The expansion of online services is continually transforming the travel industry. Online booking services started taking over the industry in 1995 when the Internet Travel Network (ITN) oversaw the first airline ticket booking over the World Wide Web. Since then, Microsoft released Expedia, TripAdvisor, Kayak, Priceline, Airbnb, and hundreds of other sites have made travel a lot easier for consumers. Unfortunately, travel advisors have had to keep up.
Consumers are now demanding more of their travel advisors than ever before. If your travel business hopes to offer exclusive services to their clients, they must stay ahead of the game. One way you can do this is by understanding your traveler.
The best way to know what your client needs before they ask is by looking at what they are searching online.
The Traveler’s Search History
If there is one thing the Internet does well, it is knowing how to use all the information gathered through their site into their next business venture. After years of slowly working their way into the travel industry, user-oriented services are no taking over the entire travel booking game. Rather than shaking your head at the takeover, you can use these services as a great reflection tool.
For example, travel service providers are expanding its travel offerings that now include hotel booking services, flight ticketing, and an entire trip planning feature. Ask yourself, if your client can get all of this online, how are you going to take the next step. What can you offer that the Internet can’t. How can you work with your clients to personalize their trip in a way that no computerized site can?
Along with the Internet’s recent moves, make sure you stay ahead of your other competition, as well. Rework your business to include specialties that your competitors lack. You should also make sure that you are offering all the basic services of your competitors, as well as developing other exclusive processes. Continually push yourself to do better, and you will see the clients naturally start rolling in.
The Traveler’s Trend Process
While many travel advisors aren’t sure what to think of big businesses moving in on the industry, it has dramatically helped in chronicling consumer behavior. Just as search engines use consumer behavior to develop new products, you can use these moments to shape your business strategy.
For example, 94% of leisure travelers switch between devices as they plan or book a trip. Knowing this statistic, you are better equipped to market towards your ideal client. Since they use multiple methods, your site should be compatible with all devices. You should also be available on a multitude of platforms (social media, website, travel sites, etc.).
If you are taking your travel advisory business to the next level, you can also consider running online advertisements. According to statistics, when it comes to travelers looking to book a hotel, nearly half of Google Hotel Ads referrals come from smartphones, and the number is growing by almost 2.4X year on year.
By conducting researching and surrounding yourself with travel experts, you can better understand the upcoming movements and trends of the industry. You can then use this knowledge to better your business and your client’s travel plans.
The Traveler’s Booking Process
Getting involved in the online travel community can pay off dividends for your business. Not only can you get advice on how to better serve your travelers, but you can better understand how a user flows down the booking stream.
For example, clickstream data from Luth Research’s opt-in panel featured on Think with Google provides an inside look at how a real traveler goes from search to booking travel in real-time. The information includes the traveler’s searches, clicks, website visits, and views, showing what played a role in influencing their decisions.
Here is a quick look at the data:
By analyzing this information, you can better understand what content influenced his choices and how you can implement yourself into the process. Not only does this data provide the opportunity to peek inside the real-life traveler’s booking process, but it also gives you the chance to use it for improvement.
Get the most out of this type of research by going in-depth. How can you improve this process? What would you do differently? How can you cater to this type of client? Asking these questions will help you modify your process to fit the upcoming generation better.
The Traveler and You
You know your business. You’re the expert. But the industry is continuously changing. Travelers are looking for a personalized travel experience. Give them a reason to trust you to take them there. For additional help expanding your business, Andavo Travel is here to help. Our team of experts works with you to discover the latest industry trends and stay ahead of the game.