What do comedy and marketing have in common? The key is timing. You have to be there for your potential guests at the very moment that they’re looking for you.
Imagine you had a way of knowing whenever someone thought about going for a holiday in your area, and in that very moment they’re mulling over their options, you’re able to suggest that they visit you.
Mobile browsing has made this fantasy a reality. Smartphones have provided us with immediate access to unprecedented amounts of data, and potential guests now have the ability to search for information in the precise moment that they want it, which also means that it’s possible for you to be there for your potential guests at the exact moment they’re looking for the information you can provide.
Google has identified “moments that matter” in which people turn to their mobile devices for immediate information, and it is in these intent-rich moments that hotels and others in the hospitality industry need to make sure that their product is the one that potential guests come across.
So how can you capitalise on these moments that matter in your marketing strategy?
Map your potential guest’s journey
Before making any kind of decision, a person will usually engage in a mental decision-making process where they consider various aspects of their decision, such as their options and their feelings about each option. Understanding this mental “journey” can help you to discover which moments will have your prospective guest turning to the web for ideas, help or advice.
In the case of travel, your potential guest’s journey will probably be quite long. It starts before they even know if they will be travelling or not. They have to believe that travel is important, and that its benefits outweigh the negatives such as time away from work and the cost. Your potential guest’s journey will probably involve moments like deciding why to travel, where to travel, when to travel, how much to spend, and how long to travel for.
Decide which moments matter to you
Once you have mapped out your potential guest’s journey, you will be able to see when they are likely to turn to the internet in moments that matter. While all of these are potential moments that matter to marketers, they might not matter to you. Someone searching “travel insurance” might be a potential guest, but unless you provide travel insurance included in your room rate, this moment might not matter to you.
Identify which of the moments when your potential guest turns to the web you can add the most value to. For example, someone might be deciding where to travel. If your strength as an establishment is in the natural beauty of your area, then this might be the time to position yourself in front of people who are trying to determine where the most picturesque holiday spot might be.
Cater to multiple moments
Not everyone online is in the same phase of their journey at the same time. Some people are just sitting on a train wishing they could travel to some far-off tropical island; others have saved up their money and are booking their flights tonight. If you are able to help people through all phases of their journey they will be more likely to trust you when the time comes for them to make their final decision.
If someone has already arrived at the point where they are searching “accommodation in [your area]”, this is a moment that matters and you need to be greeting your potential guest in that moment. However, as you have already seen, the journey to making a decision that ends with a visit to your establishment starts way before this point, and you need to be catering to other moments as well.
When a person searches “best times to travel to [your area]”, they might not yet be at the point where they are booking their tickets, but you can still provide the answer to their question, and position yourself as helpful, authoritative and trustworthy. Then, the next time they consider visiting your area, you will be the first establishment that they think of.
Provide instant gratification
The reason that people are turning to the internet for in-the-moment information is because it provides all the information they need immediately. Mobile browsing and moments that matter are all about instant gratification.
Even if they are not yet staying at your establishment, give potential guests something that they can enjoy. If they are looking for picturesque places to visit, provide a variety of quality, high-resolution photos for them to look at on your website. If they are searching when the best time of year to visit your area is, don’t just direct them to a generic landing site, direct them to a blog post about that topic.
Get to know your potential customer’s behaviour
The sheer volume of data available to you online can be quite overwhelming, but you can always start somewhere. For instance, you can download our handy infographic booklet about the habits of people doing travel-related searches on the web. If you know when, where, and why people are looking for you, you will be better equipped to provide them with the information they’re after.
Your website’s Google Analytics, your AdWords statistics, and your social media analytics can all provide clues about your potential customers – when they are online, where they are from, and what they are most interested in.
The sheer size of the online world can be intimidating, but it is also a fertile ground for cultivating interest in travel, your area, your establishment, and your particular offerings. If you can leverage the moments that matter throughout your potential guests’ journeys online, the size of the online space makes it a convenient place to meet your guests long before they arrive at your door.