As travel demand went up and down throughout 2020, we engaged dedicated teams to find new ways of encouraging travelers to get back out there when the time was right. One especially successful project looked at how we identify travelers interested in beach, ski, and nature-related trips in particular, and how we can optimize the content and messaging we offer them in order to inspire them to book. Group Product Manager Sina Mirgun outlines what this work involved and how it has contributed to increasing reservations for many of our partners around the world.
Click. What have we done to enhance the experience of travelers booking specific trip types?
Mirgun: Most of what we’ve done so far has been enriching the content we provide to help travelers decide on a destination and a property. We’ve been doing this for beach and ski vacations for some time, and we’re rolling it out for outdoor nature-focused trips, too, made more important than ever by evolving traveler preferences throughout the pandemic. Our more recent focus has been to make sure we serve this content to travelers throughout their journey of thinking about a vacation. That involves including it everywhere from advertisements travelers see while still dreaming about a trip, to dedicated landing pages once they’re narrowing down their plans, then in the search results and on the property page once they’re deciding where to book.
We know those booking a beach or ski vacation look for different amenities and services than other travelers, such as a private beach area for hotel guests or on-site ski equipment rentals. So we use a wealth of data to better showcase properties’ unique selling points likely to be of particular interest to beach and ski travelers. Labels such as “beachfront” in the search results and the property page help us to do this, as does highlighting some of the most popular and relevant facilities on the property page.
We also enrich and contextualize the process of choosing a property by offering detailed info and reviews about nearby beaches, along with the distance from each property, which enables us to spotlight properties that are especially conveniently located. In addition, rich, realistic photos are especially valuable, so we’ve commissioned extensive visual content that allows travelers to imagine they’re already in the destination. We also developed trip-specific search sorters and filters, such as for properties that are beachfront or have a private beach, ski-to-door properties, and those with ski rental available.
Click.: How do you work out what kind of trip a traveler wants in the first place?
Mirgun: A combination of approaches is at play here. Existing destination data—provided by partners and in guest reviews—helps us understand, for example, that if you’re traveling to Norway, it’s probably not primarily for a beach vacation, whereas if you’re going to a Greek island then it likely is.
At a more zoomed-in level we know, for instance, that although Barcelona has great beaches, that’s not the main reason most people visit. Travelers searching for Barcelona are equally or even more interested in historical and cultural sites, or the food scene. But if they’re searching for Albufeira in Portugal, chances are they’re dreaming of a lounge chair on the sand. Once we understand what travelers have planned for their trip, we can serve up the relevant content they need to be able to make booking decisions.
We also target travelers who are more explicitly searching online for beach or ski vacations in particular destinations using marketing disciplines including SEO and PPC. Our landing pages, like this one, dedicated to these specific kinds of vacations in locations worldwide let us offer more travel inspiration than our main platform is designed to. We tailor this to the kind of trip they’re interested in, including equipping them with relevant info like—for a beach destination—the months of the year when it’s likely to be sunny. This way, they can make an informed decision and book the property that’s best for what they’re looking for.
Finally, we know some travelers are more flexible about their destination – they simply want to hit a beach, go skiing, or get out in nature. We’re developing other ways to pick up on hints these travelers drop about what they’re looking for, so we can make their experience on our platform more relevant and ultimately increase the likelihood they’ll book a stay.
Click.: How do our property partners benefit from all this?
Mirgun: In short, without any extra effort or investment needed from partners, we’re providing them with extra content on their property page and about their destination. That makes their beach, ski, or nature-related unique selling points stand out more to travelers, which translates into greater conversion. Even if they don’t book right away, guests who encounter this kind of rich, value-added content are more likely to come back again for another look.
We squeeze even more benefit from this content for our partners by using it in our marketing campaigns in two ways: First by reigniting interest from previously active users of our platform, using content tailored to the kind of trips their booking history tells us they’re interested in. And second, by attracting brand new users and turning them into guests for our partners.
Click.: How can partners help us to help them?
Mirgun: These optimizations are largely powered by property and destination classifications—marking them as places that are great for beach, ski, or nature vacations, as well as the related filters—that start with a mix of information from our partners and guest reviews. To help us develop accurate, relevant destination info—and to prioritize sourcing additional content about their location based on where we see the most demand—the most important thing partners can do is to keep their property’s info up to date in the Extranet’s “Facilities” section. The more accurate that info is, the better we can help partners convert guests by showcasing the beach, ski, or nature-specific facilities and services they offer.
- Data from our partners, together with guest reviews, helps us match destinations and properties with beach, ski, and nature trips
- Once we understand what kind of trip a traveler is likely to be interested in, we provide relevant inspirational and practical content
- This boosts bookings for our partners by showcasing amenities relevant to that trip type and so enhancing traveler conversion
- We use this content in our marketing to reactivate existing users interested in particular trip types and to engage brand new audiences
- Make sure your property’s info is up to date in the Extranet’s “Facilities” so we can help you stand out