Master the Travel Customer Journey


Plus, Learn How to Create the travel Customer Journey Map!

Would you like to get a 360-degree view of the travel customer journey? You are reading the right article! Travel agencies and tour operators need the travel consumer journey map to learn more about their consumers and provide a robust experience to them. It is a useful tool that can generate valuable insights regarding your future strategy.But, let's start from the beginning.

What is a customer journey map?

The customer journey map is a visualization of your consumer's experience for the purpose of gaining familiarity with its journey from not knowing you to becoming a lifelong loyal customer. It is a long process, containing different stages with different needs and touchpoints. Mastering each one of these stages is essential for accomplishing a sale.

“if you want to grow your business, you have to assist your customers throughout the entire shopping journey, from the earliest stages of research to the point of sale, to customer service after the deal is done.”

-  “Google Insights”

You can think of the map as a business framework that enables you to improve the customer's experience. 

 

Why is the customer journey essential? 

It gives managers an overview of the customer’s experience and it can help you understand how consumers walk within the sales funnel. Consequently, it is easier to identify the actions that would amplify their overall experience.

The map will show you the way of well-designed customer services that can transform your organization’s digital experience. And, nowadays that the travel industry is becoming intelligent, it is even more relevant to create one. Every day, more and more travel companies are embracing the digital world, evolving their businesses to adapt and thrive in the new environment. If you have read our post about the hottest travel trends for 2019, you should know that we live in the era of personalization.

What does that mean? It means that your customers demand special attention and care.

It is not optional anymore. Do you want to increase your bookings? You need to learn how to provide this experience.

The common obstacle a lot of people face is the failure to identify in which stage of the prospect they are, and therefore, to adapt their offers to the needs of every step. Let's say that a user is in the early stages of their journey. It would be better to ask them to sign up for a newsletter than force them to buy your product.

Rushing through the process will probably make them leave. You need to focus on them and get acquainted with their long journey until they confirm the booking. Creating the map and walking on your shoes of your customer will make everything easier.

 

How and why to research the travel customer journey 

Now, let's see how you can continue the process of practically creating a customer journey map. Entering inside the mindset of the modern customer is a highly demanding task. You need a plan. 

There is no such thing as the ideal customer journey map that fits any business. Why? Because different companies are targeting different groups of people. Consequently, you have to understand who are your potential customers, how they behave, and where are they mostly present. After you know your customer's intents, then, you can communicate your message efficiently.

It's time to gather some data!

You might have old personas somewhere in your desk or you might want to find new information and update it. The best way to conduct your research is with business analytics about your website.

But, be mindful! The outcomes and results are not always telling the truth. Don’t assume that a lot of clicks or long dwell times are a good sign. They could indicate that a customer is frustrated. Here you will find an excellent informative post specializing in the proper use of business analytics. 

 

STEP BY STEP CUSTOMER JOURNEY

1. Dreaming

At the beginning of the journey, a potential customer starts dreaming about a trip to your destination, or experiencing your tours and activities. The individual in this phase is a stranger; he does not know anything about your service, he probably doesn’t even know it exists. The end objective is to generate human-level connection and interest to the essence of your service (values, mission, purpose, people). Get them to notice you as they look for inspiration!

Your marketing approach: Content Marketing through blogs and other forms of content promoted in your social media channels is appropriate. The main goal here is to gain the attention of your prospective customers. Their minds are vulnerable to a good marketing campaign as they don't have specific expectations. If you don't absorb their attention, someone else's campaign will. 

2. Researching

In the second stage, you will meet the largest addressable qualified audience with some commercial intent. The customer becomes aware of your company when researching tours and activities in your destination. They are thinking about your offers in relation to others from the most popular sites like booking.com and TripAdvisor.

Your marketing approach:  You want to lead them further into the sales cycle. An excellent way to achieve that is by using the surprise & delight formula. Give them something they don't expect and ask for their email in exchange for the content. Make yourself memorable. High-quality content marketing that will maintain their interest in your tours and activities is suitable:

"How-to" guides for their trip

Previous Experiences from happy customers

Inspiring photos

Local Tips

Videos of your tours and activities

3. Booking

The customer preferred your company. Well done! You successfully managed to convert a prospective customer. But, the journey is not over! 

4. Pre - Travel

After the book, you have to make them feel like joining a tribe. Keep customers engaged with emails and other documents that help them enjoy their vacations with peace. Email confirmation is essential after the book. Let them know that they are safe with your customer support.

