Online Marketing: New Methods in Optimizing Customer Experience Across Multiple Platforms
By Mark Simpson President & Founder, Maxymiser | July 01, 2012
2011 saw two major trends in the travel industry. First, it was the year of the tablet. More consumers flocked to mobile devices for browsing, research and even booking. Second, travel businesses focused more than ever on the customer and providing engaging experiences. But now it's time to combine these two trends and create a next level travel experience that reaches consumers in the right place, at the right time, and in the right way. It's about efficiency, accessibility, and most of all, meaningful, personalized customer experiences.
Think about your business goals as a travel marketer: you want your online visitors to book more trips, extend their trips, book more higher margin trips, add items to enhance or expand their trip-insurance, tickets, car rental, etc. And you have to do this while fighting tooth and nail with competitors, high bounce rates, fickle consumers... you name it.
There simply is too much noise, too many pricing wars and so much competition in today's market to not get your online strategy right. So start by following a few crucial fundamentals, and truly put the customer at the heart of your marketing universe.
1. Ensure a Successful Online Booking Experience
A common problem in the online travel booking process is for a user to nearly complete the sale, only to bounce out of the funnel to continue researching. In this case, information that influences a traveler's decision is likely being presented too late in the funnel, such as applying hidden fees that result in a higher-than-quoted price. This is where multivariate testing can be used to determine where, how and which information should be presented in the research phase vs. the buying phase. This process can also validate if presenting this information reduces overall conversion rates or has a negative impact on revenue.
The first step is to employ an internal test and learn methodology to understand which changes to your site impact engagement, online bookings, revenue, and customer loyalty through continuous A/B and multivariate testing. This places content decisions at the heart of the customer, and fundamentally shifts how brands learn which content performs best. In other words, nothing should be permanently implemented without first being tested.