In the last few years, the journey for booking a destination visit or leisure activity has been extended, as brands have begun to court potential customers from the point of inspiration all the way through to the final transaction. However, the last stage of this journey, the booking process, has seen the opposite change, becoming faster than ever thanks to the use of online / mobile transactions and aggregator sites, where flights to attraction tickets can be booked all at once.
However, such efficiencies in the booking process have quickly become the norm and consumer expectations are now moving beyond instantaneous transactions. Here are the top three consumer behaviour trends you need to be aware of to maximise customer conversions:
Wishlisting – The inspiration period of a consumer’s purchase journey is now dominated by exploration through social media channels, where the collation of wishlists can inform travel planning, reflecting tastes and personalities. To capitalise on this trend, we are now seeing initial examples of consumers being able to purchase directly from wishlists (i.e. Pinterest). Brands such as Starwood Hotels have enabled booking through their Instagram feeds, specifically on posts by social influencers. This will reduce the leadtime between consumers being inspired and then being able to purchase through a single click.
Conversational Commerce – The proliferation of booking channels has also spread to instant messaging apps (i.e. WhatsApp), where travel companies are taking bookings direct or at the very least, dealing with enquiries on these platforms. This creates a better user experience and reduces barriers to enquiry, as brands are instantly available 24/7 (through advanced chatbots), in places where consumers are already communicating. Cost efficiencies can also be found, as using existing platforms negates the need for native apps or websites to do the same job.
Impulsive Existence – Driven by the the trends of ‘travelling like a local’, FOMO (fear of missing out) and mobile purchases, consumers are now choosing to book leisure activities at their destination, last minute. This does come with risks but technology is helping to mitigate these, with real-time translation tools, ticket management services, self-service kiosks and messages to alert people when it is their turn to enter an attraction. That said, pre-booking can help brands with planning revenue and capacity, therefore some operators have chosen to incentivise consumers to book beforehand. For example, The Roman Baths in Bath encourage pre-booking by offering travellers the chance to save money and gain access to smaller, lesser known exhibitions, creating a more unique and spontaneous plan of activity.