5. Post - Travel (Sharing)

You provided awesome customer service before, during, and after your tour or activity that exceeded your customer's expectations. Because of this, they might well upgrade to the beloved loyal customers. Plus, when they are happy about the experience, it is almost certain they will tell the world about it. They share photos on social media and they might tag your brand. Υou won a brand ambassador that works for free by producing value with word of mouth marketing. 

In the U.S., 40% of online shopping revenue comes from repeat customers, who are responsible only for 8% of site visits

 

TRAVEL CUSTOMER JOURNEY TEMPLATES

You will always find different templates related to the customer journey with various steps and key points. Nevertheless, all of them are following roughly the same pattern. Check out our favorite ones!

Detailed draft of the customer journay in Eurail company

Create by Eurail.

This image contains an experience map with all the steps that the travelers do, to help  every travel site to create their customer journay.

Rail Europe created a map with the Touchpoints that every channel contains.

Created by Rail Europe

By separating your customer journey to different stages and learning how to communicate efficiently at every one of them, you can successfully provide an experience that feels personalized.

We highlighted at the beginning that personalization is one of these assets that will make a company stand out from the rest. Create your customer's journey map, centralize your efforts at the needs of every stage, and make the transitions feel natural. According to the customer Service Expectations Report from Gladly, 59% of customers said being treated as an individual was more important than how fast the issue was resolved (53%). That's how important it is.

 

Understanding more about the travel Customer (6 insights)

 Modern travelers expect from your business:

  1. To know them: People today expect from you to know what they have in their minds. Your marketing campaigns need to make sense intuitively.
  2. Inspire them: Tell them about the endless possibilities of travel and technology. Light this fire inside them that wants to explore the world and lead the way.
  3. Connect them: They are always looking for relevant and quality content. When they find it, they want to stay in touch with it, and you must provide this opportunity. Gather Emails
  4. "Human Talk": Throughout their journey, they want someone to talk to them and guide their experience continuously. But, you won't see better results if you sound like an artificial bot. Make it human!
  5. Entertain them: Can you bring the magic that they miss in their workday routines? This "wow" moment can make them smile! And, if you can make them smile, you can make the buy.
  6. Care for them: Keep them safe and secure. Let them know that you will support them if they choose to spend their money on your company. A warm sense of protection is essential for a traveler.

Do you enjoy videos more than lists? Okay, this one's for you. Hubspot Academy is storytelling with clarity the optimization of the buying process!

 

Never forget! The customer journey map is just a map

After the map, you must act. Even if it is essential for understanding and improving the different stages of the booking decision and the overall experience of your customers, in the end, it is just a map. You need to achieve mastery in the various channels and mediums where you distribute your tours and activities. Make yourself visible! How else will people book your tours?

The customer's experience today is walking hand in hand with technology. People cannot wait anymore for a page to load or for businesses that are not well acquainted with technology. Your consumer experience should encompass actions like the transition from a laptop to mobile and everything in between.  Moreover, without promoting your brand on social media with inspiring photographs and SEO optimized content, it is quite hard to be competitive. Always dedicate energy and money for optimizing:

  • Website appearance and speed
  • Email gathering 
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing

Avoid mistakes such as not displaying prices next to your tours and activities or lacking visible buttons. They provide the opportunity to book the desired activity instantly or move further on the sales funnel.

Thankfully, with the existing tools and solutions like kleesto for your company, it is easy to amplify your marketing efforts to higher levels, without having to spend all your money in the creation of a well-functioning website. Upgrade and automate your travel business with ease, and let technology help you reach your full potential.

 

Evaluate your actions

In her speechMeg Elzea, Global Travel Industry Manager at Google, about the transformation of the travel customer journey, the Industry Manager of Global Travel in Google revealed to us three questions they ask themselves to evaluate their efforts:

And, remain mindful of what you eventually want to increase.

  • The speed of lead conversion
  • The probability of lead conversion
  • The perception of value in your offers

Did you found this article informative? Stay with kleesto in your journey, and you will receive more valuable content related to the optimization of your tours and activities. Do you have any problems regarding your travel company? Feel free to communicate your issues and we might write about it. We are here to help you become the tour operator of your dreams.

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March 19, 2019 Marketing Tips Tour Operator Marketing

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