With the first month of the new year already behind us, the question on every travel professional’s mind has to be: How can we increase our bottom line in 2017? And while a new year always brings new trends and new best practices, not every trend is worth following.
Here’s a list of the best digital trends we feel every travel or hospitality company should follow this year to see increased revenue and overall growth:
1. Multimedia (especially video)
From creating, to watching, and then sharing, users love video – this is a trend that isn’t going anywhere, becoming more and more important for brands with each passing year. And understandably so, as videos engage in ways pictures just aren’t able to. More and more travel companies are using video to assist in selling the experiences they offer. It’s one of the most effective ways to help users visualize potential vacation destinations, excursions, and even hotel rooms. For example, Royal Caribbean does a beautiful job incorporating whole page video to bring to life snorkel tours they are offering to their cruisers:
2. Non-aggressive Mobile User Engagement
This year, brands should strive to entice Mobile User Engagement … but don’t force it! This means avoiding aggressive pop-up ads.
Mobile users aren’t the only ones fed up with those pesky, hard-to-navigate-out-of pop-ups. This year, Google has joined the resistance against these persistent page invaders. On January 10th, Google made moves to ensure mobile pages with “intrusive interstitials” (a fancy name for full page transitional pop-ups) rank lower in their search results. Does the punishment fit the crime? We don’t advise finding out! Visitors should want to interact with the ads you are trying to promote. By not forcing engagement, you’ll be less likely to offend and your travel site’s visitors will be more likely to turn into converting users.
If you’re site isn’t optimized for mobile, now is the time.
While not necessarily a new trend, it’s quite surprising how many travel sites are not mobile friendly in 2017. Although travel industry conversion rates are highest on desktop, each year, more and more users are searching for their vacations on mobile, while also converting more in the process. Here, basic, intuitive user experiences matter. For example, if users still have to use the zoom function to navigate your mobile site, then you’re likely missing out on conversions by not having a mobile-friendly site. How are you going to sell that all-inclusive Cancun trip if the user has to zoom in 100% to see the margarita pitcher that comes with the tequila distillery tour? Bottom line, whether you choose a responsive site design or a separate design tailored specifically towards mobile, an optimized, mobile-friendly site should be a top priority in 2017. You’ll be doing your travel site a favor by preparing for the inevitable future increase in mobile usage towards travel industry purchases.
4) Secret Deals
Secret deals… shhh it’s a secret (kind of).
Secret deals are a creative way to attract users into logging in to find great deals they otherwise wouldn’t see. It works out great for both parties because the user is able to view deals they wouldn’t otherwise see, while the travel site gains a new user they can send personalized offers to. It’s a win-win and definitely something every travel site should perform A/B testing on this year. Kayak does a great job of offering secret deals to their visitors.
Need help optimizing your site for 2017 and implementing these trends? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation with a digital optimization expert.