People spend more of their discretionary income on exploring the world than on home improvements, financial investments and even health-related products.
Consumers aren’t taking this investment lightly. Before committing to a holiday, travellers are spending a lot of time – on average 45 days – thoroughly researching different destinations across 38 different websites before booking.
So how can travel brands capture today’s demanding and meticulous consumer? By applying micro-moments to their travel copywriting.
Micro-moments happen when consumers turn to their device with a clear purpose; whether it’s to learn, do, discover, watch or buy something. They occur reflexively, like when you wonder, “What’s the weather like in Tenerife in September?” and then proceed to Google or search for the answer on your tablet, phone or laptop. That’s a micro-moment.
Micro-moments can shape consumer preferences, and expectations for conclusive answers or products are higher than ever. If your brand can provide the exact information someone is searching for, then you’re in a powerful position.
For travel, micro-moments should follow the decision-making stages of planning a trip, from the very start of the ‘dreaming’ process, past the booking stage and on to the actual holiday experience. For travel brands, being present and useful during these moments brings you to the forefront of a consumer’s decision.
Google has identified four major micro-moments for travel brands, laid out in this helpful infographic. They include: dreaming, planning, booking and experiencing.
Below, we define each micro-moment and how your travel brand can implement a strategy to reach your audience at each of these critical times.
Dreaming moments occur before any firm plans have been made. At this point, travellers are exploring ideas and destinations and, in general, want inspiring content that will help narrow choices.
How to entice the dreamers
Ensure your brand is showing up in searches for inspiration such as ‘world’s most beautiful beaches’ or ‘best island destinations in Europe’. Then, provide visual content like video and enticing images of the location and people laughing, smiling and generally enjoying their holidays to draw consumers in.
Being mobile-friendly at this stage is crucial, as nearly 60% of travel searches start on a mobile device. For instance, as consumers commute to work on the train, they may begin thinking about their next holiday and pull out their phones to conduct a quick search.
Once travellers have chosen a destination – in this example, we’ll use Tenerife – they enter the planning stage. Now, they want the best dates, flights, accommodation and activities for their stay.
How to get in on the planning action
The return-on-investment here is proven by the numbers – 67% of travellers are more likely to book if you give them relevant information about the destinations they want to visit.
Again, showing up in search results is key. Consumers are most likely to find a brand to book with during this stage, so optimising your pages for common search terms like ‘hotels in Tenerife,’ or ‘flights to Tenerife’ will draw them to your landing pages.
Now, travellers have found their destination and solidified the details behind it. They are ready to book tickets, reserve a room, and finalise itineraries.
Interestingly, 94% of leisure travellers don’t stick to just one device as they book, but switch between mobile, desktop and tablet.
How to bring in the bookings
Implementing an online booking system is a great start, as tour operators and activity providers generally get 30 to 40% more bookings after adding one to their sites. A great way to capitalise on these booking micro-moments is to reassure consumers trying to use this system to book on a mobile.
To do this, you must alleviate any concerns, ensuring they have all relevant information and guide them smoothly through the process. You can also eliminate any non-essential steps on mobile. Make booking simple and provide a no-penalty cancellation or best-price guarantee to pull in mobile consumers.
In general, removing any blockages in your booking process and reassuring the traveller that they have nothing to worry about are essential on any device during this decision-making stage.
Now that everything is sorted, experiencing moments come into play. The consumer has arrived in Tenerife and is ready to kick back and enjoy the holiday they dreamt about and to share it with others.
Travel brands should not consider their jobs finished once a booking is confirmed. This final stage of micro-moments focuses on the 85% of leisure travellers who decide on activities after arriving at their destination.
How to help a traveller’s experience
Mobile takes centre stage again, as travellers rely on it to discover the best activities in a new destination. Increasingly, local searches such as ‘things to do near me’ are conducted, so optimising your pages on location can get you noticed.
Provide resources and useful information on an area for first-time visitors. Visitors want the inside scoop on what’s available in their location, and if your brand can supply this information in these decision-making moments, they will trust and turn to you for future advice – which is the entire basis of TripAdvisor or Yelp.
You can’t capitalise on these micro-moments if you aren’t present for them. Identify the ones that fit your brand, then be there to help when they happen.
Besides just showing up, you also need to be relevant and useful to a traveller’s needs in that moment. Inspire them with content they want and answer their questions in a way that will make sense to them.
Changing your content strategy to fit these micro-moments will win the hearts and minds – and business – of the travellers you want to attract.