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What Makes People Book Holidays? 5 Main Purchase Drivers

18 Apr 2024
Sarah Marks

Consumers today are used to getting what they want when they want it. They’re curious, demanding, and quick to move on if their needs aren’t being met. As a result, retail is more customer-driven than ever before.

Ecommerce has also had a massive impact on buying behaviours, with implications for all sectors, including the travel industry. How people book travel products has changed over the last few years, with technology giving travellers more autonomy. When they want to find information, or answer their questions, they expect travel content on-demand, in an easy, frictionless, omnichannel format.

With so much choice out there, the smallest of things can make a huge difference to consumers and might be what influences them to book with your airport rather than over other options. We explore five of the main purchase drivers in holiday bookings and how you can integrate them into your airport marketing and sales funnel.

1. Social media and the importance of ‘showing off’

Did you know that 61% of millennial and Gen Z travellers pick a holiday destination based on how good it will look in photos? Not only that, but nearly half of TikTok’s millennial users in the US travelled to a new destination after seeing it on the social media platform.

There has never been a more critical time for airports to engage with customers on social media. Publishing inspirational travel content (such as the best Instagrammable hot spots) is great for driving holiday bookings. But remember, your travel content doesn’t always have to be polished, particularly if you’re using Instagram Stories or other platforms like TikTok.

Share user-generated travel content

Sharing ‘less-polished’ user-generated content can help drive holiday bookings by increasing brand trust. According to Trustpilot, user-generated content is considered 50% more trustworthy than traditional marketing and can increase marketing effectiveness by as much as 54%.

User-generated content comes in many formats, from a positive review shared with a quick holiday snap and brand tag on Instagram to longer holiday vlogs shared on YouTube. Re-sharing this content helps win over new customers and increases brand loyalty with existing customers, who will love having their content shared by their favourite airport. Consider creating a unique hashtag for your airport or brand campaigns and encourage your customers to use it. It’s great for improving brand visibility and useful for sourcing user-generated content without spending time searching for it.

Partner with travel influencers

When improving your airport’s social media marketing, it’s worth considering the value of travel influencer partnerships. Collaborating with travel influencers on destination marketing campaigns can have a hugely positive impact on your holiday bookings. In fact, American Express reports that 40% of US adults were inspired by travel influencers, and 53% of people who follow influencers on social media have made a purchase after seeing an influencer’s post.

2. Brand Trust

When it comes to winning over customers, it pays to have been given a big thumbs up by previous passengers. 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions and 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And to book a big trip, consumers read an average of 14 reviews before committing to a holiday.
Gathering positive feedback to use in your airport email and social media marketing campaigns is essential. It can go a long way in increasing customers’ trust in your airport brand and setting you apart from competitors.

An easy way to gain feedback at your airport is by using Rezcomm’s handy KPI and Feedback tool. Passengers simply scan a QR code with their smartphones at your airport to share a review, and you can even reward them in return. Perhaps, with a discount to one of your airport’s retail stores.

Another simple way to gather customer feedback is via email. A quick survey sent to passengers on their return home is a great way to capture a review while still fresh in their minds. Even better, why not ask them to share their holiday snaps on social media, tag your airport, and use your hashtag? It’s all about getting the word out there that you’re the airport to trust for holiday bookings.

Data security and feeling ‘in control’

It’s not just customer reviews that can influence how new customers perceive your business. When it comes to trust, data security is a big issue too. According to Salesforce, 79% of people are protective about their personal data, and half feel like their personal data isn’t used in a way that benefits them directly.

Transparency is the key to tackling consumers’ trust issues with data security. Rezcomm’s Centralised Data Privacy Management module aims to simplify the procedures for compliance with data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring you keep on top of data retention periods, privacy policy updates, and data privacy assessments. In addition, our Data Subject Request module will enable your customers to submit data requests and automate precise record-keeping of the actions your airport takes so you benefit from proof of compliance.

