Photo by EchoGrind, Unsplash
Connecting to the right audience has never been more important in the marketing world. Markets are oversaturated and consumers are being bombarded with more than 10 000 brand messages every day. The modern consumer is able to explore, research and share every aspect of a product or brand. They also have unlimited access to valuable referrals and reviews, no matter where they are in the world. With information readily available at but a touch of a button, the newly empowered consumers navigate and manages their time and interactions well, consciously deciding with who, where and to what extent they wish to engage. The modern travel consumer is curious, adventurous and seems to be a complete mystery to marketers. The only way to truly connect to these audiences is by understanding who they are. Let’s get to know them.
Customization is key
Now that we have unlimited access to information, travel consumers are consciously selecting which brands, products, and environments they are aligning themselves with. To them, it is all about creating experiences that allow them to grow individually and live life to the fullest. Personal development and identity dictate not only where consumers are heading to, but also how they are getting there and what information they are using to make these important decisions.
The modern traveller is tech-savvy, dynamic and multi-dimensional. He seeks out unique experiences by taking his time when planning the trips. Although the modern travel consumer still does research on a desktop, it is important to note that 40% of U.S. travel site visits are actually coming from mobile devices, and conversation rates from these devices have grown by 10%. According to a British study, consumers are switching between screens up to 21 times an hour, searching for the exact information they want and need. This means that the average attention span of our wandering consumer is now a mere eight seconds. To reach these consumers, special attention, relationship building, and customization is therefore essential.
In order to create customized content, it is important to understand where in the funnel and purchasing process your customer is. Take a look at the below How micro-moments are reshaping the travel customer journey representing possible stages and points of contacts.
Here are some ideas travel brands can use to connect to the customer at every stage.
- I-want-to-get-away moments – “dreaming moments”: Create content that is inspiring. Use video, images, and tips to suggest possible destinations and what each place has to offer. Start conversations and dream with the consumer to establish a relationship.
- Time-to-make-a-plan moments – “planning moments”: After consumers have chosen a destination, they need more details about dates, flights, places and other possible logistical details that can help them plan the perfect trip. Be their guide and give them valuable tips and advice that will help build trust.
- Let’s-book-it-moments – “booking moments”: Now that you already have a relationship, help your customers seal the deal by assisting with the booking process.
- Can’t-wait-to-explore moments – “experiencing moments”: Last but not least, help your travel customers expand on their ideas, connect to more people and share their experiences.
Travel brands should make sure they are creating user-friendly points of engagement across all devices and channels to guide and navigate consumers through this customer journey to their final destination. This should be implemented both online and offline. Offering valuable advise, reliable sources and key insights can differentiate your brand from the rest and help you cut through the clutter. Build meaningful relationships by focusing on tailored solutions, personalized information, authentic content and human connection that can help you seamlessly integrate your brand into the life of your consumer.
Your message matters
As modern consumers demand customization, they also expect uniquely crafted messages. With so many consumer touchpoints, it is important to stay up to speed with media preferences and habits when trying to connect. Travel brands now have the power to produce and distribute meaningful content that will add value and build trust by creating a community. It is by creating memorable brand messages that your brand can interact with curious consumers and ultimately convert them into repeat visitors.
Messages should be informative, inspirational and entertaining. Content should not be dull but should rather contribute to the “dream-and-discover” phase consumers go through when planning routes, searching accommodation and finding touristic activities to fill their itineraries. Use your brand voice to tell authentic stories people can relate to, and you can’t go wrong. If your brand does not have a strong compelling story, find someone who is inline with your values to represent you.
Influencer marketing or using brand advocates can help you create engaging content, increase brand reach and allow you to tap into a community of dedicated followers. Remember, we want to create deep relationships with people who believe in what we are selling. Brand messages and media platforms can be adjusted and improved based on data collected by feedback, face-to-face interactions, and increasingly advanced online analytics. Be flexible, start conversations, listen to your consumer and adapt your strategy accordingly. Remember, its all about being there and being useful.
Creating memorable experiences
Mass production and material goods are quickly being replaced with human connection and personal experience. As reflected in Mintel’s 2015 American Lifestyles report, up until 2020 we can expect a 22% increase on money spent on “non-essentials” goods, which includes more lifestyle related activities such as holidays, traveling and going on social outings. Furthermore, 60% of travellers claim that they value experiences higher than materialistic objects which is why they are so drawn to authentic experiences. This shift in spending habits and perceived values is also influencing how consumers behave and make their decisions.
Experiences cannot be bought, nor fabricated. In a world of uncertainty, consistency and authenticity matters. Consistency not only inspires trust but can contribute to a better online user experience for the consumer. Travel brands should actively participate in creating engaging experiences by offering consumer value beyond merely the traditional 4p’s of marketing. As explained by Expedia Media Solutions, the modern traveller will invest time in doing research and finding trustworthy brands by browsing on average 38 websites before making a final decision or purchase.
Make sure that contact points, especially in the digital world, are c0herent and carry the same brand message across all platforms to create a holistic experience. Keeping up with technological advancements like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, virtual tours, speech recognition, keyless room-access, and other innovations could also give travel brands some competitive edge.
Now it’s your turn!
Now that you understand the modern travel consumer better, it’s time to take your develop your marketing strategy. Join our community, connect to creative content creators and start telling your unique brand story. Keep following our blogs for more insight into the traveling world or get in touch to speak to one of our team members directly.