Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Six Steps to Convert Travel Consumers

EyeforTravel’s new Converting the Customer report reveals six key tactics to push your site’s visitors from lookers to bookers. 

Converting a travel customer is a tricky business for any brand but EyeforTravel’s new Converting the Customer report, which is free to download now, is here to help with six key tactics that will help you go from booking bust to a conversion king!

Test and Test Consistently
What will and won’t succeed in increasing conversions when it comes to site look and layout is frequently not obvious and often frustratingly irrational. A/B testing is a must in this arena, as even the most adept of web designers may miss out on a conversion positive tactic. Note that you will need good levels of traffic to the test pages, especially for more subtle changes to avoid freak results or misleading conclusions. 

Reduce the Steps to the Completing the Booking 

Once customers have reached checkout, keep it to crucial information only, or even confirm the booking and look at payments later in the case of hotels or tours and activities. This is especially true on mobile as reduced real estate makes it harder for the customer to enter details and move through stages. “On mobile, we have found that entering in credit card information, and/or address details, overwhelmingly became the highest bounce rate,” says Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at Booking.com. “It was a tremendous [source of] friction once you already shrink the screen and shrink the steps to book.” So, the business created a product to allow hotels to waive the need for a credit card to be entered, in certain circumstances. “It has a huge conversion-positive boost [for] last-minute [bookings],” he adds.

If They Haven’t Asked for the Product, You Need a Reason to Offer It

If consumers drop off for every extra hurdle they have to jump then why put them there? Keep your extra products simple and make it obvious what the benefit is to the customer at every single stage. If at all possible use previous sales data, intent information and cookie tracking to find out what products are most likely to be taken up by the customer and also an optimal pricing level. To return to testing again, run an A/B test to see if trying to sell an ancillary product is genuinely conversion and revenue positive versus not offering it or offering it more subtly. Small page changes or product variations can lead to big jumps.

Keep Friction as Low as Possible 

All of these points are really about keeping friction down for the customer at every stage of their journey. Think about user intent at each stage and what would get them to their desired outcome as fast and accurately as possible. ““We recommend taking a look at average order value and revenue per variation,” explains Sam Nazari, head of solutions engineering at Sentient Technologies. “Maybe you increase your overall conversion rate but AOV and revenue goes down, so you need to take account of that. Typically, as a best practice, removing any kind of distraction that takes the user away from going to the end of that funnel and converting, is always a good idea.” Nowadays it is very cheap to run user testing through on-demand services that can source large number of remote testers at short notice. Some have even taken it further, with Expedia running its own in-house user lab. 

Retarget Where Possible

Just because the customer dropped off, doesn’t mean they are gone forever. Indeed, the majority of final bookers will return to the product they last viewed or a similar one. This is a golden opportunity to close the deal. If you can track and retarget them then you are increasing your probability of conversion. While using banner ads is an established tactic, you can now get even more sophisticated. Saving their search criteria and viewed items can give you a crucial advantage in reducing their steps to checkout when they return. You can serve them their searches or preferred products via a chatbot offering a discount, or push notifications on-site or on-app to bring them back to their previous searches. 

Give Them Reasons to Believe

Social proof tactics are all relatively simple but are some of the most effective possible changes you can make to optimize an e-commerce process.

Adding in reviews and user feedback is the main method of social proof when it comes to online travel sales, but also you can create a sense that the booking may disappear due to demand from scarcity messaging, which can be combined with a deadline to purchase for an added psychological push. A meta-analysis of 6,700 A/B tests conducted by e-commerce company Qubit across 2014 to 2017 found that social proof, introducing the idea of inventory scarcity and using messages with sales deadlines to create urgency were by far the most effective tactics from the 29 categories they tested. This is because they increased consumer perception of product value and encouraged them to push on with the purchase. They found that these tactics gave the following bump to revenue per visitor:

  • Scarcity created a +2.9% uplift.
  • Social proof created a +2.3% uplift.
  • Urgency created a +1.5% uplift.
Furthermore, out of all of the tactics tested, scarcity and social proof had the highest probability of creating an uplift in their experiments.

To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here. This report includes findings on:
  • How to measure and understand intent to purchase. 
  • What content and marketing will drive up conversions. 
  • How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back. 
  • How to use different channels effectively. 
  • Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.
This report is part of our Behavioral Analytics Report Series, where we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product at the right price. You can find the first report, Understanding the Travel Consumer by clicking here. You can also sign up to EyeforTravel’s newsletter to be notified when our third report in the series, which covers dynamic and personalized pricing, is released.