Today, consumers are curious, demanding and impatient. They’re used to getting what they want when they want it, and as a result, the retail landscape is more customer-driven than ever before.
Ecommerce has also had a massive influence on buying behaviours, with implications for all sectors, including the travel industry. How people book travel products has changed over the last few years too. Technology has given travellers more autonomy. When they want to research, find information, or answer their questions, they expect travel content on-demand, in an easy, frictionless, omnichannel format.
With so much choice out there, it’s important to remember that the smallest of things can make a huge difference to consumers and might be what influences them to book with your airport rather than a competing online travel agent.
Here we’ll explore 5 of the Main Purchase Drivers in Holiday Bookings and how you can integrate them into your airport marketing and sales funnel.
Did you know that 40% of millennials pick a holiday destination based on Instagrammability? Not only that, but a recent study by M&S Bank found the hashtag holiday generation are prepared to fork out an additional £1075 per trip to create the perfect Instagrammable break.
“Social media has an undeniable impact on how we plan, budget and experience our holidays today. From where we go to what we do when we get there, the ‘hashtag holiday’ is more prevalent than ever before.”
Liam O’Hara, Head of Network and Bureaux, M&S Bank.
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) in a shareable format (like image and video) is great for driving holiday bookings. But remember, your travel content doesn’t always have to be polished, particularly if you’re utilising Instagram Stories and newer platforms, like TikTok.
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.
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, Statista reports that 84% of US adults consult travel influencers for recommendations on trips and micro-influencers (with a smaller but highly engaged following) create 60% higher campaign engagement rates over the average.
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 – 34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And when it comes to booking 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 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.
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 a report by GWI, 72% of people say they are more aware of how companies collect and use their data than they were 12 months ago, and less than half say they feel in control of their data.
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.
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. 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.
Another way to create a VIP experience is with a loyalty scheme. Some of the most popular airport loyalty schemes reward travellers for their purchases at retail stores and restaurants at the airport. For example, Heathrow Rewards points to customers through its smartphone app.
Other value-added incentives to encourage customer loyalty are points that 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.
Consider building a unique loyalty scheme to encourage customers to book with you and find a way to personalise rewards for each of your customers.
30% of people are encouraged to make an online purchase by a quick and easy checkout, and 15% favour guest checkout, with no sign-in required. Additionally, Barilliance reports that 22% of cart abandonments occur due to 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.
It’s also essential to have a clear picture of what is working well for your airport and what isn’t. Use Rezcomm’s Business Intelligence 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.
According to a PwC survey, brand trust, including confidence in safety and cleanliness, is now the top purchase driver from consumer respondents, over price, loyalty programmes and airline schedules.
Despite a massive appetite for international air travel, many people are still wary of visiting airports and boarding planes, so airports must go the extra mile to restore passenger confidence.
85% of people surveyed said their travel decisions hinge on communications they receive from hotels and airlines about safety. So if airports want their passengers to book through them, shop in their stores and visit their restaurants, they must also communicate what they’re doing to keep passengers safe.
Communicate a COVID-safe experience to your passengers with regular email, SMS and social media updates. Use personalised communications to reassure customers and empower them with the knowledge of what to expect at the airport.
It’s also vital to consider what you can do at your airport to create a safer travel experience. For example, Rezcomm’s Contactless Customer Service module eliminates the need for staffed help desks so that customers can get answers to their questions without face-to-face contact. There’s also the potential to add contactless Fast Track Bookings and Queueless Journeys to promote a touch-free journey through your airport.
And don’t forget to check in with passengers and make sure they’re satisfied with your airport using our KPI and Feedback module. Place QR codes everywhere from your airport car park, toilets and security to check in with passengers and ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Now you know the main purchase drivers in holiday bookings, it’s time to take action, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. 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.