Market to the Traveler Journey, Not Last Click
If it’s not business travel, trips are about dreams. Dreamers explore nearly 40 touchpoints online alone, and so travel marketers need to watch for where clickers fall off, then optimize for the customer journey, reads an article on Tnooz.com.
“There is an industry-wide obsession with knowing where the last revenue-generating click came from,” writes Vikram Singh in “Death on the High CPCs — Hotels Getting Killed by Last-Click Attribution.”
Concentrating his May 10 on hotel marketing, he says the good news is “most hotels and inns are spending some amount of money on digital ads.” (Implied here is that resources are stretched thin for this reason, travel marketers and their agencies are being shortsighted.)
“A lot of hotels are struggling to understand why they are not seeing massive returns on their advertising dollars anymore,” he writes. “Even brand name traffic and clicks are in decline.”
Seizing the Top of the Travel Marketing Funnel
So what are the more than 38 touchpoints Singh cites in the online hotel booking journey, as estimated by Expedia?
“First comes the destination,” he writes, “then the location within the destination, then a price and value comparison and finally the right user experience to complete the booking.”
Travel marketers need to master those, too, in addition to the last click, Singh says. Analytics, of course, aid in this task. Marketers can see what content works and what pages falter.
Singh provides a sample hotel marketing program, as well as a customer journey:
- Touchpoint 1: Google PPC Ad. Guest X finds your hotel website for the first time by clicking on one of your Google AdWords campaign ads for “luxury hotels in Sydney.” The guests browse the website and consume your content and photos. You capture their email addresses (with their permission, of course).
- Touchpoint 2: Facebook Ad. Two weeks later, Guest X returns to your website, this time from a Facebook Ad about “Things to do in Sydney.”
- Touchpoint 3: Email Marketing. Five days later, you send them an email about upcoming events in Sydney and why your hotel is in the best location to enjoy them. You get a clickthrough.
- Touchpoint 4: Direct Traffic. The next day, Guest X books a room directly on your website by typing www.yourhotelname.com into the browser. Mission accomplished!
A Hotel Marketer’s Attribution Options:
- Last-Click. The last click before booking — in this case your website’s direct traffic source — gets 100 percent of the credit for the reservation.
- First-Click. The first touchpoint, your Google AdWords campaign ad for “luxury hotels in Sydney,” gets 100 percent of the credit for the reservation.
- Linear. Every touchpoint — Google AdWords, Facebook, email and direct — gets equal credit for the reservation (25 percent each).
- Time-Delay. The touchpoints closest to the reservation dates get the majority of the credit. In this case, email and direct get most of the credit; Google AdWords and Facebook get less.
- Position-based. The first and last touch points (Google AdWords and direct) get 40 percent of the credit each, and the remaining 20 percent credit for the reservation is divided evenly between the middle touchpoints. (Facebook and email get 10 percent each.)
- Data-driven. This model gives credit for conversions based on the steps people have taken to find you and ultimately book a room with you. It uses data from your own account to determine which ads, keywords and campaigns have the greatest impact on conversions. This is only available to accounts that have accumulated enough data over time. “I love this model,” Singh exclaims.
Travel Marketing Touchpoint Ideas
Singh says these may be the routes customers take before booking hotels, as well as how marketers can reach them:
- Top-level Destination Research: airfare searches, travel blogs, etc. (In addition to writing their own content, hotel marketers can place ads here.)
- Neighborhood Research: The beach vs. the business district
- Hotel Research: Narrowing lodging search by researching independent vs brands; top-ranking hotels for value and price on TripAdvisor; hotel websites, social media profiles and blogs
- Things to Do: Lists, blogs, articles [Author’s note: “Things to do in … “ is such a common search engine query, which this newspaper capitalized on to change the name of its entertainment section.]
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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