Researching through our smartphones for any kind of information is a daily activity, right? For travelers, it’s no different. Whether they're browsing online for information about a destination or booking the right accommodations, flights, activities, or tours on an app, the smartphone has become an essential element of vacation planning.
As we know, the travel industry was one of the most affected due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it's backing its return. For example, a survey by Business of Apps showed that in 2019 online travel bookings peaked at $755 billion; the following year declined by 46% - because of the pandemic, but in 2021 travel bookings achieved $613 billion. This information shows that the industry is rising again.
Not only are customers researching on mobile, but also booking. The 2022 Travel eCommerce Stats & Trends Report by SaleCycle showed that online travel sales peaked in 2021 and although mobile still remains behind desktop, the same report showed that mobile sales in 2019 accounted for 31%; jumping to 44% in 2021 which shows us the relevance that this channel is gaining over the years.
In this article, we will share some key points to consider when creating your mobile booking strategy and tips on making the most of them.
Tours and travels companies should keep an eye on mobile booking trends
As we mentioned, the number of mobile booking is increasing in the travel industry. So that your business is prepared, keeping an eye on new trends can help you go through your customer’s journey smoothly and have revenue growth.
If the customers are changing how they shop, you need to change how you sell. After all, delivering a stress-free booking process is one of the main goals for tour and activity providers.
In addition to booking on their smartphones, travelers keep using them in-destination, which increases the importance of having an effective mobile experience. Using their mobile while on their vacation means researching places to stay, eat, and things to do. For more information, check out Mobile optimization: A tool to increase in-destination bookings.
Why you should create a mobile strategy for your business
To gain customers' loyalty and reduce abandonment rate, there's the need to focus on the customer experience. Customers are more loyal to a tour business that personalizes their experiences online and offline. This includes providing a well-designed online booking process and a wide range of payment methods so that they can purchase their tour or activity when they want, from the device of their choice.
Besides expecting immediate action, travelers might also book impulsively. The expectations for "right now" are on the rise; we want things to be fast, accurate, and with the right amount of information. For example, an insight by Booking.com that captured last-minute travel intent showed that searches with the terms "tonight" and "today" grew 150% on mobile in the course of two years.
To deliver this agility, create authority and loyalty, increase direct bookings and create a relationship with your customer, your company needs to keep up with mobile booking strategies.
Trends in mobile booking
To help you build a great strategy, here are some key points and trends for creating a mobile booking plan:
1. Trends for your website
When communicating with the customer via the website, here are a few things to watch:
- Measure: Use Google Analytics and other platforms to understand your customers' behavior. Besides, measuring the impact of smartphones can help you adapt your marketing strategies. You can measure mobile contribution to online sales, establish goals in Google Analytics to track conversions, and analyze where users drop off the mobile path.
- Watch your site speed: According to Google Data, 53% of visits leave a page on their mobile if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So to provide a great experience and help customers book on mobile, ensure that your site is loading fast. You can check if your web page is mobile-friendly using an online test such as this Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.
- Add a "book now" button: Providing well-designed buttons or call to actions on your website helps your customers purchase what they are looking for with ease, ultimately generating more direct bookings.
- Ask only for essential information from customers: The purchase process needs to be easy and fast, you don't want a customer using their time giving several irrelevant information and giving up halfway through the purchase.
2. Working with mobile payments
To improve your online sales, your business must take payment in a safe way. The advantages of having an integrated booking widget such as TrekkSoft are many. Digital payment offers travelers a safer and better experience for both travelers and companies since customers have less work to complete payments and companies have control and data of the purchase.
Some advantages of mobile payment (we are using TrekkSoft as an example here):
- Accept Apple Pay and Google Pay: Adding their payment information is time-consuming and leads to time to give up the purchase - remember, studies show that travelers are searching for immediacy. According to the Boku report, the number of people using mobile eWallets for payment went from 900 million to 1.48 billion during the pandemic.
- No more paper tickets: Besides the work of having to find a place to print, many customers might lose or even forget to take their tickets to the tours. The Apple Wallet and Android Passbook are mobile applications where users can store their tickets. The mobile ticket contains relevant information, such as Activity Name, Trip Date & Time, Booking ID, Ticket Barcode, and more. If you want to know more about it, read our blog article on mobile tickets and why you should consider add them to your business processes.
- Track availability in real-time so your business can accept last-minute bookings.
- Payment gateway such as TrekkPay allows tour and activity companies to accept payments in over 35 currencies and issue refunds online. This service eliminates the inconvenience of searching for and setting up a compatible 3rd party solution to accept online payments.
Provide support throughout all the traveler's journeys.
Mobile is an excellent way for brands to connect and interact with their audience.
If you are offering mobile booking, you need to be able to reach the customer on their mobile in all stages. Ensure you provide information about your company and services through your website and social media and send their tickets online after purchasing.
You can also provide further information through email, notify in advance in case there are changes on the itinerary, and encourage customers to give reviews and follow you on social media after the tour.
4. Chatbot and customer support.
As we said, customers want things fast, and it's the same with their doubts and comments. A chatbot that interacts with your customers through different apps and tools helps your business provide effective and agile customer service. In case getting a chatbot is not an immediate plan, you can take advantage of social media and emails, just remember to keep response time short and provide quality support.
The response time is the average time it takes for your business to answer customers, and the main goal is to keep your customer's wait short:
- Define real goals of average response time - for example, set response times of less than 5 hours during your business hours by using response templates for the most common requests. They can help you save time and build brand voice;
- Let's say you provide outdoor tours and there are always clients asking about how the tour works when it rains, you can create a FAQ page on your website or add the information highlighted on Instagram. Anticipate their doubts then answer them on your channels. The goal is to give your customers the opportunity to find the solution on their own.
- Work with automated responses, where you assure your customer that you received their message and let them know you'll reach back.
5. Google My Business listing needs to be updated.
A few things that you need to add to your Google Business listing to increase lead generating are:
- Register your address. Simple and effective, adding your address helps travelers to find you on Google Maps.
- Add your contact information. Now that your customers know where to find you, they need to know your opening hours. Don't forget to include your opening hours during public holidays. Also, share your website link, phone number, and email address.
- Share appealing images. Better than telling them about your incredible tours and activities is to show them. Remember to add a compelling description sharing more information about your business.
- After the tour or activity, ask your customers to rate your business. Ask for reviews. Customers read reviews before making a purchase, and just the presence of reviews can influence their buying decisions.
And don't forget about the OTAs. Ensure your information is updated in all the channels your business has a profile.
If you haven't started optimizing your website to streamline the mobile booking experience yet, now is the time to start!The benefits are clear and the best practices we’ve outlined will help get you on your way. Already using mobile bookings? Keep up the good work! We hope our tips have given you some new ideas for how to increase your direct booking percentage.
Want more information or assistance implementing any of these ideas?
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