EyeforTravel North America 2018

October 2018, Las Vegas

Understand how data, digital and partnerships can make your marketing work again

6 steps to converting travel consumers from lookers to bookers

Converting the traveller is always a challenge but EyeforTravel’s latest report has some useful advice

Converting a travel customer is always a tricky business but a new report from EyeforTravel outlines six tactics that may, just may, help you go from booking bust to conversion king!

#1 Test and test consistently

When it comes to site look and layout, what will and won’t succeed in increasing conversions is frequently not obvious and often frustratingly irrational. A/B testing is essential, as even the most adept web designers may miss a conversion positive tactic. Do note, however, that you will need good levels of traffic to the test pages, especially for more subtle changes. This will help to avoid freak results or misleading conclusions.

#2 Reduce steps to completing the booking

Once customers have reached checkout, give them only crucial information. It may help to just confirm the booking and deal with payments later. This is especially true when a customer is booking 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 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.”

To address this, the business created a product to allow hotels to waive the need for a credit card to be entered, in certain circumstances. According to Consiglio, this had a huge conversion-positive boost [for] last-minute [bookings].

#3 Give customers a good reason to ask for a product  

If consumers drop off at every extra hurdle then questions arise. Why is this happening? The trick is to keep any additional products simple and make it acutely obvious what the benefits are to the customer at every single stage. If at all possible, use previous sales data, intent information and cookie tracking to discover what products are most likely to win customer loyalty. Also, consider optimal pricing levels! Again, it’s important to test and learn; run an A/B test to understand if the sale of an ancillary product is genuinely conversion and revenue positive. Small page changes or product variations really can deliver benefits.

#4 Reduce friction, remove distractions

It is really about limiting friction for the customer at every stage of the journey. Think about user intent at each stage, and what would deliver the desired outcome as fast and accurately as possible.

“We recommend taking a look at average order value (AOV) 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.”

Today it is inexpensive to run user testing through on-demand services that can source a large number of remote testers at short notice. Some have even taken it further, with Expedia running its own in-house user lab.

#5 Retarget, retarget, retarget

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 an opportunity to close the deal; if you can track and retarget then you are increasing your probability of conversion. While using banner ads is an established tactic, it is possible to be more sophisticated. Saving search criteria and viewed items, for example, can help reduce the steps to checkout when customers return. Also, you can serve searches or preferred products via a chatbot, offering a discount or push notifications on-site or on-app help them back to their previous searches.

#6 Give reasons to believe

Not only are social proof tactics relatively simple, they are said to be an effective way to optimise the e-commerce process. Indeed, reviews and user feedback are the main method of social proof when it comes selling travel online. While this is a touchy area, and one that need to be carefully considered, ‘scarcity’ messaging tactics do seem to work. A meta-analysis of 6,700 A/B tests conducted by e-commerce company Qubit from 2014 to 2017 found that social proof that introduced the idea of inventory scarcity and used messages with sales deadlines to create urgency, were by far the most effective tactics from the 29 categories they tested. The reasons given included were that they increased consumer perception of product value and speeded up the purchase. These tactics bumped revenue per visitor:

  • Scarcity created +2.9% uplift.
  • Social proof created +2.3% uplift
  • Urgency created a +1.5% uplift

Interestingly, of all of the tactics tested, scarcity and social proof had the highest probability of creating uplift in brand experiments.

To understand how to drive up conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here.

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