At Eye for Travel’s Travel Distribution Summit in London during May 2013, I picked up a buzz of excitement about the way technology is transforming the travel industry.
Basically, the internet and social media have revolutionized customer product experimentation. Consumers are now able to experience a product online and seek advice from both friends and strangers without seeing or touching it in real life. The Zero Moment of Truth is how we, in the internet age, decide what to buy.
So how should travel brands adapt to this new digitally enhanced information path and decision-making process? Richard Lewis suggests that the ZMOT is not just a change in the way travel products and services are advertized and consumed. It’s also an opportunity for brands to engage directly with current and future customers by creating interesting, relevant content.
At EVG, we’ve been helping clients win this Zero Moment of Truth for years. Only now is it becoming clear to industry leaders that content marketing is the key to click-throughs and conversions.
2. Last-minute travel through mobile devices gaining traction
Thanks to smartphones, consumers are now empowered to make more spontaneous trips – often booking hotels and attractions while making their way to the destination. In fact, surveys suggest up to that 70 percent of guests who book via their mobile phones check into the hotel that same day.
Traditional hoteliers might bemoan the insecurity of this last-minute booking trend, preferring the comfort of hotel rooms reserved and paid for months in advance.
Smart travel marketers instead see the huge opportunities with mobile devices: deals and booking services for spontaneous travelers, airline check-ins, mobile payments, last-minute hotel reservations to fill unsold rooms… Expedia gets around 20 percent of bookings through mobile, and 15 million so far have downloaded the company’s app. That number is set to grow.
The mobile world is as exciting today as the internet itself was back in the ’90s. So don’t fight the trend – tap into it through mobile-optimized content and services.
3. The travel booking path, a great example of multi-device shopping trends
If you want to stand out in the travel industry, then your content has to be platform-agile. Modern travelers live in a multi-device world, carrying smartphones, tablets, laptops and GPS systems of all shapes and sizes.
Surveys show that more than half of smartphone users use another device at the same time as their phones, and that more than three quarters watch TV with a tablet or mobile in their hands. And more importantly for marketers, 67 percent of online shopping – including travel-related purchases – is a multi-device activity.
The lesson for the travel industry? Give your users a great experience whether they’re connecting via a mobile site, an app, a tablet, a laptop, or just seeing your profile on a GPS as they speed toward their destination.