In 2016, Google released an interactive infographic conceptualising the five stages of travel. These outline the five different phases that all travellers will experience whilst they are planning and experiencing a trip. It is pivotal for hotels to know and understand the importance of each stage, so they can maximise their interactions with potential customers, as well as ensure customers are returning.
Stage 1: The dreaming
Every trip begins with a sparked interest. That interest can come from anywhere: a social media post, TV advert, news article etc. Something will inspire the traveller and make them want to visit that specific location. A study by MDG Advertising showed that social media is the main platform that begins the dreaming stage of travel, with 42% of consumers using it for travel inspiration. If you want to utilise the dreaming stage of travel and get consumers interested in booking your hotel – the best way is via social media. Post Instagram photos of your hotel rooms, your hotel’s location, and local attractions. Make your hotel the most desirable in the area. You want your consumer to begin the next stage of travel as soon as they spot your hotel.
Stage 2: The planning
Google statistics show that consumers will visit around 20 different sites to find their perfect hotel. This is why it’s important to utilise your social media platforms and keep them active. Make sure there is a direct link to your hotel’s website on your social media pages. This means that as soon as the consumer has been through your content they can immediately begin the booking process for your hotel. Additionally, you must make sure your SEO is high so that consumers can easily google your hotel and find you straight away.
Stage 3: The booking
Once the consumer has reached your hotel page, you have almost confirmed the booking. It is vital that your web page is easy to navigate, or consumers will look for an alternative hotel with a simpler booking process. Make sure that your booking process is as simple and painless for the consumer as possible. The faster the booking process, the higher the satisfaction of your consumer. Once the booking is complete, it’s always a good idea to send a confirmation email to your guest, and a follow-up email closer to the time of their stay. Interaction with the consumer is key.
Step 4: The experiencing
Once the customer has booked your hotel it is important that you meet their expectations when they arrive. The outcome of a customer’s experience is largely reliant on the staff and experience they have at your hotel. The better their experience, the more likely they will be to return and to leave you positive feedback. Make sure you are checking up on their stay. You may want to offer them things to do in the area. Be informative. Every little touch will count towards their feedback at the end.
Step 5: The sharing
After your customer has left the hotel, they will hopefully post about their experience on social media. Instagram is considerably useful for getting good feedback. If a customer posts a photo of themselves in your hotel room and tags your hotel in the image along with a nice caption, more people are likely to book your hotel. If they see a picture of your hotel on their Instagram feed with a recommendation, then there is a high chance that they will consider booking with you. The sharing stage of one traveller’s experience begins the dreaming stage for another.
How can Swayy help?
Here at Swayy, we can help to match your hotel with influencers. They will visit your hotel and create content that will be posted on their social media channels. This will open up your hotel to a whole new market of potential travellers in the dreaming or planning stages of their travel. Once they see your hotel on an influencer’s feed, they will more than likely want to stay with you.