Following the initial shock of the Covid-19 crisis, things have started to look a lot more optimistic for travel companies.
After online travel bookings fell dramatically in March and April, the easing of many restrictions on movement had a positive impact on the travel industry, with revenues improving to 58% of their pre-pandemic level in May. The staycation industry in particular enjoyed a boost, reaching 204% of their normal revenue by the end of June.
With the travel industry making a steady recovery, it’s time to ensure your business is converting those adventure seekers into customers.
In this blog post, we’ll cover tactics to engage and convert a demographic that is likely to make up a significant proportion of post-lockdown holidaymakers - Gen Z and Millennials.
Research shows that one in three young people say they want to go on holiday abroad as soon as they’re allowed to, whereas just one in five people aged 55+ say the same. Another study found that 64% of young adult hostel-goers have said they have already started planning their next trip, and 61% say they’d be willing to visit countries that have been particularly affected by the pandemic.
This means competition for younger customers will be stronger than ever, making every interaction with a potential customer critical. Yet, they can often appear a challenging demographic to please. They shun package holidays, instead favoring authentic and off-the-beaten-track travel experiences in the latest hotspots and Instagram-worthy vacations in exotic, far flung destinations. And when it comes to marketing, they have little patience for a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they expect to receive targeted and engaging content that reaches them on their preferred platforms.
Travel providers face the daunting task of meeting these demands with marketing that both informs and inspires. And whether these preferences change this year or not, marketers must be ready to adapt.
Read on for 4 tactics to help you convert more Gen Z and Millennial holidaymakers into customers.
1) Personalized experiences
Email marketing can add extra value if messages respond to customers’ needs and behavior. Now more than ever, it must be personalized using real-time data, not stale data from months ago.
One in four young holidaymakers say they’d appreciate a triggered email when a holiday they browsed has dropped in price. So make sure you set up price drop alerts to keep those browsers in the loop. With sales uplifts from price drop emails averaging 3%, this is a tactic worth adding to your email marketing.
Personalization shouldn’t stop with your email marketing. One quarter of Gen Z travellers say they would find it useful if travel websites were tailored to them. Try enhancing the homepage with dynamic content that changes according to the individual’s favorite destination, or use geotargeting technology to display information about their nearest airport.
2) Channels for travel research and inspiration
Social media has a significant role to play when it comes to research ahead of a booking, with Gen Z consumers and Millennials more likely than the average traveller to use social channels when looking for holiday ideas.
Nearly a third of Millennials used social media to research their last holiday. Travel companies should take note and make the most of visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to stay on shoppers’ radar. They can also incorporate user-generated content on other channels, such as the website and in emails, to provide authentic inspiration throughout the year.
Retargeting on social media can also be used to re-engage customers who browsed holiday deals on your website.
3) Social commerce
Social commerce is an emerging channel with big potential. Fresh Relevance research found that given the option, the younger generation would be open to use a social media platform to book a holiday.
But the preferred platform varies from generation to generation. Gen Z opts for image-conscious Instagram while Millennials are more inclined to use Facebook.
As social commerce becomes more prevalent, travel providers should look out for opportunities to harness this channel.
4) Social proof
While social media is gaining in influence, review websites and online travel agents remain the most popular channels for researching a vacation.
What do these types of websites have in common? They provide comprehensive information in a convenient format, backed up with social proof, such as ratings and reviews.
Cruise lines, accommodation and travel providers can leverage similar tactics on their own websites. For example, by prominently featuring top rated destinations on the homepage, and including customer reviews on product detail pages to take the stress out of decision making.
Understanding consumer needs
While the world is certain to look very different on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis, understanding consumer needs will be more important than ever.
As travel brands look ahead to recovery, reflecting an individual’s behavior and preferences in their marketing will be critical.
Those that can provide a highly targeted experience which captures the attention of consumers at every stage of the booking journey will be rewarded by securing their business.
This post originally appeared on Travolution.