We’ve all been there – searching through multiple travel websites to score the best-valued vacation out there. Travelers compare and contrast prices, check availability and timing, read reviews and ratings, and ask their family and friends for opinions and recommendations. According to the Atmosphere Research Group, a typical travel shopper will visit 22 websites “in multiple shopping sessions” before booking a trip.
Travel websites (if they haven’t already) should be taking note of this. They should strive to capture the attention of their website visitors right away and to guide them through the booking process. With real-time web personalization, they can - and it’s affordable and easy. Here are three personalization tips for travel websites that they should implement today, from the travelers’ POV:
1. Get to know me, your traveler
Dear Travel Website, go back to your roots when the travel agent would sit down and hear the wants of their travelers – destination, timing, and price. Your website should be doing the same. By collecting the data from my search and pages I’ve visited – you get to know where, when, and how much I want to spend for my vacation. It's time to use this valuable information to your advantage. Respond to my interests and show me relevant content that will help me with my buying decision.
With website personalization, travel websites can deliver relevant content to their visitors based on where they’ve clicked and who they are. With it, these websites can be structured around the behaviors of their visitors, helping to create a natural conversation between the traveler and website.
2. Help me, your traveler
Booking a trip is time consuming. There is nothing worse than searching for an all-inclusive trip to Mexico in May, and then being served irrelevant information about Mediterranean cruises in June. By now, you should be showing me relevant content including offers, packages, things to do there, and itineraries – for Mexico, in May. Websites that I visit should respond to my search and clicks in an effective way, reducing the amount it takes for me to find what I’m looking for and inching me closer to booking my trip.
If I’m searching around for Mexico and May and I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for – please feel free to help me out. Your website could and should be your best customer service representative.
Travel websites now can guide consumers with personalized messages based on various data rules including search terms, referring site, geographic location, and visit, and visit frequency, to assist travelers in buying their trips. It’s time they put this info to use.
3. Remember me, your traveler
Just like in the good old days, if I had a great experience with my travel agent, I would use them again, and again in the future. You want that to be the case with your travel website, don’t you? If you created an awesome online booking experience for me – I would come back to you. But this friendship needs to be reciprocated. I will expect for you to know who I am, where I’ve been, and what my preferences are. Over time, our friendship will get stronger. You will get to know the places that I’m interested in traveling to as I give you more information about myself, and you will provide me the relevant information that I need to help make my decision.
There are so many travel websites out there and that are competing for business. So it’s hard to believe that most of these websites are still showing static content. There is a great opportunity for travel sites to engage their visitors right away, and create a relevant and personalized experience for their consumers. If it’s done tastefully, travel websites will turn more browsers into buyers - faster.