Why Meta-search, Search, Social, Local, and Mobile Conspire to Kill Conversion Rates

What's happening to your conversion rate?Paid search. Organic search. Metasearch. Email marketing. Daily deals sites. Ratings and reviews. Social and local and mobile. How in the world is a poor travel marketer to navigate the myriad choices facing your customers today?

For that matter, how is your poor customer supposed to navigate that landscape?

Anyone familiar with “The Paradox of Choice” understands why this creates a challenging environment in which to try and sell travel.

It’s not all bad news, of course. Savvy travel marketers are using these very tools to engage their guests and get customers to tell stories on their behalf. But, there’s little doubt this “paradox of choice” environment will affect one part of your online marketing: your conversion rate. I explain why in more detail in my latest Travel Tuesday post on Tim Peter Thinks: “Kiss Your Current Conversion Rate Goodbye.”

And if you’re interested in learning more, egister to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Oh, and, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of growing your conversions (and your conversion rate), including:

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The Future of Travel Search and Mobile (Travel Tuesday)

Android smartphoneI posted my regular Travel Tuesday piece over on Thinks this week, highlighting remarkable comments made by Google’s UK head of travel about the where the growth in search volume is coming from. You can read all about it in this post The Future of Travel Search and Mobile.

Oh, and it’s worth noting that this shift will affect what you must do to reach customers going forward. If you want to learn more about how you can adapt to the changing realities of customer behavior, you can register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here.

Why Mobile Matters for Travel Marketers

App use on iphoneAnyone who’s read this blog (or the main blog), knows that I think mobile’s going to be huge. All signs point to that fact.

Not “forecast.” Or “prediction.” Or “guess.”

Fact.

Whether it’s Booking.com tripling its mobile business last year or (according to Business Travel News), Choice getting 10% of its bookings from mobile or La Quinta getting 23% of its traffic from mobile, mobile is beginning to represent some meaningful numbers.

And as the Business Travel News article linked above highlights, the growth these players shared “…does not take into account the growing volume of bookings from third-party mobile sites and apps, available not only from the legacy online travel agencies but the ever-expanding list of startups targeting the hotel sector.”

Guests and passengers and travelers in general use mobile because it helps them accomplish their goals. Both research and my experience suggest that consumers no longer care about “channels” or, for that matter, devices. They’ll use whatever’s handy — desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone — to meet their needs. In fact, Pew notes that a growing number of people use their mobile phone as their primary means of accessing the Internet, bypassing the desktop altogether (while some of Pew’s research in this area refers primarily to teens, A. it’s also true many older demographics use “cell-mostly” internet, and B. Gen Y and Millennial demographic cohorts represent your customers in just a few years).

Why do travelers use mobile so much?

Because it’s always at hand.

Literally.

So, the fact remains, your guests and passengers increasingly rely on mobile to research, shop, browse, and buy travel and related services. The question is: Are you helping them?

Interested in more? Sign up for our free newsletter to get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy. You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of mobile, including:

Booking.com just announced something amazing

The growth of mobile So, I don’t normally cover press releases, but this one’s worth mentioning:Priceline subsidiary Booking.com reported late last week that their mobile booking revenue tripled last year. Which would be impressive, until you consider that it tripled to $3 billion from $1 billion in 2011. That’s billion. With a “b.”

Um… wow.

I gave a talk this morning to a group of travel and hospitality companies about how big mobile’s going to be. And I referenced items like the growth of the millennial market, how to handle the iOS/Android debate, and all that jazz. But, by any standard, those are some impressive results. I’m thinking there might be something to this mobile web business after all.

Interested in more? Sign up for our free newsletter and get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy. And, if you’ve got a minute, you might enjoy some past coverage of mobile, including:

Tuesday Travel: Weekly Marketing Roundup

Online marketingLooking to improve your hotel’s marketing going into 2013? Here’s a quick round-up of this week’s best hotel marketing and distribution tips and techniques:

Don’t forget to check back here regularly for additional hotel marketing tips and techniques. And take a look at my main blog for additional online marketing and e-commerce news and info.

The Rise of Mobile and What You Can Do About It

The rise of mobileTravel Industry Wire has a must-read on five online travel trends set to explode. Here’s their take on mobile:

“…mobile services must fulfill a basic need. So apps may not be for everybody but firms should be optimizing for mobile. Before doing so they must carefully consider their target audience.

You can’t really talk about mobile without thinking about social and of course local. If any further proof is needed: in March this year 350 million Facebook users (who are also consumers!) had accessed the social network via a mobile device.

Hotwire President Clem Bason argues that: ‘A number of companies have integrated social media into their mobile offerings, but no travel company has completely nailed it yet.’ ” [Emphasis mine]

Additionally, recent research from the Pew Internet & American Life study suggests that mobile has reached its tipping point while Google provides clear insights into the mutli-screen world. So, if mobile’s so important, why aren’t more travel companies — a sector where mobile’s a no-brainer — nailing it?

The worst part? It’s not actually that hard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to belittle the work needed. It’s real. But the fundamentals of a mobile strategy remain clear. For instance, check out the following:

If you’re looking at how mobile can work better for your brand in 2013, give me a call or drop me a linel. I’m happy to help.

Mobile strategy tips from HEDNA

Anyone who’s been around the travel industry for long knows about HEDNA, the organization dedicated to easing distribution for hoteliers and distribution channel operators. I was fortunate enough to keynote HEDNA’s spring meeting in Spain last week and can honestly say I learned at least as much as I shared with the audience. So, today’s recapped 5 amazing mobile strategy tips from HEDNA over on the main blog. Check it out.

And, please remember, I’m available to speak at your next event, too. You can read all about how I can help you have a successful conference here.