The process of how people are inspired to travel, conduct research, and make bookings has evolved significantly over recent years. As tour operators and travel agents, understanding the traveller's purchase journey is essential for engaging with potential customers and driving conversions. In this article, we'll explore the traveller purchase journey and provide insights to help you navigate this dynamic landscape.
The journey begins with the inspiration phase, where potential travellers seek ideas for their next adventure.
According to a recent consumer survey conducted by Luth Research on behalf of Expedia Group*, "Before selecting where to go on their trip, 59% of travelers did not have a specific destination in mind or considered multiple destinations."
The indecisiveness surrounding the destination presents valuable opportunities for tour operators and travel agents to inspire and influence travellers early in the booking process.
As expected, and as confirmed by Luth Research*, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube play a crucial role in the travel planning process, serving as a source of inspiration and recommendations for travellers. Travellers seek authentic experiences shared by others, along with reviews on specific hotels, activities, or destinations.
Image by TripMapper Ltd
Image by TripMapper Ltd
After being inspired, travellers move into the research and planning phase, and you still have the opportunity to influence traveller decisions. During this stage, they gather information about destinations, accommodations, activities, and travel options. As a tour operator or travel agent, your website and marketing materials should offer comprehensive and up-to-date information. Approximately 75% of travellers rely on search engines, meta-travel websites, and social media, according to Luth Research*.
In today's competitive travel marketplace, consumers have numerous options to choose from, and travel agents and tour operators need to stand out to attract and retain customers. According to the survey* five in 10 travellers said getting the best price is important when deciding where to shop and book their trip. Plus, by showcasing your commitment to going the extra mile, your business can differentiate itself from competitors.
TripMapper for Business is one way you can create a unique selling proposition that sets you apart. TripMapper for Business is visual, user-centric travel agent software/ tour operator software that takes you from client enquiry to building itineraries in no time. The best part is it seamlessly integrates with TripMapper’s top-rated consumer travel planning platform, so all those premium features (usually only available on subscription) which have been a massive hit with travellers, such as attaching tickets, setting notifications, inviting trip companions, currency conversion and map view, are free for your clients.
Once travellers have completed their research, they are ready to make a decision and proceed with booking. Every traveller is unique, so a personalised approach and attentive customer service are key differentiators. Embrace the ever-evolving landscape of travel trends, technology such TripMapper for Business, and customer preferences.
Your customers have now booked their trip! However, your engagement with them should not end there. Provide pre-trip support and resources to ensure their peace of mind. Using travel software such as TripMapper for Business allows you to seamlessly provide beautiful itineraries, pre-travel reminders and share travel documents and useful tips to help them prepare for their upcoming adventure. This can also go a long way in building a strong rapport with your customers and demonstrating that you care about their travel experiences.
Going above and beyond for your clients not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters loyalty and trust. When businesses consistently exceed expectations, clients are more likely to become repeat customers and advocates who spread positive word-of-mouth, which is a powerful marketing tool in itself. Satisfied customers are more inclined to leave positive reviews and recommendations, further enhancing the business's reputation and attracting new clientele.
The travel experience itself is a make-or-break moment for customers. Strive to deliver what you promised and exceed expectations whenever possible. Partner with reputable service providers, like TripMapper for Business, your travel agency management system, to ensure that travellers have a seamless and memorable journey.
Encourage customers to share their experiences on social media or provide feedback through reviews and surveys. Positive reviews can bolster your credibility and attract more potential customers in the future.
As the travellers return from their trip, continue engaging with them through post-travel follow-ups. Express your gratitude for their business and ask for their feedback on the experience. This not only shows that you value their opinions but also helps you identify areas for improvement.
In today's competitive travel industry, understanding the traveller purchase journey is vital for tour operators and travel agents to thrive. By strategically aligning your marketing efforts and services with each stage of the journey, you can provide exceptional customer experiences, foster loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.
* 'The Path to Purchase: Uncovering how travelers plan and book online.' (Expedia group) published July 2023 - Consumer survey conducted by Luth Research between March 24-April 19, 2023.