Brendan Jones is director of travel and leisure at Ve. He will be speaking at this week's World Travel Market (WTM) in the Travel Tech Theatre on Data-Led Insights To Increase Online Revenue Performance.
The path to purchase in travel is more complicated than in any other vertical.
With the expanding choice and flexibility available today, potential travellers are doing more research than ever in search of the right option for them.
Bookers usually check close to 40 different sites over a six-week period before choosing their perfect getaway. And this comparison shopping jumps back and forth between devices.
The omni-channel process makes tracking a user's journey quite difficult. But while this long-tail and complex multi-device process is standard for us in the travel industry, the majority of bookers — or "liquid consumers" as the IABs call them — still convert on desktop/laptop, not mobile.
So why don't bookers want to convert on mobile?
There are many reasons why bookers prefer desktop/laptop conversion to mobile. Part of it comes down to browser culture.
A typical booker might browse on their phone throughout the day when they are out of the house, for example on their daily commute, and book on their laptop at home in the evening.
But culture aside, travel marketers need to have their mobile site/app up to scratch to boost more conversions on mobile. And it all comes down to ease, trust and optimisation.
If a travel mobile site does not appear trustworthy, has a clunky checkout process or is not optimised for mobile, then a booker may prefer to convert on desktop, or worse yet, abandon.
So it's imperative for travel markets to promote ease, trust and mobile optimisation. Fortunately, there are lots of ways that this can be done.
- Short forms at the checkout stage
- Unmissable CTA
- A solid product offering/value statement
- Trust and payment icons
- No hidden fees
- All information (eg security and delivery) on show
- Champion responsive design
- Quick load times
- Inline validation
All of these elements combined will lead to more conversions on your mobile travel site and happy bookers.
At present, seven in ten bookers use mobile to research, but only 17 per cent use mobile to convert, according to hotelmarketing.com.
But how can I bridge the gap between mobile and desktop?
The best way to bridge this gap is to create the smoothest user journey possible across all devices. And on top of this you need to have consistency across all devices. All marketing needs to be consistent, from branding to tone, design to copy.
All of these things will help you convert more on mobile and bridge the gap between mobile and desktop. But whilst bridging the gap between mobile and desktop is a priority for those in Travel Tech right now, I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t necessarily matter on what device the booking occurs, just that it does occur at all. And every one of your devices need to be ready to handle it.
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