  • Improve the experience and satisfaction of your guests
  • Improve customer loyalty and repeat bookings
  • Gain more positive reviews and increase others bookings

So clearly, there’s a lot to gain when you can share content from review sites, social media updates, photos and other user generated content on authentic travel experiences.

But there’s a problem. Collecting all this content, checking it for quality and relevance and then presenting it in an instantly digestible and attractive format is easier said than done. In fact, it can be very complicated and absorb hours of your time to do it effectively. And curating user generated content is a process you have to keep repeating, other and over again, as more relevant and up-to-date content becomes available.

Thankfully, there’s a way of managing the whole process on autopilot.

Fiz curates and creates experiential content

Fiz is a specially designed curation engine for the travel and hospitality industry. All you need to do is install a snippet of code on your website and Fiz will continually update it with reviews, photos, social media updates and other influential content on authentic travel experiences. As you’d expect, Fiz is fully mobile optimized and works beautifully on smartphones.

Once installed, you can leave Fiz to run on autopilot, and it will constantly update with new content to attract travellers during the ‘micro moments’ of their research journey. Or you can customize the entries yourself and add your own brand insights. However you choose to run it, Fiz helps to accelerate their research journey and increase the likelihood of them reaching your booking form at the end.

Fiz is available on a fully functioning 30 day free trial. So why not give it a whirl on your website and see how many extra bookings you can get from engaging travellers with the content they’re actively looking for and which directly positions your offer in the best possible context.

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