So far, technologies have not been used to great extent by the majority of tourism businesses around the world. Digital technology and tools such as social media, mobile and personalisation have not been used enough in travel especially to improve the overall tourism experience. Nonetheless, there are still major opportunities for tourism businesses that want to leverage digital in order to improve the overall experience consumers have in the destination. In the following 7 ways will be explained how travel brands can build customer loyalty (Wise Marketer 2013).
Customer experiences are at the core of tourism and tourism businesses need to consider how the experience can be enhanced with the help of technology at ever stage of travel, before, during and after a holiday. Through social media an additional stage was added, the Dream stage in which consumers are looking at images and other stimulating content on social media. Marketers need to figure out where travellers are in the travel process and what tools are used in that stage in order to optimise content and follow consumers across their consumer journey across the marketing funnel from being unaware all the way to booking and becoming an advocate.
Ancillary sales are playing an increasingly important role in tourism due to low margins and price pressure in the industry. Again, for tourism businesses aiming to increase their ancillary sales, it is most important to understand where in the consumer journey a consumer is most open towards ancillary sales. The tourism business can then target a consumer specifically by testing timing and ensuring a personal approach is taken, personalising ancillary offers.
Personalising experiences and understanding where consumers are in the travel process and journey is essential. The personalisation approach needs to respond to the way in which a consumer is actually researching and planning travel and content should be provided that is personalised and fitting to the consumer’s current stage in the travel process. Personalised experiences even after a trip can also boost loyalty and hence boost brand awareness if consumers are telling their friends and family about the brand.
Search experiences also need to be personalised through understanding the search behaviour. Search results need to cater to the search enquiry to avoid dissatisfaction.
RATINGS AND REVIEWS
Undoubtedly, ratings and reviews are essential in tourism and most tourism businesses are well aware of that. Trustworthy reviews and ratings are key, making it necessary to present independent reviews on the website of a tourism business. In each stage of the marketing funnel, reviews will affect the traveller’s decision. Therefore, businesses need to make sure that reviews are placed in the best way on the website.
Consumers are moving away from general reviews towards a more social experience seeking advice from friends and family in travel. Facebook is used for inspiration whereas Twitter is mainly used as customer support when issues need to be resolved. For tourism businesses it is essential to ensure a good response rate and time along with using social media to engage and identify loyal consumers and continuing the conversation with them online even after a holiday.
Mobile is also another great way for travel brands to trigger loyalty. Mobile devices are used at any time of the travel process, making it necessary for tourism businesses to understand what content is being viewed by consumers on their mobile devices and then respond with suitable, personalised content even on mobile. Improving the mobile experience is essential in order for consumers to return back to the website and for the tourism business to stay relevant with regards to content for mobile.
All individual areas of digital need to be optimised in delivering a great user experience to be relevant at different stages of the travel cycle in order for consumers to return and move through the marketing funnel. Businesses need to tap into the opportunities arising from the travel purchasing cycle to continue building customer loyalty.
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