Work in the seasonal industry, such as a travel agency or hotel business, is, to put it mildly, difficult and at the same time interesting. You either meet a large number of people who book vacations on your travel site, or practically no one else, forcing yourself to constantly revise the costs of marketing activities. The good news is that the situation does not have to take it that way. Now I will explain to you how you can increase the number of bookings throughout the year using marketing automation.
Why use marketing automation
We are all just humans. We can not be in the office 24/7. We have a hobby, friends, family. You can believe it or not, but sometimes we even need a little rest.Increasing the staff to transfer their responsibilities is not a rational decision, since a simple application can perform these tasks. Especially if the application costs only a tenth of what you would pay to a new employee.
Marketing automation, as the term implies, means more efficient execution of tasks by automating repetitive marketing activities. Which ones? I will tell about it further.
Is it worth it to think seriously? Messages created using marketing automation have a high level of deliverability and even higher involvement than email. And according to our latest research, email marketing is considered one of the most effective marketing channels.
Of course, channels cannot exist separately. You need to synchronize and use them in your work. And now consider the benefits of using email marketing and automation, which are companies from the hospitality industry, recreation and travel, and the possibility of increasing the number of bookings on the site throughout the year .
10 steps to increase the number of bookings on the tourist site
Welcome new subscribers and track their behavior
If you offer services in the field of organization of tourist trips or hotel business, you most likely already collect subscriber base .
And if you are collecting a subscriber base, you may be using an online subscription form, which the user must fill out with their contact details, such as their email address, name, and possibly the city. This is only basic data.
After subscribing to your newsletter, subscribers should receive a well -letter or even a well-chain. Why? First of all, you express gratitude for your confidence and for providing personal information. Secondly, you will lay the foundation for your relationship and explain which categories on your site are the most important, where users can make a reservation or find answers to frequently asked questions.
Your welcome letters can also include your best deals in various categories — short weekend trips, hot deals, vacation rentals, etc. Messages should be short, attractive and encouraging to action, so that your subscribers click on the link and go to your website.
The main purpose of a welcome letter is to welcome your new subscribers and, for example, motivate them to visit your travel site, with whom they should “make friends”. This is also the initial stage of tracking and gathering information about their preferences. You will use this information in the future to provide relevant offers.
Segmentation of subscribers based on the purpose of their stay
The next step you should take is a note about the purpose of your subscribers.Why did they choose this particular direction and precisely this time? Is this trip a business trip or is it a short family vacation outside the city? Or maybe it’s relaxing with friends during the weekend?
The reasons may be different, but in order for your statement to be effective, you must address what is really important for your subscribers. Make sure that you have noted all these differences and, accordingly, prepared your campaigns, i.e. adapted graphic elements, texts, time of your messages and paid advertising, and you, with confidence, will receive a maximum for the invested money .
Segment customers based on their past preferences.
If you want to conduct effective communication, then you just need to pay attention to what customers have chosen in the past.
This may be, for example, the type of number. Was it a premium penthouse, or a budget option, or a room overlooking the pool? Do not limit yourself to this information. Did the client ask for a smoking room or with an additional breakfast, did he use the spa with the relaxation room?
Or think of the hotel as such. How is this hotel different from others? Perhaps he is near the expressway? Or vice versa – is located in a secluded place in the heart of the national park, surrounded by trees and beautiful landscapes.
This type of information will help you create a more complete customer profile.Apply tags to the clients in the system, taking into account the choice they made in the past, and plan the corresponding offer the next time subscribers follow to plan a vacation in the country.
Impact on subscribers at the most appropriate time
I am sure that when you make a more detailed analysis of subscribers, you will notice new nuances that will help you produce a segmentation. One example that I have not yet considered is the preferred time of the year , convenient for your clients to travel.
Some of them love to travel in the winter – skiing, snowboarding, or sunbathing, comfortably sitting on a deck chair next to the descent. Others prefer summertime – relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean or walking around ancient Rome in the rays of the hot sun.
These preferences should help you personalize the communication and poison the offers at the most optimal time of the year. Consideration should be given not only at what time customers travel, but also when they make a preliminary decision about travel. They may need to inform their management in advance before planning a vacation. Or do they work in an industry that makes it possible to rest exactly in a particular month?
Collect this information, use tags for customers and plan your advertising campaigns in advance. Display photos related to the type of travel that may be of interest to customers, send mailings related to these places and successfully convert customers.
Return customers when they show interest.
An abandoned shopping cart is a challenge that many online retailers face. With the highest probability, your travel agency website has already encountered when, after viewing and comparing offers, customers decide to leave the site. They may wish to discuss the decision with a partner or call friends to find out about their plans. Regardless of the reason, you should try to get them back to your site .
You must make an effort to return customers who have already met your site and may have already booked a trip in the past. To do this, you must have knowledge of remarketing, email marketing, SMS mailings, or paid advertisements.
Send automatic messages and check if they left the site without completing reservations. In some cases, you must poison more than one message about an abandoned basket in order to get the best results. In other cases, it is enough to poison only one email.
