Voice search and other AI-driven discovery services have fundamentally changed how tourists are finding information — both when they first start planning a trip, and as they travel. So whether you’re a travel marketer, or simply operate a business that serves the out-of-town crowd, you need a strategy in place that will help you reach those tourists when and where they’re searching.
Tourists begin their journey with a search.
73% of high-intent consumers don’t visit a brand’s website before making a decision,* so businesses of every type should ensure that people can find the information they’re looking for across Google, Amazon Alexa, TripAdvisor, and the many other maps, apps, search engines, and voice assistants traveling consumers are using to find answers.
Recent research from Mckinsey has found that travelers looking for information directly in search have higher intent. The study found that people are increasingly beginning their searches for accommodation directly on search engines, and that travel shopping journeys which start on a search engine more quickly lead to a purchase than those which originate on the website of a particular hotel or travel agency brand.
When hopping between cities becomes hopping between devices.
Traveling can be an excellent reminder that this connected world still has its limitations. The hotel room wifi that connects to your phone without a hitch may inexplicably refuse to find your laptop. At the train station two towns over, you may experience the opposite trouble.
Driving along the highway, your friend’s phone may be able to successfully perform a reroute, while your GPS froze two wrong exits ago.
All of this means travelers hop between devices. A lot. But many businesses are not equipped to accommodate the omnichannel shopper, and cross-device customer journeys often take considerably more time and effort than those performed on a single device.
The same study by Mckinsey found that cross-device journeys take five days longer than single-device journeys, with 55% more sessions and 45% more digital touchpoints. Since tourists already lack the context of local knowledge, these added complications can cause major frustrations and delays.
Travel marketers should take particular care to create seamless experiences across desktop, mobile landing pages, and apps. But this is good practice for businesses of all kinds. As consumers increasingly rely on search engines, maps, apps, voice assistants, and other AI-driven discovery services, brands should ensure that the important facts about their business are accessible everywhere — not just on their own website.
Because whether a tourist is looking for a quick bite to eat, a much-needed headache remedy, a little pampering, or some local entertainment, chances are they will turn directly to search. Will your business show up when they do?
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*Yext Proprietary Study, February 2017