How are travelers buying your tours and activities?
With the advent of new technologies, the journey of a consumer from a casual onlooker to a confirmed buyer is changing rapidly. Google in its recent report has tried to analyze this journey by understanding the influence of different marketing channels (such as email, display ads etc.) on the consumer’s path to purchase.
The data has been collected for 11 industries such as Travel, Retail, Finance, Health etc. and mapped to 7 countries – Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, UK and USA. The one industry important to us and to you as a tour operator is ‘Travel’.
How different marketing channels influence a consumer’s buying decision
The buying life-cycle of a consumer (across industries) has been broadly split into 4 phases – awareness, consideration, intent and decision.
During this entire cycle, a consumer is influenced by various marketing channels like email, social media and direct visits to your website. These channels have different degree of influence on the consumer at different points in his or her buying life cycle.
The marketing channels can be broadly divided into two main categories:
- Assisting channels help in building awareness, consideration, and intent earlier in the consumer’s journey thereby introducing your brand and product to your consumer.
- Last interaction channels act as the last point of contact prior to a purchase thereby helping the consumer make the decision and take the plunge to finally buy the product.
We will specifically focus on how different marketing channels impact the consumer buying behaviour at different points in his or her buying life cycle. The chart below depicts the role played by various channels on the travel industry in the US market.
The above chart throws up some interesting observations on travel buying pattern:
- “Social” plays the most important part in awareness. The key takeaway being that social media is the most relevant marketing channel for the discovery of your brand and your tours & activities.
- Email plays an important role in the consideration phase. Once your tours are discovered by your potential buyer, emails can be a great way to build up the “curiosity” and place your product in his consideration set.
- The greatest impact of a ‘last interaction’ channel in the US travel market is of ‘direct’ – when the consumer comes directly to you or your website. In this case, your website or your store plays the role of “last mile” interaction which can make or break the decision to book. This highlights the importance of a great website and an equally strong booking experience for your consumers.
Note that the influence of a particular channel varies across different industries and different countries. For example in the Brazilian travel market, the influence of the ‘social’ channel is just 2.2 and the greatest assisting channel is email. However, even in this case also, the greatest impact of a ‘last interaction’ channel is of ‘direct’.
For a tour operator, the key takeaway is that no marketing channel is more or less important than the other. All of them play an important role depending on the point at which a consumer is in his or her buying cycle. In order to build a successful marketing engine, you need to have them all in your kitty and you must know how and when to use them.