Guest Post: Voice is changing the face of travel marketing

By Bhavesh Vaghela, CMO of ResponseTap

We all want to acquire new customers and gain the loyalty of existing ones – but what is really the key to achieving this?

Travel brands are increasingly focusing on the digital journey to support the customer objective, but this does not help anything if the offline customer journey is ignored. It’s not just all about online interactions; there is still a real value in doing business over the phone.

It makes sense to focus on online, especially as in 2013, 72% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. The constant evolution within social media have dragged businesses’ attention to social and digital platforms.

However, when it comes to actual conversions, 65% of businesses consider phone calls to be their highest-quality lead source. This is where the human side of the customer journey comes into play and the point at which the voice can make or break the sale.

Travel companies secure sales online most of the time, but they have to be aware of a customer who want to ‘seal the deal’ on a phone call.

Alongside this, there will be people who need that extra push by means of a phone call, as 54% of consumers want the reassurance of a human interaction before completing a purchase – and nearly two-thirds (64%) get frustrated when they are only able to interact with a company online.

The convenience and speed of the internet cannot replace these human interactions in achieving a sale: therefore, understanding what makes the phone ring should be a priority for business owners and travel marketers. However, more than half of marketers are not mastering the art of online and offline marketing.

Travel marketers and companies can benefit from analysing phone calls in the same way that they analyse online conversions with Google Analytics.

Brands like Tui and Eurocamp have been using this technology to understand the impact their marketing activities are having on inbound calls. As a result, Tui and Eurocamp have seen an increase in their online revenue, reduced PPC cost and saved marketing spend by reducing ineffective advertising.

When a customer is browsing and researching for a holiday to the Virgin Islands, he or she uses different devices and visits myriad websites for research before finally picking up the phone and calling the holiday company.

While the individual searches they build a digital footprint, and as a result a wealth of information is made available on their preferences.

This data offers a goldmine of opportunity; businesses can deliver a seamless experience for customers. You could for example route the call straight through to an agent who specialises in the Virgin Islands; someone who can relate to the caller and even discuss their experience of the local area.

Imagine doing away with the dreaded pre-recorded, “press one to book, press two if…” and replacing this with a human voice, fully briefed on your needs and ready to offer you all the information you need.

As your customer moves from online to offline, the phone call becomes a critical aspect of delivering an experience worthy of your brand – an ‘online only’ focus simply does not cut it any more.

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