The Importance of Great Travel User Experience .

the-importance-of-great-travel-user-experience

Creating a great user experience for consumers is an essential element of any travel brand’s website and is a fundamental feature of the overall customer journey. This experience is made up of three key areas: pre-travel, during-travel and post-travel. All of which will drive brand engagement and traffic to your website.

Pre-travel

This is a huge area to cover but we believe pre-travel should be broken down into two distinct stages: before purchase (also known as the researching stage) and post-booking but pre-departure. The researching stage is the most critical element of the customer’s journey; this is where they are still deciding on where they want to go which involves lots of shopping around and review reading etc..

For brands this is where you need to be found through good use of SEO and targeted campaigns. Not to forget when the user lands on your site they need to see beautiful, inspiring content that provides them with a seamless experience from start to finish. Sometimes this means changing the user's experience depending on which device they’re using.

For example we did his with Skiweekends, where we removed elements of the buyer's journey for users who were booking through a mobile device to de-complicate the experience, ensure the users view was uncluttered and saved them time - but essentially converted the booking.

During the second half of the pre-travel stage is the opportunity for brands to reach out to their now-customers with upgrade deals, add ons and recommendations of places they can visit as well as a holiday countdown; which is what we do with a number of the brands we work with. All of this adds to the experience fuelling their excitement and enticing them to share their impending holiday across their social media channels. This is where the brand has the opportunity to add value and justify their existence in the transaction.

During-travel

Often overlooked, the during-travel stage is where brands can make the biggest impression on their customers. Simply ‘being available’ is a huge comfort for travellers that makes them feel safe and well-informed on their holiday. One would consider this part of ‘the basics’ but is all too often poorly addressed. Brands can do this quite easily by sending customers a welcome text or email with contact information and maybe useful local forecasted weather predictions before they depart or when they arrive at their holiday or travel destination.

If customers have a problem whilst they’re away it’s reassuring for them and the brand that they are only a ‘click’ away. This also gives brands the opportunity to resolve any problems swiftly and potentially turn around the holiday experience -making the customer feel valued and hopefully avoid that dreaded negative TripAdvisor review.

Brands should also take advantage of their ‘on holiday’ euphoria and encourage sharing on social media by the use of brand specific hashtags. Equally brands should make use of this valuable user generated content with things like social walls where customers can share their photos and the brand can then interact with through likes and shares.

Post-travel

Post-travel invites a whole new wave of opportunities for brands with holiday makers looking back at their holiday and sharing ‘throw back’ and ‘holiday blues’ photos of their travels for months following their trip. They also use this time to tell everyone how amazing their break was and leave reviews for the places they visited.

This is the perfect time for a brand to follow up customers with an email about their experience asking them to leave feedback or complete a short survey about their stay. This helps brands to improve their services where necessary but also to respond to any negative feedback as well.

With brands having travellers details from previous bookings they can also use this information to retarget them in the future with stay again offers, upcoming events and other targeted offers to entice them to make a return booking.

As you can see from the content of this blog, a great travel user experience is not just one part of the process, but a seamless experience for the traveller pre, during and post travel. 

Thinking about refining your travel brands user experience? Speak to one of our team today to see how we could help you produce a website utilising the Sitecore platform with personalisation at the heart of the design: hello@sagittarius.agency01233 467800

This blog was originally posted on the Travel Technology Europe website on 16th January 2018.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Paul Stephen
Paul Stephen
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
With over 25 years in marketing, Paul is one of the UK's leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees the agency and often lectures and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects and has a particular interest and skills in the travel and tourism sectors.

Paul operates nationally and internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.
Paul Stephen

Paul Stephen

17 Jan 2018 - 5 minute read
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