In the case of showing retargeted ads, you should test what works more efficiently.You can, for example, advertise to your visitors for 2-3 days, then pause for 2 weeks. After that, resume advertising, but only 1 time, and only to those customers who go on a trip after a while. Thus, you will spend a small amount on attracting the lead, and then use a second chance to convert visitors just at the moment when the client shows maximum interest.
Consider the direction
Answer one question. How often do you travel? If this is a business trip, then, most likely, you travel even several times a month. If it is a holiday, then perhaps you travel several times a year for only a few days and once you make a longer journey.
And now – does it mean that the second group should not receive your messages during the whole year, but should receive letters only before the start of the selected season? I will answer for you: “Of course not.”
The fact that your customers will not travel for almost the entire year does not mean that they will not be interested in a country trip. Offer them a direction that is just a few hours away or a short plane trip that will encourage them to plan a short, spontaneous and exciting trip!
Therefore, you should always take into account the directions chosen by your customers. Thus, your offer will be appropriate and you will be able to help them plan their trip, so that they can take a break from office occasionally. Some even claim that planning is the most attractive stage of travel, so why not get this pleasure several times a year ?
People love it when they are treated like VIPs. They want to be appreciated by other people, as well as the brands they encounter. Therefore, if you really want to engage your audience, you need to show that you care about your customers .
Analyze how often your returning customers book services on your site. Perhaps there will be someone who has not yet had time to arrange even the first order.However, there will be such customers who are constantly returning, i.e. so-called loyal customers. However, how long will they be loyal? It all depends on you.
Even if you do not plan to return customers, they will be very pleased if you show that you reward their loyalty. Offer your loyal customers something special , accumulative points, which they can replace with discounts, free room upgrades or other attractive offers that no one has yet offered. Thanks to this, your customers will be happy and will return . Who knows, maybe they will recommend your services to other users, because a happy customer is the best form of advertising.
Ask for feedback and remind users of great memories.
Another way to engage customers is to write a review about their travels to share their impressions with other people who are planning to book the same place. This approach has a number of advantages , which I will discuss below.
First of all, you will have another opportunity to establish contact with the client . If they are satisfied, customers will leave feedback that can convince others to place an order. At the same time, customers will return to pleasant memories, and perhaps this will be an inspiration for another booking.
On the other hand, if customers are not satisfied, you will have the opportunity to change their experience and bring them back. Offer them something unusual, respond to their objections and turn them into a success story. Other customers who notice this will treat you like a brand you should trust .
To do this in practice, you need to create a simple automatic mailing process asking for feedback. If clients tell about their experience – well, thank them and, perhaps, offer some reward. If customers show no interest, try sending one or two messages a week and two weeks later. Do not fall asleep with their messages, but be sure that they know how long they can leave a review and how much compensation they will receive for this.
Receiving feedback has another advantage. You can use the testimonials of your customers and remind them in the future how well they had the time. After 6-9 months from the date of their last vacation, you can remind them of this. You may even be able to indicate the number of customers who have enjoyed staying at the same place, and thank them for their valuable feedback. This way, they will know that it is worthwhile to leave feedback and that they are part of the community.
Send automatic trip reminders
People usually worry before the trip. They are worried about whether they have forgotten about something, whether everything will be in order with the reservation, on which they spent precious time and energy. If you want to surprise your customers, you can take this into account and assure that everything is planned perfectly.
In order to do this, you must prepare clients for the upcoming trip. Poison them with automatic reminders – time of poisoning, an indication of how to get from the airport to the city center, and an overview of their booking. You can also poison something extra, for example, a handy guide on how to spend time in the city, or a list of events which are scheduled at this time. Believe me – they will appreciate it !
Also, please remember that your customers travel. Regardless of whether they spend time in the country or abroad, they may not have access to their computers and customers will use mobile phones. Make sure your posts and website are responsive . Thus, customers will have access to important information at any time.If you have your own application, which they can use to quickly verify information, make sure that the customers have downloaded this application before traveling.
Use content marketing
The market for travel or hotel business is very competitive. It is not enough to offer customers the lowest prices.
First of all, customers should find your travel site online. This means you have to invest in SEO and paid campaigns. If you are going to focus on promotion, you will most likely need to turn to content marketing. This also has its rationale.
Content marketing will help you not only improve the visibility of the site, as unique content is highly ranked, but also helps to convert users who come to your site from organic. A blog containing travel tips and articles, discussion of places of interest, beautiful inspirational photos and other elements are more effective than the standard discount offer.
In addition to the blog, you can think about videos or podcasts, both as guest speaker and author, if you have enough time to implement this project. If not, perhaps consider giving financial support to a source whose audience is inveterate travelers. Thus, you will introduce your brand immediately to your target audience.
If you are already doing this, do not forget about the other marketing knowledge you have gained. If you are blogging or podcasting, then build a customer base.Send them automatic RSS emails about new fragments and invite them to join the discussion or share photos. If you manage to create a community, you will notice that the price is not the main reason why customers book on your page. The reason for this behavior is to gain experience in general.
Share your experience
When you master these 10 steps, you will receive more reservations on your travel site throughout the year . Time to think – see what results you have achieved in the past, and whether you can implement these actions as part of your strategy.
If you have already achieved success by introducing any element, share your experience with us and our readers, leaving a comment below. If not, and want to know more about any step, just ask – we are here to help you.
Have a nice trip!