By Matt Pollock, senior business development manager for Qubit’s Travel Team
The buying of a holiday represents one of the most complex customer journeys in ecommerce.
Users take an average of 13.2 days to complete – double the time compared to retail products and visit an average of 22 different websites before converting.
It is therefore crucial that any ecommerce team responsible for a travel website understands the powerful brand equity that can be built, as well as the increase in conversions driven, by segmenting visitors and providing a personalised customer experience.
In addition, with Christmas and the New Year being the prime time for holiday bookings, it’s vital that travel brands plan and implement their personalisation strategies now so that they are working at optimum level as peak trading comes round. Here are five top personalisations that we recommend for travel websites:
1. City-level targeting
The layout and design of a home page is vital for capturing people’s attention when they first visit a website.
The danger is that home pages often become cluttered as a result of different teams within the company wanting to push their promotions and information up front. To tackle this, hyperlocal targeting can be implemented to drive content specific to a visitor’s location.
For example, highlight flash sales or last minute deals from a user’s local airport such as Manchester. This provides visitors with a personal experience without disrupting the user journey for someone browsing from elsewhere such as London.
2. Weather targeting
People dream of exotic destinations when the weather is at its worst so personalise landing pages to show visitors your best travel offers to sunnier climates. This requires using a combination of weather and hyperlocal targeting to trigger personalisations based on current and future forecasts.
For example, if it’s raining at the weekend, target visitors with deals for a sunny city break or when people are looking to book a ski holiday tell people which resorts will have the best snow.
3. Content engagement
Great content such as destination guides and advice on places to go are often buried on travel websites due to their low traffic.
However, because the purchase cycle for a holiday is longer, this inspirational content captures the imagination of early stage visitor segments and can help them finalise their upcoming trip.
Drive this content by creating a destination blog on the home page, populated from people’s recent searches. Sharing content relevant to people’s early stage research will encourage indecisive visitors along their path to purchase.
We know customers have long purchase cycles so travel websites should capitalize on this by personalizing third, fourth, or fifth visits with previous searches, saved products, and contact information.
The website that facilitates the visitor into coming back after so many searches will win. Your visitor looked at the same villa in Thailand in their last two sessions on your website, so let’s assume they’re pretty interested.
When they come back five days later, instead of the usual generic homepage banner, we can replace the information with an image of their villa and a direct link to book it. You could even include urgency messaging to give them that final push.
5. Urgency messaging
Talking of urgency messaging, this is a powerful tool enabling travel websites to communicate to visitors when flights and deals are running low. On search pages with numerous products listed, use dynamic variables to place an updating stock level into the product listing.
This acts as both urgency messaging, highlighting to the user that they have to make a decision quickly, and as a means of reassuring the user by informing them of how many other people use your website.
Adopting these types of personalisation strategies for specific visitor segments will help create unique online experiences to set your website apart from the rest.
I’d love to hear from you with any thoughts on this topic and particularly if you are already using some of these methods to engage and convert your customers. Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about website personalisation take a look at Qubit’s latest ebook: The top 10 ways to personalize for travel websites
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