Industry Update
Supplier News 3 September 2018

Content and Social Critical to Converting Travelers

Content and social media distribution are vital to reaching and converting travellers finds a new report from EyeforTravel, which can be downloaded for free now.

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Quality content marketing and a strong social media presence is helping brands build loyal customer bases and underpinning more effective sales and marketing funnels according to EyeforTravel's new Converting the Customer report, which can be downloaded here.

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Strong content can not only be used to make travellers aware of a destination or brand but it also gives brands critical clues about consumer intent that can then be used to build out their marketing. Combining this effectively with social media strategy and sharing tools turbocharges it and is giving brands a critical edge.

"What helped us boost conversion is that we managed to build up a sustainable brand loyalty over social media so people are in contact with our brand every day or when they see things in their news feed," says David Armstrong, CEO of HolidayPirates. "That's why we have managed to have a lot of brand traffic and organic traffic on our website and on our mobile app, which helps conversion."

HolidayPirates, however, has taken social to another level building its brand almost entirely through the medium. "We invest in content and viral content on social media [and] after six years we have over 30 million monthly visits, almost 10 million Facebook fans, over 10 million app downloads and last year an estimated TTV [total transaction value] of €362m," Armstrong told the EyeforTravel Europe summit 2018. This growth has come despite not spending anything on search engine marketing and last year, his business reckons it only paid for 7% of its traffic.

It helped, he said, that the business started as a travel blog recommending fantastic deals. Now, algorithms and technology do much of this leg work, and the results are posted on social media to hook in customers and stimulate viral sharing.

"Our recipe for virality has four components - an entertaining tone of voice, transparency, to be relevant with content deals and a call to action, and being controversial to foster engagement," he added. "You have to inspire people."

This shows that social media advertising and viral content can draw eyes to you, even if you are a smaller operator, such as Eurail, which sells all-in-one train tickets for Europe.

"Our struggle is our brand awareness," said Roel Verhagen, head of e-commerce. "We are not top of mind when you think about travel…but we do have 2,500,000 in traffic a month. Our return on -investment on ad spend is hugely important."

They came up with the marketing idea of creating two videos telling the story of a pair who met by chance in Amsterdam and travelled Europe together - with longer-play and short versions for paid adverts and social media pages. At the same time, the team started using Facebook Pixel to track customer response to this advertising and finding out where people fell out of the funnel through seven stages, from being made aware of Eurail, to having purchased a ticket.

"At a certain moment, the return on advertising spend was better on our own channels like Facebook, and we had success with the engagement rate," says Verhagen. The videos of Chloe's story and Justin's story rose to 11 million views, and now the next video is in production with the firm Boomerang, and a permanent part of marketing policy.

Adding social and review functionality onto your digital experience doesn't have to be intimidating either. A growing number of new digital media companies in this space allow smart partnerships to help host, monitor and improve social interactions.

Dan Christian, chief digital officer of The Travel Corporation, believes in harnessing the potential of advertising via social media recommendation. "Mary Meeker's latest trend report says selling on social platforms is very real - people see social content and make purchases," he told the EyeforTravel Europe Summit 2018 in London. "We were looking to get all of our travel directors active on social media."

For his group - comprising 30 international brands - the solution was a partnership with a Toronto-based start-up, PostBeyond, which connects enthusiastic employee advocates with potential customers on social media, and Feefo, an independent online review site.

"PostBeyond was a tool that our team could use and with one click could share - their SaaS [software as a service] model worked perfectly. We also needed user generated reviews - independent reviews from people who had been on our trip [with Feefo]. We see consumer behavior changing and we won't be relevant if we aren't where they are spending their time, and we need the tools to do that."

These case studies from the report demonstrate that content and social are intertwined with success in the marketing funnel for brands of all shapes and sizes. To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here. This report includes findings on:

  • How to measure and understand intent to purchase.
  • What content and marketing will drive up conversions.
  • How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back.
  • How to use different channels effectively.
  • Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.

This report is part of our Behavioral Analytics Report Series, where we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product at the right price. You can find the first report, Understanding the Travel Consumer by clicking here. You can also sign up to EyeforTravel's newsletter to be notified when our third report in the series, which covers dynamic and personalized pricing, is released.

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About EyeforTravel

EyeforTravel is an online travel intelligence provider to hotels, airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more. Established in 1997 by Tim Gunstone, right at the inception of online travel, the group offers a diverse product portfolio including industry analysis, insights, research, webinars, reports and conferences. From major hotel brands to new startups, EyeforTravel helps its 80,000 strong customer base make better decisions, build better brands, close the most lucrative deals and ultimately sell more of their product.

For more information visit www.eyefortravel.com.

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