Online and mobile booking rising trends are set to continue in 2023, which is why it will be more important than ever to include digital marketing and sales as part of your strategy this year.
Booking tours, activities and attractions online provide operators with a unique opportunity to collect customer information. With the correct data and analytical tools, this means a deeper understanding of customer behaviour, purchasing decisions, and even forecasting trends.
Here’s why data can ultimately elevate your businesses and create effective sales strategies to change how you operate in 2023.
Four Opportunities for Operators to Collect Data
There are various stages in marketing and sales to collect data, and the more of an online presence you have, the more opportunities you will get. Here are some options to consider:
1. Through direct bookings: Customers who book directly from your website input the required data to complete the purchase. This gives you direct access to and controls your client's information.
2. Mobile apps: These digital products collect and can track customer data and activity, including customer preferences and purchases, down to phone numbers and emails.
3. Social media: Engaging with your audience online allows you to collect demographic data and their interests based on what they engage with. You can also track conversions from social media posts to see which type of content drives your audience to book, which can be crucial in targeted marketing and sales efforts. (Hint: 2023 could be the year of video according to Arival’s Douglas Quinby).
4. In destination: Remember to collect information at your tour, activity or attraction, as it is the most reliable, coming straight from the travellers who have booked and turned up. As long as the data gathering process is incentivised, engaging, and seamless, it should not impact the traveller experience It is important to remember that not all data is created equal, and the most valuable is based on your strategy and how you use the information you get.
It is important to remember that not all data is created equal, and the most valuable is based on your strategy and how you use the information you get.
Regaining Power over Customer Data with ‘Things to do’
While collecting data is critical, the real game changer is having control over it. Previously, operators had to relinquish control over some parts of the booking and customer acquisition data when using an OTA or other ‘middlemen’. But this changed in 2022 with the introduction of Google’s ‘Things to do’ program for tours, activities and attractions.
Registering in the program allows operators to regain power over customer data through direct booking without paying commissions on bookings or clicks. Like any online purchase, customers need to input their information and payment details to proceed with the booking. The advantage of direct booking is that the information is stored in the operator’s database, which can connect with other marketing, sales, and customer engagement tools.
This gives operators the power to choose the information they collect and how it can be utilised in the business strategy. This could be through upsells and funnels, sending to selected partner websites for a commission or simply engaging with an additional touchpoint. But ultimately, operators get direct insight into customer behaviours.
How can you use data to improve the experience for travellers?
Collecting and controlling data's most significant impact is that it makes it possible for you to improve your customers experience. Their travel can be more meaningful because of how you understand them.
Here are some of the best ways to do this.
One trend that continues to be strong is the need for travellers to create once-in-a-lifetime memories. And this can only happen with authentic experiences. They want the real deal, and you can provide this level of personalisation if you have the data on their preferences or what they are looking for when travelling.
Build loyalty and custom offers
When you offer experiences in line with and beyond their expectations, it results in brand loyalty. But this can only happen if you know what they want. It also opens up a chance to create custom offers. Giving additional options that make their experience more meaningful is not just a way to build loyalty but also lets you stand out from the competition. By analysing purchasing behaviour, you can create more competitive products based on what your travellers want and custom pricing to entice them to go with it.
Be ahead of the curve
Having this data on your customers means you can stay on top of trends and spot patterns or changes in customer behaviour ahead of time. This allows you to be proactive with marketing, product creation, and pricing rather than reactive.
Resonate with your customers
Building your brand around your customers means resonating with them on what they want and how you communicate it. This can help make your brand more appealing but can help you develop strategic partnerships with other local businesses to support your mutual growth.
Wider online presence
Content is one of the main drivers that attract consumers, especially in social media. By creating engaging content travellers search for, you appear in more searches or recommendations on various social media platforms.
Data is no longer a necessity but a must for businesses in tours, activities and attractions because it can unlock many opportunities for sales and marketing in the new digital landscape. If you want to leverage Google’s ‘Things to do’ for your business, register now.