Help Consumers Research & Make Well Informed Choices
To help the make the customers’ booking journey easier, cottage owners and holiday operators can do a lot to help potential guests research their holidays dreams and make well informed decisions. This can done by ensuring their websites and marketing information provide the following:
‘Relevant and Compelling Content’
“People really value this, 80% of travellers said informative content from travel brands can influence their decision-making process.”
When faced with a long menu at a restaurant it is often very difficult to know what to choose, holiday makers are faced with a similar daunting challenge, where to start, what to look for? Holiday websites can help assist this indecisiveness by serving up relevant and compelling content to help the experience easier and more enjoyable. Many holiday websites do not provide enough useful information to engage potential customers, consequently the customer disappears to the next website which does. Make sure your website provides the information they are looking for, ideas and inspiration.
‘Mobile Friendly & Responsive Website?’
“70% of customers use their smartphones in the ‘planning’ stage, however, with 94% will switch between mobile and desktop as they transition between the ‘planning’ and ‘booking’ stages”
A typical holidaymaker will browse on average 38 websites before making a booking. Much of this research will be done on a mobile or tablet. However if a website is slow to load or does not provide good customer experience on their mobile they will swiftly move on and switch to another site. Therefore, to stand out in a very congested marketplace, holiday websites must provide and offer a mobile digital experience which is easy to navigate, loads quickly and engages. Many competitor websites are poor in this regard and it is a good way to stand out.
‘Inspiration via Social Media’
“89% of millennials say they plan their travel activities based on content posted by their peers.”
There has been a massive rise in social media where people are sharing their experiences and photos. This is now playing a hugely influential role as people are more subconsciously inspired by photos, videos and content posted online by their peers. This is making them more aware of what can be enjoyed and experienced and are keen and eager to find out for themselves. Instagram is very good visual example of this and has some wonderful evocative imagery which will inspire and encourage others to want to experience something similar.
‘A Showcase of Your Reviews’
“77% of travel customers reading reviews before booking”
Third party reviews are one of the best ways to provide new customers with confidence to book with you. They can be highly influential and are deemed as far more credible than direct marketing messages. Reviews give independent and unbiased information of other customers’ experiences helping new customers book with you instead of someone else. Do not be shy, ask your guests if they would review their holiday experience, a large percentage of guests when asked will happily review their experience. This will also give you very good feedback and offers an insight on what guests love most. Be proud of what you offer and showcase your customer reviews on your website and social media.
‘An Optimised Website, Ranked Well for Key Organic Searches’
“90% of people do all their holiday research online, whereas only 80% of people book online.”
Check out the most searched for terms on Google for your area and what you offer. List down those specific key words and phrases and create good informative content that includes these search terms and phrases.
These search categories could include:
- Best things to do in (destination)
- Best places to stay/go in (destination)
- Pet friendly holiday cottages in (location, region or town)
- Fishing holidays in (location)
- Hot Tub lodges in (destination)
By optimising your website for these search terms will help you appear within the local listings and Google searches for your region. You can significantly raise awareness of your business if your website and social media sites are seen to provide valuable content which matches customer queries for the key search engines. This is one of the best ways to ensure you stand out during the customers’ journey when booking a holiday cottage.
So, What Do You Need to Do Next?
Understanding the customer journey when booking a holiday can help you adjust your marketing to ensure your website content and messaging is working as well as it could be. Know who your customers are and likely to be. Know what they are searching for and ensure that all your marketing information and website offers valuable, appropriate and engaging content answers their questions.
This includes assessing your descriptive web content, property imagery, key search terms, customer reviews and social media. You can look at including additional useful information such as great things to do in the area’, local highlights, video and floor plans etc.
All of this can help you bring your holidays to life and encourage prospective guests to book with you.