By Derek Andersen
Research shows that most travel and vacation shoppers enter the market undecided — they don’t have a strong preference for which hotel, resort, cruise line, or vacation package to book.
Travel marketers spend billions on digital advertising each year to influence these undecided customers. As spend skyrockets, travel marketers face increasing pressure to optimize their digital advertising ROI.
According to Google, 44% of people who book travel on their smartphones do so by calling. Therefore, in order to optimize your digital marketing ROI, you need to take a data-driven approach to inbound calls. See our top 3 strategies to drive inbound calls and revenue below.
This may seem obvious, but if your phone number is difficult for your audience to access, you may be missing out on potential calls — and therefore bookings. To drive ROI, you need to make it easy for consumers researching flights, cruises, hotels, or resorts to get in touch with one of your live agents — either at your reservation center or the property itself. Since today’s customer chooses their own path to purchase, you’ll need to ensure your phone numbers are visible on all customer touchpoints, including your digital ads and web pages.
On your paid search ads, for example, you should include call extensions—these allow mobile users to seamlessly transition from their online search to a conversation with a live agent. According to Bing, ads with call extensions receive 3-6% more clicks, on average, than those without call extensions.
One of the strengths of digital advertising is its transparency — the ability to quantify impressions, clicks, and conversions in real time. However, digital campaign results become murkier when inbound calls are involved. Many marketers struggle to connect the online and offline customer journey. To optimize the performance of your digital campaigns, especially in travel marketing, you’ll need to understand how many calls your digital ads are driving, as well as how often those calls convert to bookings and revenue.
In order to understand the full customer journey, you should capture caller information such as their name, geographic location, and whether they’re a new or repeat caller. In addition, you should collect data on what marketing channel, keyword search, ad, or other source drove the call. If the lead called from your website, you should capture the path they took as well as which specific website page compelled them to call. You should also analyze what’s said on each call to understand common customer questions, attitudes, purchasing intent, and whether or not they went on to book.
Once you’ve captured all the important call data mentioned above, you should use it to optimize your travel marketing campaigns. The easiest way to do this it to integrate calls into your martech stack. This includes your CRM, bid management, web analytics, and other marketing tools. By completing this integration, you’ll receive a holistic view of the travel customer’s journey — both online and over the phone — as well as which of your marketing efforts are generating the greatest return.
Using this full view of your ROI, you can optimize your travel marketing efforts accordingly. As an example, let’s say that prior to integrating your call data, you allocated the highest spend to Facebook ads since they had an average cost per acquisition of $20. Meanwhile, you allocated a small fraction of your budget to paid search ads, since their cost per acquisition was $35. However, your decision was only informed by online conversions — when you included phone call conversions in your metrics, you discovered the true cost per acquisition from Facebook ads was $19 while the true cost per acquisition from paid search ads was $14. Using this data, you could then allocate more of your budget to paid search ads — the true top performer.
To learn more travel marketing best practices and view success stories, download our eBook, The Secret to Travel Marketing ROI: Inbound Calls.
To learn more tips to optimize your travel marketing strategy, download our eBook: The Secret to Travel Marketing ROI: Inbound Calls.Get the Guide →
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