Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 94 – Shocking Revelations About Converting the Customer: EyeforTravel Report Takeaways

by Stuart Butler

Today we are talking about our takeaways from part two of a three-part study performed by EyeforTravel in the Behavioral Analytics Report Series. This report is all about driving consumers through the purchase funnel and ways to improve conversion rate.

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When is the perfect time to pitch?

  • Based on data from 3,000 consumers, more than 90% use price comparison sites at least occasionally, with 73% using them regularly when booking an accommodation.
  • Research takes place over one to two weeks of active research and longer for general browsing and dreaming about vacation.
  • Pre-trip happiness peaks just before and during vacationers’ trips.

Now is the time to work with engaged customers, but finding the precise time and right content or offers is challenging:
Inspiration, Planning, and Conversion

  • Address the customers’ needs before they reach the checkout stage with optimized content that helps them when dreaming about their trip.
  • Don’t confuse “stay” types of content (pictures of rooms, bathrooms, and the buffet) with the inspirational stage of content.
  • Build content around the attractions and unique features of the destination, and how the property relates to them.
  • Use social media to reach consumers during the dream phase using engaging content, like video, so you can be top of mind when they are ready to plan.

    Interpreting Intent

  • The best time to advertise varies depending on what you are selling and your customer profile.
  • Build an accurate conversion funnel, and consider each step of the journey – build content to support each step
    • Aware> Inspired> Informed> Confident> Convinced> Purchasing> Purchased
  • Put all the data point together to give the most relevant content and offer, in the most meaningful way.
    • Do you have historical data of what customers have booked before?
      • What time of year did they come?
      • What time of year did they book?
      • What other items did they book aside from a room?
      • What discount did they receive?
  • Actively be evaluating content in each for each stage of the process and test new hypotheses to improve performance.

Dynamically Delivering
Why Personalize?
From a 2015 study: Personalized banners result in substantially higher revenue than non-personalized ones, even if the personalized ones are more expensive.
From Marketing Science Institute: The optimal window for highly-personalized content is shortly after a consumer has visited your website, because there is a time-decay effect where super-personal banner ads become less effective at later dates than a constant, moderately-personalized approach.
Cunning Content
Consumers are not just looking for a hotel – they are looking for a great experience of a destination.

  • Combine information about things your potential guests want to know, with striking content that grabs their interest
    • Webcam
  • If you have the right destination content available that keeps consumers on your website longer, they will have a better chance of converting
  • Use findings from reviews from TripAdvisor and other sources to spark content ideas.

Optimizing Conversion
    How Do You Stop Customers Abandoning Their Carts?

  • ABT

Color Me Bad? The Ugly Widget Creator

  • Sentient Technologies has an AI system that hotel chains use to test their web and mobile site to find the best colors.
  • Results of test show some unusual shades can be winners. One really odd (ugly) combination fo the search widget had a 45% increase in conversion.

Cross-Selling vs. Quick Selling

  • As much as there is always room to try to sell the consumer on extras, be careful where you give them the option.
  • You may make more money from selling other products on the way to the payment page, but you could be losing it too.
  • Look at average order value AND conversion rate.
    • You could have a better conversion rate but lower revenue per booking if you offer the additional products later in the purchase process. Can you make up the lost revenue later?
    • You could have a lower conversion rate, but better average revenue per booking with the additional products available before booking. Is the lost conversion rate made up by the additional revenue?

Do You Deserve a Second Chance?

  • Average abandonment rate for travel customers was 81% in a June 2018 study.
  • This doesn’t mean they truly have abandoned the shopping process, and you still have an opportunity to reach those people.
  • Send cart abandonment emails
    • Personalize to the extent you can, based on the behavior on the site
  • Third-party remarketing

The Proof Is In the Product
    Social Proof…and Why We Stand in Line for a Crowded Restaurant
Your hotel probably doesn’t have a line out the door of people waiting to get in, like a busy restaurant on a Friday night.

  • The best way to prove that you have happy customers is to encourage social media reviews.
  • Create sense of urgency/scarcity messaging in the booking process

You can make more of your online presence and investment by making small tweaks to existing tactics.

  • Ensure content on your website reflects YOUR consumer and market, and has compelling information available for every step of the purchase cycle.
  • We’ve said it a million times – always be testing. This doesn’t just apply to your website. Look for ways to improve your paid campaigns through imagery, messaging, retargeting, etc.
  • Evaluate your cart abandonment efforts.
  • Use social proof to provide new customers confidence in your property.

Link to download the report:
In The Newsaroos
Google hotel search results testing ‘price insights’
Hotel Direct Bookings Remain Flat Despite Big Marketing Push
Google Hotel Ads launches Promoted Hotels
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