We have all heard of the Google stats that state that people visit between 6 and 20 websites during their holiday research. For expensive holidays ( over £2,500) research suggests that consumers spend 10 hours + researching their trip.
Recent Research published in June 2014 shows that the older generation is now spending more time online researching than ever before ( article on web search use vs travel agents) and that 48% of respondents in the research found online easier to manage than through a travel agent.
In fact, many of the online players are in fact travel agents – just online ones ( OTA’s) and as such have made the move to being relevant to consumers during their holiday search. What these OTA’s do very effectively is capture email addresses. In fact, capturing an email address is the most important thing that their sites do outside of selling the actual holiday. Why is this?
It comes down to the Biorhythm of Buying a holiday.
Researching and buying a holiday takes place over a number of weeks, often the more expensive, the longer they take. This is not an Amazon style instant purchase.
Take a look at the Biorhythm on the left. The dotted line represents the line above which the consumer is in a ‘ready to purchase’ mode during their holiday planning cycle.
There are some key take aways here.
1. In the early stages of planning they are not open to selling at all so no matter how hard you try your efforts will mostly fall on deaf ears
2. Towards the end of the cycle, the consumer is most open to ‘selling’ and as such, this is the area that you need to concentrate on.
So the OTA’s do a great job at being visible throughout this process, grabbing an email address and sending relevant emails to the consumer during the planning phase. In comparison, the traditional agent without a relevant online presence and no email marketing programme to be able to engage the consumer during the research phase is never going to be found.
But wait, most people know that email marketing is important. The problem comes when the email marketing programme is not run as a lead generation system. Not having a system in place means that emails are sporadic at best, but key, don’t arrive in inboxes at the right time.
Let’s take an example of an agent that sends out an email to their database every 3 months as shown on the biorhythm on the right.
During this 3 month cycle the chances are that the email/facebook post/tweet/direct marketing newsletter will arrive in the consciousness of the consumer during the time they are least likely to purchase.
It’s great that the email has been sent, but as the consumer continues their research all the other more proactive holiday companies continue their visibility to the consumer so by the time they get to the point where they want to purchase, your email is a long time ago and they have forgotten that you are relevant in their decision making process.
The Proven Path to Winning that holiday spend
The only way to ensure that you are visible throughout the cycle and therefore gain a chance of pitching for the holiday is to be consistent in your marketing communication.
The biorhythm on the left shows that consistent communication throughout the life cycle of a consumer planning and research makes sure that you stay relevant to the consumer. Your email will land in the inbox with your ‘Call to Action’ at the right time, when the consumer is most open to purchasing a holiday.
This biorhythm set us off on a quest to develop The Travel Selling System – an automated sure fire way to make sure that you compete effectively for that holiday spend.