Next month I will be in Seattle for a wedding. My boyfriend and I have never been there, and we have the weekend to explore since the wedding is during the week. While we are there, we will be relying on our smartphones to show us where to go, what to eat, etc. The businesses our phones show us are going to be the top contenders competing for our business, and I can tell you right now that we will be more likely to visit those businesses over others that we might have to dig for simply because they are already there in front of us. Businesses in the area will want to take advantage of these intent rich micro-moments as we search for lunch spots and entertainment if they hope to gain our business. Mobile is without a doubt the direction in which many industries are moving towards. Travel and hospitality is no different.
People are planning their trips on their mobile devices.
Mobile searches in the travel category have increased by more than 50%, according to Google, and eMarketer estimates that 51.8% of travelers will book trips via a mobile device in 2016. These moments are happening during all stages of the buying process. Searchers are looking for where to go, where to stay, and what to do. This process continues up until the trip and even throughout the trip itself with searches like “BBQ restaurants in Louisville” or “What to do in Seattle” happening every day. Travel and hospitality brands that are not present during these moments are missing out. An integrated Online Marketing strategy utilizing Online Advertising, Local Search, SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing allows brands to attract, convert and close tourists in their area.
Not only are people planning, but they are buying on their phones.
Conversion rates for mobile travel sites have increased by 88% in the past couple of years. These conversions can range from bookings to dinner reservations to ticket purchases. How is your brand taking advantage of this trend? Is your website mobile-friendly? Can searchers easily complete a purchase or contact your brand? Is your advertising program mobile-focused? Are your online and offline marketing messages cohesive? These are important questions that need answers.
Creating a mobile strategy for your brand will be important.
The tough part is figuring out how to reach these potential customers. What blend of Online Marketing tactics will work best to reach your target audience at their specific point in the buying cycle? There are many platforms and options to help craft a strategy, which can be overwhelming for brands. Know your target audience and their behaviors. Is your goal to drive phone calls? Design your strategy around that. If your goal is to drive users directly to your storefront, there are strategies you can put in place for that as well.
While we have our hotel and travel arrangements settled for our trip to Seattle, we will be needing direction on fun things to do next month and the best places to eat. Who knows, maybe we will wake up that morning and want to skip the touristy area to find a relaxing day spa. Our smartphones will be able to point us in the right direction. Questions about how to take advantage of Online Marketing for your travel or hospitality brand? Recommendations on things to do, see, eat or avoid while I’m in Seattle? Let me know!