Keeping Up With Travel Marketers in Changing Times
Travel is an industry that was once dominated by face-to-face and phone engagement. These days, travelers are increasingly focused on digital, not human, interaction. A successful travel marketing strategy requires understanding the rapidly-changing customer journey from destination inspiration and research to booking to post-stay social engagement.

It seems that each day there is something new in the world of social media and digital marketing. Agility is key to remaining competitive – so travel marketers must adapt their marketing and business strategies to emerging opportunities. From the growth of mobile and tablets as the primary interaction channels for consumers, to the challenge of booking funnel abandonment, digital analytics and optimization provide new opportunities for travel brands to engage customers and drive loyalty.

Driving Mobile Conversions

With 60 percent of customer digital engagement coming from mobile devices, and search engines rolling out a new ranking factor for mobile-friendly sites, it is essential that travel websites are optimized for mobile and that effective mobile apps are available for travelers. Given the nature of travel, companies need to consider a mobile-first approach to digital marketing. One of our clients and a leading hotel booking website based in the UK – Hotels4U – has gone down this path, with outstanding results.

Making booking hotels quick and easy is what Hotels4U is all about—and they wanted to capitalize on the increased use of smartphones. Webtrends helped the firm with mobile site optimization and increased mobile visitor conversions in the process. Hotels4U experienced a 61 percent increase in searches on mobile devices, with a 22 percent increase in visitors viewing hotel pages on the mobile channel. The site-wide A/B and multivariate testing program resulted in a more than 5 percent increase in total bookings.

Reducing Abandonment Rates

Once a traveler has done research on destinations and is ready to book, driving conversions is still challenging in a highly competitive marketplace. Booking abandonment in travel is estimated at more than 70 percent. By gathering in-the-moment, visitor-level customer data, it is possible to understand the current browsing activity of a customer, tailor and personalize their booking experience, and provide timely, relevant follow up in case of abandonment.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is an international airline serving 130 destinations worldwide. Working with Webtrends, the company was able to reduce abandonment and quadruple conversion rates with email remarketing. Read more about how KLM reached this eye-popping lift.

Measuring Business Performance

Customers’ digital behaviors are only a portion of the interactions captured in marketing data. One of the keys to successful marketing is to integrate analytics data into other parts of the business ecosystem including bid management, programmatic ad buying, machine learning and predictive analytics.  Webtrends open platform can feed these systems automatically with customers’ multi-channel digital behavior data for a highly centralized view of the business.

The world’s largest travel company for students and young people, STA Travel, works with Webtrends to optimize online campaigns and communications across multiple channels. Through our open, flexible data integrations, STA combines digital analytics with other business data to gain greater insight into overall business performance – and share it across the organization.

Turn Lookers into Bookers with Webtrends

For more than 20 years, Webtrends has helped companies make sense of their customer data to drive digital marketing success. We help travel marketers leverage visitor insights like never before to create personalized, contextual digital experiences in the moment, when it counts. From airlines to hospitality to travel planning firms, we’re helping leading global brands boost bookings, ancillary revenues and repeat business in multi-channel digital environments.

Tony Gray is the Senior Director of the North American Professional Services team at Webtrends. The former Director of Business Intelligence at Orbitz Worldwide, he brings extensive knowledge of digital marketing within the travel industry. He and his team help companies effectively leverage the use of data, personalization technologies and tracking platforms in an effort to profitably grow their digital brands.