The period after the December-January break is when people start dreaming about their next holiday, says MyTravelResearch.com, providing an opportunity for travel marketers to inspire dreamers into making bookings.
“Many tourism businesses don’t enjoy marketing,” says Carolyn Childs, co-founder and strategist for the company. “They prefer to focus on delivering the experience. But to the potential customer, the first touch point is part of the experience. If a travel brand is not there at the dreaming stage, they will likely miss out altogether.”
MyTravelResearch.com defines the “path to purchase” as dreaming, planning, booking, anticipating, en route, at destination, and post-holiday sharing. It’s not often as linear as that, but travel destinations need to make their presence felt at each step.
At the dreaming stage, Childs says the more emotional and engaging content is, the more it will prove “sticky” and get travellers to move from dreaming to planning and booking.”
Childs shows that ideas and actions on the path to purchase can loop back. For example, there are three ways people enjoy a holiday: anticipating, experiencing and remembering. The remembering part drives future behaviour (such as return visits) or inspires dreaming about travel among friends and colleagues.
With the early dreaming stage marketing visuals critical, the company says travel promotion needs to evoke a positive emotion. Research shows that enticing colour in marketing images often acts as a trigger to book. Citing research by Xerox, MyTravelResearch.com shared that coloured visuals increase a person’s willingness to read content by 80 per cent. Colour boosts recall by 82 per cent.
The link between videos and dreaming is clear, MyTravelResearch.comsays. A Google/ICT Ipsos study shows that 51 per cent of leisure travellers are inspired by online travel videos, 69 per cent of business travellers and 55 per cent of affluent travellers.
The company further stresses that the time frame between dreaming and booking varies. For major trips it can be months. For short breaks the dreaming to booking phase may take place the same day. Sometimes a booking can be triggered by a hot deal, but the person has to have been dreaming about the destination to some extent beforehand.