What is it that makes you so special that travellers should seek you out?
With the current pent-up demand, travellers need the expertise of professionals to guide them on their buyer journey. To ensure they seek you out, be strategic about spreading the word (of mouth): about how you will help them and how it will benefit them to do business with you.
Your value under current circumstances
So much has changed in the way that travel is researched and purchased, and with digital content consumption skyrocketing across all industries, the noise online has become deafening. Travellers are immersed, whether they’re streaming, watching Instagram reels, or the rest.
The challenge for you is two-fold:
- identify the right platforms to communicate your value at the right stage of the buyer journey; and
- be unambiguous about what that value is.
It’s a case of if you are going to say something, say something useful that will resonate with your audience (or disappear in the din). Take a break from going on about your USPs; instead show what makes your brand special and why your customers should care about you.
Address changing booking trends by asking the question: are you agile? The proof is in your ability to prioritise practical, logistical and personal needs as the customer-led travel buyer journey evolves. Consider why travellers will look to you for help:
- They will come in search of peace of mind and risk management, given the level of uncertainty that still exists in the post-pandemic travel space.
- They will seek out your professionalism and relevance, and how you’ve adapted to the changes.
- They will look for a holistic customer experience with little to zero friction.
- They will come to you for personalised service and your expert product knowledge.
As you market your value proposition, it’s always with differentiation in mind – what makes you exceptional in these contexts and what will set tongues wagging about your brand in a good way.
What makes you so special?
In the overlap between what your target audience cares about and the purpose of your brand resides your point of relevance: that value you offer that solves their problems.
Step 1: identify who your customers are
Step 2: identify what you sell that they care about
Step 3: identify what benefits they will derive from you
Those benefits are the sources of the talk triggers that will get the right people in their focused communities with their shared interests spreading the word about your value.
Your next step is to embrace digitalisation (because your audience already has) to market your value and credibility. Consider what they are trying to achieve at various digital touchpoints, and how you can leverage those touchpoints to help them along their customer journey.
At each stage of their journey, there’s an opportunity for you to insert value:
- Inspiration: you’ve identified their travel motivations and preferences – now provide information accordingly that helps them to compare their options and make a decision.
- Planning: they don’t know what routes to follow and sites to visit – offer relevant recommendations that help them visualise how it will all come together.
- Booking: they need transparency in the booking process – reassure them with safe, efficient and trustworthy tools.
- Enjoyment: they will expect everything to go to plan and nothing to go wrong – support them during their travels, offer extra options to enhance their enjoyment and exceed their expectations.
- Sharing: they will want to reflect on a memorable experience – amplify their social sharing and turn their reviews of your brand into talk triggers.
The trick is to use the digital platforms that they use at different stages to communicate your value consistently.
- Make your brand presence felt during dreaming and discovery stages with direct mailer marketing and digital chat functionality, and where they browse travel online on social media and with active Google searches.
- Make direct contact with you seamless and easier for them through your website and digital sales collateral during planning and purchasing stages.
- Connect with them during and after travel via apps that provide practical value, endorsements on social media, and follow-ups with personalised messages.
Make your values go viral
When your value aligns with your customer’s, your empathy becomes a talk trigger.
When you are useful to your customer, your service becomes a talk trigger.
When you offer something extra, your generosity becomes a talk trigger.
When you are prompt, your speed and efficiency become talk triggers.
When you exude care about customer experience, your attitude becomes a talk trigger.
Your customers become your brand ambassadors when they share your value proposition by word of mouth. They will talk about their trip and your brand from a place of personal experience, which is the most powerful form of endorsement you can get.