Mobile Influences Travel Decision Making in Can’t-Wait-to-Explore Moments

When you’re thinking about planning your trip, that moment when you feel giddy with joy that the itinerary is set is when things begin to take off. At this point, you can likely hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore or the snow just starting to fall onto the mountains. Vacation. Is. Near. Now, you can think about the various things you’ll see and do when you’re there.

These can’t-wait-to-explore moments occur when travelers start to look forward to their trip and increasingly when they’re finally at their destination. Some travel marketers believe secure bookings are the ultimate goal for meeting customers’ requirements. However, providing valuable information through these micro-moments can help establish your brand, generate word of mouth, and boost loyalty among travelers.

Most leisure travelers decide on their activities once they have arrived at their destination.

Nine out of 10 travelers want their travel agent to provide pertinent information while traveling. 1 And 67% of travelers say they feel more loyal to a business that offers information throughout their trip to enhance their experience on the road. 1

I-Want-to-Go Moments: From Search to Store

Smartphones are changing the travel industry trends by enabling travelers to be more spontaneous once they reach their destination. In reality, 85 percent of leisure travelers select things to do just after arriving at their location. 2

Snapshot of an actual traveler’s journey to make a decision

Internet interactions are increasingly influencing how people create plans for their next vacation. New clickstream data from Luth Research’s opt-in panel (illustrating the pages a user visited and in which order) provides a snapshot of what a real traveler’s can’t-wait-to-explore moments looked like. When we analyze this traveler’s search, clicks, site visits, and videos watched while she was preparing to and preparing for her travels, we can understand what digital media played a part in influencing her destination.

Meet Brooke. Brooke is a 35-year-old mother who recently traveled across Tennessee to her school of choice, located in Baton Rouge, with her family to run the Baton Rouge Marathon.

Look over Brooke’s travel moments in two weeks before her trip of three days:

Think using Google

Source: Google partnered with Luth to examine the digital activity of its opt-in panelists for month-long live-tracking research. This article provides cross-device data on clickstreams for one of the participants. Brooke uses a pseudonym. The participant consented that this research be published study for marketing purposes on the condition that they remain anonymous.And here’s an actual sample of one of Brooke’s research paths in a can’t-wait-to-explore moment that started with a search:

How travel marketers can win can’t-wait-to-explore moments

Be available for mobile travelers on their journey. Travelers increasingly rely on their smartphones to get orientation when they reach an unfamiliar location. Hotel searches using smartphones increased by approximately 30% past year. 3 Since smartphones are location-aware and can be used to locate users (including travelers) searching for “things to do near me.” For instance, the queries about “places to eat near me” have nearly tripled over the past calendar year. 4

Think using Google

Make information accessible across sites and apps. In can’t-wait-to-explore moments, travelers increasingly rely on mobile sites and apps. Most travelers say they use mobile websites less frequently than mobile apps when searching for information while traveling. 5 Only 23% of users claim to have downloaded an app for the travel companies they trust most. 6 Encourage your customers to download your app and offer them content within the application to help them make an impact on their travel experience.

Hilton is an excellent example of a brand in the hospitality industry that bridges the physical and digital world to guests using mobile. The brand aims to simplify travel for its customers before, throughout, and following each visit. This is the reason Hilton is now using markup for emails. It allows Google to detect when a customer has made a reservation through Hilton, and when the date of travel approaches, it displays the guest with a Today Card (essentially the equivalent of an alarm on their mobile) with details about the hotel and reservation notifications.

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