FIGHT FOR FLIGHT: ENGAGING TRAVEL CONSUMERS

Today, the travel industry is inundated with competitors and information. Consumers have a myriad of options that leave them often overwhelmed. Competition between airlines, destinations and reservation providers is cutthroat. That said, with effective communication tools and messaging, top of mind is not out of reach.

The most common complaint in the travel industry is pricing. Currently there is a huge debate in the news around the website “Skiplagged.” Founder Aktarer Zaman uses a “Hidden City” strategy to provide travellers cheaper airfaires. Aktarer is only 22 and the service is completely complimentary, offered as a service to travellers. Its success has drawn the eye of litigators for United Airlines and Orbitz who are now suing Zaman for his effort’s impact.

To counter travel assist sites like Skiplagged it is critical for Airlines and destinations to offer then clearly  communicate their value proposition to consumers. Typically travellers are looking for better pricing. Most don’t expect better service. Therefore, you must make sure your service is worthy (value for them equals value for us).

Offering incentives and insights are also key for attracting your target audience. Perhaps when signing up for your mobile app or newsletter, consumers are offered some type of discount or deal for signing up for a hashtag program or a prepaid card. But make sure you’re not only selling deals. Sell your expertise and craft your message around this.

The design of your site (responsive online, tablet and mobile versions) should be easy to use. But with so many free apps out there and less storage space, consumers will only keep whatever apps they find most useful. Therefore, it is important to offer regular tips, personalized information and valuable content to make sure consumers keep your app front and centre.

A positive and trusted reputation is also critical. Press coverage, LinkedIn endorsements and user reviews are ways to help build a trusted brand. Social media engagement is also a great tool. Social media should be less about selling and more about engaging your followers with helpful tips and knowledge.

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