Webtrends Recommends Best Practices to Help Travel Sites Increase Bookings

insights_phocuswrightPORTLAND, OR–Marketwired – Aug 26, 2014

PhoCusWright survey highlights the online research and booking tendencies of travelers:

  • Consumers use an average of 6.5 sites and devices to research before booking travel
  • 41 percent of travelers research travel using mobile devices smartphone or tablet
  • 55 percent of travelers prefer to book using a desktop or laptop even if they research using mobile

Given the number of steps involved in today’s average travel purchase, online booking sites are faced with serious challenges when it comes to understanding customers. In a recent travel survey sponsored by Webtrends and conducted by PhoCusWright, travelers who have taken at least one leisure trip within the past year involving a hotel or airline purchase were asked to identify the number of touch points that led to their purchase. Touch points are defined as both sites visited and devices used during the booking process. Survey findings include:

Travelers search multiple web sources when preparing to book trips, and the preference is overwhelmingly in favor of using desktops — 79 percent of travelers use online travel agencies/apps for research compared to 14 percent who use smartphones and 11 percent who use tablets.

Frequent travelers 6+ trips/year, big spenders spend $6000/annually on travel, early tech adopters and mobile travel shoppers use more touch points than the mean, indicating that these travelers do more research than average before booking.

Consumers aged 25-34 represent the most mobile-heavy shoppers, making up 38 percent of the total users who book through mobile. As consumers age, the number of touch points used to book travel decreases, identifying a key opportunity for sites to capture market share within that age demographic.

Top reasons travelers give for not booking via mobile devices are that they prefer to book via desktop/laptop 55 percent, the mobile screen is too small 31 percent, not ready to book when shopping on a mobile device 30 percent, and they are not comfortable booking via a mobile device 26 percent.

Travel booking sites have an opportunity to increase conversions and customer loyalty by providing a personalized, easy-to-use experience for customers who are using multiple devices. The following are five digital best practices suggested by Webtrends to help travel booking sites better understand their consumers and better focus their marketing spend:

1. Discover what matters to each individual traveler. In order to deliver relevant and personalized experiences to visitors, travel sites must take a sophisticated approach to the digital booking process by knowing each visitor on an individual basis. This allows brands to create the most relevant user experiences. By leveraging visitor-level measurement and optimization tools, brands can personally assist each traveler with his or her search and avoid the risk of that visitor booking elsewhere.

2. Understand travelers across their entire journey and on all devices. While you can’t control how consumers interact with your site, you can learn from that interaction — and learn to read between the channels. It’s not just about what a consumer did on a website or a mobile device, it’s about the journey and interaction between devices. For example, research may be done on a smartphone, but the user may ultimately book using a tablet. By painting a cumulative picture of consumers that includes both action and intent, brands can understand cross-channel flows and make informed decisions on where to invest both effort and spend.

3. Test everything across all channels. Whether it is flight/hotel booked or Average Order Value, metrics are essential to the travel industry. Constantly testing and measuring results allows brands to improve the booking experience and drive up KPIs — ensuring brands get the most yield for every dollar spent on marketing optimization programs. Evaluate your campaigns constantly and make adjustments regularly to see which messages result in the greatest return. Brands should continue to evolve the booking process because there isn’t a one-time fix. Channels should evolve depending on season, visitor demographics, travel pricing and other criteria.

4. Take immediate action. Every traveler has a purpose when visiting a site and historical data only tells part of that story. Real-time data is the clearest indicator of current intent, and using those in-the-moment insights to see what travelers are searching for and clicking on is the best way for brands to provide a relevant experience while the traveler is still engaged, regardless of channel or device. By reaching out to a visitor while that person is still thinking about the purchase, whether it’s through a pop up ad, an email immediately after he’s left the site or an offer for a lower fare, conversion becomes increasingly more likely. 5. Leverage technology that plays well with others. . Booking sites must have the flexibility to change and adapt in order to improve experiences for travelers across digital channels. When selecting tools, make sure you are leveraging technologies that are compatible and open. Otherwise, you may be forced to make compromises in your strategy in order to conform to a closed system.

via Webtrends Recommends Best Practices to Help Travel Sites Increase Bookings.

Mobile travel marketing deep dive – devices, campaign strategy, spend and more

Mobile travel marketing deep dive – devices, campaign strategy, spend and more

Airlines and booking websites are the two segments investing most heavily in mobile advertising while the drive to increase site/mobile traffic is almost double in travel compared to other industries.

Research from Millennial Media, a mobile advertising specialist, and comScore, analyzes travel-related activities by thousands of users to understand travel brands’ advertising spend activity on mobile, their requirements and strategy to reach target customers.

Mobile currently accounts for 12% of total digital advertising spend in the travel vertical and is increasing, according to eMarketer.

Key takeaways from the study are:

Mobile travel audience – demographic, income

The majority of mobile travel consumers are male and aged between 25-44 while the number of travel consumers in the 25-34 age range is double, in percentage terms, of the total mobile audience in the same age range.

