How to reel digital nomads in before take-off

Huang Hanming, Criteo’s regional managing director, South Asia and Greater China, shows how travel businesses need to have the latest mobile commerce strategies in place to keep up with today’s digital nomads and stay ahead of the competition

Cookie-cutter experiences no longer cut it in a world where personalisation rules. This philosophy applies even before someone hops on a plane.

While it is good news that travellers are expanding their travel repertoires, this also means that the online journeys travellers take before making their final purchases are winding and unpredictable. These travellers are moving between platforms and increasingly migrating to mobile to make bookings via the mobile web and apps, accounting for 60 percent of overall travel bookings .

These trends are both an opportunity and a challenge for travel suppliers and OTAs. Not keeping up with the latest mobile commerce strategies means losing access to the modern, tech-savvy traveller. With competition in the travel industry more intense than ever, travel marketers who fail to keep up face the risk of being left behind as competitors take off without them.

Feeling daunted by the journey ahead? Here are some ways in which travel businesses can rise to the task and meet the needs of today’s digital nomads:

Make turbulent customer experiences a thing of the past
Travellers are looking up options between PCs, mobile web pages and mobile applications before making a booking. A consistent user experience across platforms is now paramount.

Moreover, Asian travellers take the top spot when it comes to making travel bookings on mobile, accounting of up to 49 percent of monthly mobile share of bookings. Apps are no longer just a “nice-to-have” feature for travel suppliers and OTAs. They have become a critical channel and source for online booking conversions.

Beyond that, apps are leading in terms of conversions and amount of money spent compared to the mobile web, meaning that snoozing on mobile app optimisation can cause you to leave precious revenue on the table.

Leveraging Asia’s mobile-first mindset no longer just entails developing responsive mobile webpages but requires a more concerted effort into optimising mobile apps and adopting in-app personalisation technologies to ensure frictionless customer journeys.

Understand the journey that happens before take-off
In 2017, two in five travel bookings were made on the day of the activity itself, while travel-related searches on Google with the terms “tonight” and “today” also grew by more than 150 per cent in 2017 .

These numbers highlight how the growing trend of last-minute travel bookings cannot be ignored by travel vendors, as these types of bookings are emerging as another major source of travel revenue.

According to Criteo’s Summer Travel Report 2018, mobile is key in capturing last-minute bookings with up to 80 percent of last-minute bookings being made on mobile devices worldwide. More specifically, mobile apps account for 41 percent of last-minute bookings. This comes as no surprise as travellers are seeking quick and convenient ways to make bookings on-the-fly.

Make relevant and attractive offers that travellers can’t refuse
Considering the importance of mobile app optimisation and the strong demand for last-minute bookings, it has never been more important for travel suppliers and OTAs to keep their audience engaged as they scour for recommendations and offers.

Aggregating data across multiple channels will therefore allow travel providers to make sense of the winding online journeys taken by today’s tech-savvy travellers. Applying machine learning and cross-platform personalisation technologies will supercharge travel suppliers and OTAs’ abilities to deliver personalised offers that can nudge customers in the right direction even when they are faced with countless other options.

Investing in an omni-channel advertising strategy is essential so travel providers’ offerings don’t get lost in the noise. Ensure that your customer’s journey does not just end via a one-way ticket out of your website or app. Keep them coming back for more with the right personalisation strategy.

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