Although the majority of top-end luxury travellers may make their bookings with an agent, it is their friends and family, search engine results, online videos and loyalty programs that inspire and influence their choices.
The results are just in from a report commissioned by Google to help them better understand the affluent US traveller and the role that online resources play in their choice of airline, cruise, lodging, car rental and holiday packages.
Trip Inspiration & Research
One of the most significant pieces of information revealed is that friends or family and the Internet are both equally influential as the number one source for inspiring a trip. Moreover, when it comes to planning and researching for a holiday, the premier sector turns to the...
Today, travellers are empowered by instant access to information, at any time and on any device be it computer, tablet or on a mobile phone, and while at work or waiting in line for a coffee. So it is easy to understand why over 78% of travel research is now done online.
And it is not just about research but inspiration; 29% of Facebook users claim they have been motivated to book a trip based on a posting they saw.
Internet travel booking revenue has grown by more than 73% over the past five years providing over 50% of a businesses' bookings. A company's online presence can make or break them. But you don't have to take our word for it, see the latest statics from June 2013 about online travel sales
Relationship advice in an online marketing article? Absolutely. Today, having a website, a brochure and working with your agents is no longer enough. You put time and effort into ensure the agents you work with are happy with your product and that you are romancing them but what about your online relationships?
Social media and review sites like Trip Advisor can make or break a business. An online distribution strategy based on paying commissions to Online Travel Agents (Expedia, Booking.com) is mono dimensional and eats away at margins. Having a Relationship Strategy can serve your agents, increase your online reputation to give potential guests assurance, build customer loyalty and thus increase bookings.
So I am not trying to teach your grandmother to...
Marketing is considered by many as a game of guessing, hoping, finger crossing and watching to see if there is a result, never really ever knowing what the return on investment truly is. The good news is, as the online pay per click model is being adopted by more and more channels, ROI for both intuitive and intentional marketing can well and truly finally be measured. Let's look at how to measure the returns and where the opportunities lie.
Search Engine Marketing or Price Per Click
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a very simple model where by you pay per click (PPC) for a set of keywords/search terms and the price per click is determined by how popular the search term is that you are targeting. A per day and per month budget can be set.
As a tourism operator, you may have been advised that in addition to giving the best possible service to your customers and ensuring that you love up your agents, you also need to ensure your online presence is attractive to both your clientele and Google. Just how important Google is to most businesses is interesting, a bit scary and is about to get even greater.
An accommodation provider has a long 'to-do' list to promote themselves online:
Get an attractive website that guests like and ensure it is properly built to please Google.
Add an online booking engine and integrated channel management to ensure that you are listed on major OTAs.
Spend time on your website each month to optimise it so Google ranks you well.