Here, ‘travel audience’ is defined as consumers who frequently engage with travel content and advertisements via mobile devices.

More than 90% of this mobile travel audience owns a smartphone (compared to 65% overall), while 51% owns a tablet (compared to 33% overall).

This device ownership also correlates with the average household income, as 61% of the mobile travel audience earns more than $60,000 a year, compared to 58% of the total mobile audience.

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Mobile travel cross-screen usage

Travel consumers are spending more of their time across multiple devices to engage in mobile activities.

The preference to use PC for travel-related activities increases with age although the 55+ years group are the highest smartphone and tablet users.

Interestingly, 18-24 year-olds spend the least amount of time in travel content but still make up one of the highest percentages of time spent when compared to other age groups.

On average, travel content is consumed on mobile devices for about 32-33% of the time.

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Mobile travel usage – by location

When it comes to the location where the mobile travel audience performs travel-related activities on mobile, ‘home’ leads the chart by a huge margin – 61% of mobile and 70% of the tablet audience research or book travel when at home.

In addition, 33% of mobile and 22% of tablet audience research or book travel while they are travelling.

It’s interesting to observe that, except at home, the usage of mobile phones is higher in all other locations – at work, at a hotel, at the airport, in the destination city, etc. Tablet usage is high only when the consumers are at home.

Apart from the audience using their mobile devices for research activities such as discovering new destinations or looking up flight and hotel options, they also use their devices while traveling for directions, recommendations and information in a new or unfamiliar location.

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Mobile travel research – by device

When it comes to travel research, the hospitality segment leads others as the top activity performed by 83% of mobile (and 74% of tablet) users. The other popular travel research segments are flights and car rental.

When compared to the research performed on a train, bus, cruise and package deals, research on hotels is about four times greater.

It should also be noted that smartphones overtake tablets in all segments of research although the percentage difference between the devices is minimal.

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Mobile travel purchase – by device

When it comes to making travel purchases, two-thirds use mobile devices to make hotel reservations, while making flight reservations is the second most common activity on either device, done by nearly half of travellers.

Looking at the chart above in conjuction with the chart below we gain deeper insight:

  • 82% of travelers research hotels on their mobile devices, while 67% purchase hotels on them (in case of tablets, its 74% research vs 64% purchase)
  • 67% of travelers research flights on their mobile devices, while 49% purchase flights on mobile.

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Flight and hotel activities performed on smartphones

Hotel and flight emerge as the two most popular travel activities on mobile.

For flights, the top activities the mobile travel audience performs include – checking fare, checking status/schedule, check-in and getting alerts.

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For hotels, checking price and availability are the top activities carried out on mobile. Other popular activities include looking up an address/direction, reading reviews and retrieving confirmation number.

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via Mobile travel marketing deep dive – devices, campaign strategy, spend and more.

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MediaPost Publications Millennial Men Are Biggest Mobile Travel Users, Airlines Biggest Ad Spenders 04/30/2014

Millennial Men Are Biggest Mobile Travel Users, Airlines Biggest Ad Spenders

by Mark Walsh, Apr 30, 2014, 12:04 AM

LG Cookie Fresh GS290 Smartphone

LG Cookie Fresh GS290 Smartphone (Photo credit: digitpedia)

Mobile has always been seen as a natural fit with travel as a technology built for on-the-go communication. That has become even more true with smartphones serving as digital Swiss Army knives, used for everything from researching travel to getting directions or finding a nearby bank branch.

A new study by comScore on behalf of Millennial Media takes a closer look at the demographics and behavior of the audience for mobile travel content.  It also examines how travel advertisers approach mobile.

The mobile travel audience skews male (60%), with the majority in the 25-44 age range. The single biggest demo (35%) is those 25-34. More than nine in 10 (93%) own a smartphone, compared to 65% for the broader U.S. population. And half (51%) own a tablet versus 33% overall.

The study found the mobile travel audience is increasingly turning to mobile devices for booking travel in the last year. About two-thirds use smartphones and tablets to book hotel rooms, and half (49%) to make flight reservations. About a third reserved rental cars through their devices.

On the advertising side, eMarketer estimates mobile accounts for 12% of total digital advertising spend in the travel category — a bit lower than might be expected, given the use of mobile in the travel process. And travel ranks as the seventh-largest spending vertical on Millennial Media’s mobile ad network, behind others like entertainment, retail and telecom.

What parts of the travel industry spend most in mobile? Airlines account for 30%, followed by booking sites and apps (22%), tourism (14%), amusement parks (12%) and hotels (11%). The vast majority of ads (72%) ran on iOS devices versus 26% on Android. And 64% appeared on smartphones compared to 34% on tablets.

Among other findings from the study:

*Almost three-quarters (73%) of the mobile travel audience is comfortable using multiple devices at one time to research and book travel

*App downloads are the most common type of ad call-to-action

*Gaming, productivity, dating and shopping/retail apps showed the highest interaction for travel campaigns

via MediaPost Publications Millennial Men Are Biggest Mobile Travel Users, Airlines Biggest Ad Spenders 04/30/2014.

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