Welcome to the Travel Marketeer, a weekly series where we examine data, insights, and ideas around marketing, creative testing, and ways travel brands can improve the online customer experience. In this week’s installment, we share considerations to help you develop your mobile travel marketing strategy.
Now, more than ever, mobile is a key influencer of travel booking decisions. Before we discuss recommendations to help you develop your mobile travel marketing strategy, let’s put mobile trends into context:
Google confirmed that for the first time, mobile searches now surpass desktop searches. According to Econsultancy, it’s also nearly the case for travel-related searches as well. This change in search behavior, coupled with Google and Bing’s recent mobile-friendly search algorithm updates, exaggeratedly dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon,’ are reminders that it’s time to reevaluate your mobile travel marketing strategy.
What about conversions on mobile?
Although mobile is used throughout the decision-making process, according to the sources quoted below, you may find that if you are using a last-click attribution model, mobile conversion volume is nothing to get excited about. This is because people are using mobile to research and get inspiration for travel, but they often book using another device.
“While mobile bookings are at 6% of the market, over 70% of travelers are engaging with content via their mobile device on a monthly basis.” -Expedia MediaSolutions & comScore: Travel Decisions in a Multiscreen World
“Nearly half of those who use their smartphone for leisure travel inspiration ultimately book through some other method.” -think with Google: The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision
Although there is a discrepancy in statistics between these two sources, directionally the story is consistent: Some travelers are converting on mobile, but often, mobile doesn’t get the last click. This means that brands may be inadvertently underinvested in mobile advertising.
Recommendation: Review revenue and conversion data segmented by device using different attribution models. Compare how mobile ROI stacks up when looking at linear, time decay, and position-based attribution methods.
Mobile is the cost of entry
Think of mobile like a personal guide that moves travelers along the journey to making booking decisions. If you don’t supply that guide, someone else will.
You wouldn’t show up at someone else’s wedding and propose to the bride or groom at the altar having never before shared your feelings. Why would you let your competitors court travelers through the entire inspiration, research, and planning phase of travel decision making, and then expect to show up right at the last minute to close the booking? Your customers are using their mobile devices to steal vacation daydream moments between meetings at the office, and searching for destination photos while laying in bed at night. You need to be where your customers are, sharing appropriate messaging, creative, and content at each stage in their booking process.
Recommendation: Make the mobile aspects of your customer journey a priority. Conduct extensive creative testing to determine how to best align messaging across devices and stages of the customer journey.
Putting together your mobile travel marketing strategy
Mobile user behavior has crossed over a definitive tipping point to become critical in the booking process. Being active in the mobile space is not a ‘nice to have.’ Mobile should be a major part of your travel marketing strategy. If you haven’t already, embark on your mobile travel marketing journey starting with a deeper look at revenue attribution and a strategic approach to creative testing.
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