Today’s consumers also like to remain in control, and that’s where our Centralised Manage My Booking module comes in. This dashboard makes it easy for customers to view, manage, and alter their bookings and reservations in a single location. As a result, customers can see what they’ve purchased, and perhaps more importantly, what they haven’t, paving the way for relevant upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

3. VIP treatment and a personalised service

We all know the importance of personalisation and that it goes far beyond simply addressing customers by name in your marketing emails. Traveller expectations of personalised experiences constantly evolve, and brand loyalty is no longer guaranteed.

Google reports that only 9% of US travellers ‘always know’ which brand to book with before researching. The study also shows that even elite loyalty club members can be drawn to another brand if the price is right. For example, two-thirds of elite US air loyalty programme members would choose a different airline for a better price, route, or schedule. Additionally, more than two-thirds of those with hotel loyalty programmes would choose a different hotel for a better price.

While we wouldn’t suggest the value of service and loyalty has lessened, these findings highlight the importance of differentiating your airport brand from your competition. Some ways to do this are:

  • Capture customers with an omnichannel ecommerce experience.
  • Provide personalised emails with recommendations based on previous bookings and inspire passengers with things to do once they arrive at their destination.
  • Tailor your marketing content to your customer.

Of course, to achieve this, you need customer data at your fingertips, and for that, we recommend our Centralised Customer Information Management module. This powerful business tool supports airports in identifying and catering for customers’ needs, storing data from all customer touchpoints, and enabling you to monitor activity across your entire marketplace.

The CCIM can also feed information into the Rezcomm CRM, designed to store and manage all customer data and communications to save you time and maximise every opportunity to sell to customers.

Create a loyalty scheme

Another way to create a VIP experience is with a loyalty scheme. Some of the most popular airport loyalty scheme reward travellers not only for travel bookings but also for their purchases at retail stores and restaurants at the airport.

Other value-added incentives to encourage customer loyalty are points they can redeem against future bookings, instant perks such as free WiFi, VIP access to the executive lounge, priority boarding and access to the best parking spaces. London’s Heathrow Airport enables members to redeem points for parking, while Singapore’s Changi Airport offers an additional discount on a member’s birthday.

You can use Rezcomm’s Members and Rewards module to build a unique loyalty scheme with personalised rewards for your customers that encourage them to book with your airport.

4. Easy and seamless booking experience

Have you ever tried to make an online purchase and given up because the process was frustrating? You’re not alone — 30.6% of people are encouraged to make an online purchase by an easy checkout process, while 22% of cart abandonments occur because of users needing to set up an account.

Long and complicated checkout processes are a significant source of friction. In addition, unnecessary forms detract from the buyer journey, hinder customer confidence, cause confusion and lead to 28% of shoppers abandoning their purchase.
The solution is simple. Make it easy for customers to find and compare holiday bookings via your website using the Rezcomm plug-and-play marketplace. Optimise the buyer journey by offering guest checkout and streamline your booking journey to make it quicker and easier for customers to complete their purchases. You can always gather customers’ marketing permissions post-purchase or, failing that, at the airport.

Don’t forget to optimise the buyer journey for mobile bookings, both on your website and app. In 2023, close to a third of travellers booked their travel experiences on a mobile website, and 23% using a mobile app.

It’s also essential to have a clear picture of what’s working well for your airport and what isn’t. Use Rezcomm’s Commercial BI module to gain a 360 view of your airport, including how customers behave during the booking journey and where they’re perhaps dropping off before making a purchase. Benefit from having vital data at your fingertips.

5. Sustainable practices and travel options

Travellers are getting more eco-conscious, with a massive 76% of travellers looking to travel more sustainably. They’re even willing to put money on it — 43% will pay more if they have sustainable travel options.

Travellers are looking for sustainable accommodation, flights, experiences, and activities. It’s a perfect opportunity for your airport to showcase its sustainability efforts and reach these travellers who are making conscious choices. Use Rezcomm’s drag-and-drop landing page builder to create a page dedicated to your sustainability initiatives, and promote your efforts using email marketing and social media campaigns.

Drive holiday bookings with the help of Rezcomm

Now you know the main purchase drivers in holiday bookings, it’s time to act, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Download our brochure, watch our video, or get in touch with our experts to learn more about Rezcomm’s plug-and-play marketplace and our vast range of modules to support your airport.