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May 9th, 2024

Travel & Tourism: The impact consideration stage has towards purchase during peak times.

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You might be fooled into thinking that we make a purchase based solely on our cognitive thoughts alone. Believe it or not, there are many different purchasing factors that we all evaluate without even realising they exist.

As marketers, we’re firmly aware of marketing funnel models such as AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) that have been universally used since the turn of the 20th century. Some of us might find it helpful to refer to the classic ToFu, MoFu, or BoFu (top, middle, or bottom of the funnel) when considering a specific approach and audience, but the section of the funnel that’s always held my interest is the ‘consideration’ phase. Pre-purchase, it’s this part of the funnel where we spend most of our time, and it’s also the part of the funnel where external influences play a critical role.

When we review purchasing behaviour through the lens of the travel sector, many factors have both a negative and positive impact on the ‘consideration’ phase. We’re all creatures of habit (and I’m the same) we literally wait for the credits to roll on the obligatory Christmas movie and we’re all dual-screening for some summer sun.

However, at this time of year, the options seem endless. We are bombarded with a full spectrum of travel brand ads, as big travel retailers know this is the key season to influence your decision-making. So, as a travel retailer, what can you say and do to influence purchase? And as a consumer, what am I looking for? What’s preventing me from hitting the book now button?

There are technically five main factors that influence consumer behaviour, these are:

Psychological Factors – these include motivation and inner drive, previous experiences and learnings, attitudes and beliefs, and perception of the brand.

Social Factors – These include influencers in the purchasing decision, reference groups such as celebrity or 3rd party endorsement, and status; can the product be viewed as one that would elevate status by association?

Cultural Factors – These can include personal values, perceptions, and social classes, such as Gen Z being more likely to book one brand or experience over another.

Personal Factors – These include things like demographics and psychographics (age, gender, lifestyle, and interests).

Economics Factors – These factors include things like personal income, the current economic situation, and personal savings.

Whilst we go through the various steps within the funnel, weighing up various options that are very personal to us, one thing is obvious – the impact of consideration at this stage is huge, and why? Because the impact of getting it wrong is bigger!

If we look at the consideration phase and the various things we’re weighing up with our annual summer holiday, these are just some of the pretty extensive lists that we may be thinking about:

  • Location – how far are we willing to travel – UK staycation or further afield?
  • Accommodation options – Hotel, Airbnb, holiday rental, villa
  • Food options – All inclusive, Half Board, B&B
  • Local area – lively, quiet, accessible, distance from the airport
  • Price – ££ or ££££
  • T&C – cancellation options, deposit requirement, upfront costs

The bottom line is this, when the cost is higher (which it will be for the family summer holiday), the risks associated with the booking will be higher. What this does, is influence a longer research period, more consideration, more trailing through TripAdvisor reading countless reviews, and more Google reviews – all in aid of making sure the one annual family event of the year; the family holiday is a great success!

So, what?

What does this mean for your brand? Well with longer consideration and more competition in the market, comes higher costs to serve ads, and to drive traffic or conversions.

As consumers, we’re not being spontaneous, and we’re not necessarily responding to a low-price promotion or being transactional. We’re taking our time, researching all available and suitable options to make sure it’s the right holiday for our needs, and this heightened demand for our attention and our purchase creates a higher cost-per-purchase overall.

We’ve regularly seen this trend through the various tourism paid media campaigns that we’ve delivered. Be that international or domestic, young affluent families seeking fun, activity-fuelled adventure, or cultured explorers trying to find a hidden gem in rural Ireland – when demand is high, and consideration long, the costs to achieve that purchase will ultimately increase.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, otherwise, why would travel brands all over the country choose to launch their annual brand campaign on Boxing Day?

In 2023, 89% of all 18-24 year olds went on holiday, but this figure rises to 92% with young families (0-5) and to 94% with older families (5+). In fact, overall, in 2023 84% of people went on a holiday, and the average number of holidays taken was 3.4.

When demand is high, so is the intention, and as I’ve already alluded to, the cost of the purchase is generally higher at this time of the year. With this in mind, whilst some brands may well pepper the airwaves with ads throughout the year, it’s the late December, January, and February bookings that will typically deliver the higher average order values, over the shorter to consider, weekend breaks or shorter stays.

Having delivered paid media campaigns for brands such as Transport for Wales, Cadw, Zip World, Bluestone, the Celtic Routes, and Visit Wales, we’re no stranger to these types of trends. What we’ve experienced is that when the costs to reach audiences and cost to purchase is higher, there’s a greater need to maximise budgets through a combination of strong, impactful creative that really packs a punch and resonates with the audience, along with a media strategy that narrows down the audience through innovative technologies.

These strategies use robust targeting parameters to reach the bulls eye audience, and can gain attention, by creating a memorable and often emotive interaction between the brand and the recipient. By creating these efficiencies, you allow brands to be in market without the hefty price tag that could well be associated with travel and tourism campaigns at this time of year.

In a recent brand campaign for one of our tourism clients, which included creative development, execution, and paid media, we were able to increase their YoY revenue by 44%, with a marketing ROI of  8.6:1, which given the impact of COVID is still rippling through the travel sector, the results were great to see.

Are you a travel brand looking to get ahead of the coming season?

Drop us a line.

Source: Shiksha Online, Sprout social, ABTA Holiday Habits 2023-24