The travel buying cycle. Stage #3: Booking

So far in our blog series ‘The Travel Buying Cycle’, we have looked at Stages #1 and #2 (Dreaming and Planning); now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

Stage #3: BOOKING

This is the ultimate action, what you are aiming for throughout each of the other 4 stages. So here are our top two tips to help retain visitors at the booking stage of the buying cycle.

1. Make it easy to find your website again and again

Potential guests will probably have visited your website during the dreaming and planning stages of the travel buying cycle. Hopefully they will have bookmarked your website, or will remember your domain name; but what if they haven’t and they don’t? We are back again to keyword content. What stands out about your property? What is it that people will remember when they want to revisit your website?

If you have four properties within a complex, your guest may not remember your domain name but they might remember the name of the cottage they liked the most. Including this in your keywords could help them find your site again.

What will they search for? “Family cottage near beach, St Ives, babysitting”, “Chateau with pool, spa, chef, Bordeaux”, “Dog-friendly chalet, enclosed garden, near pub, Hove”, “5 star villa, Paphos, heated pool, sea view”. Putting yourself in the visitor’s shoes will help – what is the biggest appeal about choosing your property over others?

2. Make it easy to place a booking

Make it EASY to book online on your website (60% of people prefer to book online – source: SuperControl). Is your site easy to navigate? Does it provide your guests with the information they need? Do all of the links work? Do you tell people how to book? Try out the visitor’s journey on your website yourself, and ask some friends to do the same. At this crucial stage make sure there is no reason a guest would leave your site or give up during the booking process.

Many people lead busy lives leaving them with little spare time, so they want to book at a time convenient to them. Enabling online booking on your website makes sure you cater for everyone – even those who want to book their holiday in the middle of the night. That’s not to say that this suits everyone – there are still people who will prefer to speak to you to place their booking. It is still important to include contact details on every page so if they want to pick up the phone or email you they can. Using an online booking service that enables you to enter bookings manually and the guest to book via your website ensures you offer the best all-round customer service, and makes it as easy as possible to place a booking.

The next of the 5 stages of travel is Experiencing. Stay posted, we look at ways to help your guests enjoy a fantastic holiday experience – so they will want to return again and again and will tell all their friends that they should too!