Shopping has always been social – whether we’re buying a camera, booking a holiday or renting a car. Since the first transactions in the earliest marketplaces, people bought from people and discussed their decisions with other people.
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 2IntroductionShopping has always been social – whether we’re buying The real winners in the social age will be those who “Customers have beena camera, booking a holiday or renting a car. Since the first harness the full power of the crowd not just on their owntransactions in the earliest marketplaces, people bought site, but through the entire booking journey. providing user-generatedfrom people and discussed their decisions with other content for a decadepeople. That’s what this ebook is all about: weaving social engagement into every step of the new booking journey to through reviews, forumBut the first era of online booking sites dispensed with all make it easy for people to book with you – and to share posts, uploading photos, etc.that. As travel booking became de-personalised, we all their great experience with others.browsed and clicked through isolated, human-free travel Sharing tools now enablesites... and abandoned all too many bookings. The ideas discussed here are based on our experience more eyeballs to see this fab as a world-leading social commerce company. BecauseToday, social commerce is back in a big way. The travel we see so many crowd-powered transactions across so content, and even better, theindustry has fully embraced the power of the crowd, and many different vendor, brand and social websites, we have eyeballs know the fingersit’s hard to find a serious travel site that doesn’t have a unique perspective on consumer behaviour. By sharingsome form of traveller reviews, recommendations or user- it, we hope to help marketers raise their game – which who created the content.”generated content. also helps travellers find the very best trip for their specific Linda Bustos needs. Win-win. GetElasticIt’s not rocket science: social commerce works because itbrings the human element back, so that every booking isthe result of a complex network of conversations betweenfriends, fellow travellers and brands.But, while social commerce has never been more importantin travel, many companies think it’s enough to out-sourcethis key feature to third-party sites. Instead of engagingwith would-be bookers and regular guests on their ownsites and across the web, they’re sending them awayto another site. And then wondering why visitors don’tcome back to their site to book and why, if they’re ‘doingsocial’, they’re not seeing as much extra traffic or as manybookings as they’d like.
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 3The old booking The new bookingjourney journeyIt’s hard to believe, but only a few years ago, the booking journey was a pretty straight line. Today’s booking journeys are multi-channel, multi-step pathways that reflect the uniqueWe knew what we wanted; we went to one travel agent, or one trusted travel company; and motivations and dynamics of each traveller and each trip.we booked. From the outside, it looks like the map of a pinball: random, chaotic, rudder-less. But fromSeems almost quaint, doesn’t it? the booker’s perspective, each path is actually a fairly logical, goal-directed exploration of the web’s rich content universe and the wide range of mobile and offline touchpoints.The old idea of a ‘booking funnel’ that the marketer drives from start to finish has given wayto something new. Of course, no two paths to booking are identical. There are almost as many unique paths as there are bookings. But as diverse as these journeys may be, a pattern is emerging that lets us distil some principles from this mess.
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 4The new booking journey is:Fast Search-enabled Social Today’s booking journeys aren’t always confined to the web. Offline channels – from agents to consumer travel showsWith all the channels available to them, Many booking journeys start with a search Above all, today’s booking journey is social and traditional advertising – still playpeople can continue their research on the engine, but nearly all involve several – fuelled by reviews, recommendations, their part. And mobile apps are playingmove and outside offline business hours. searches, whether on Google or an ‘Ask a guest’ services, Facebook visits an increasingly important ‘bridging’ roleThe result? The whole booking journey is on-site search. and Twitter queries. between online and offline touchpoints.speeding up. You need to understand your keyword You need to master social commerce The most progressive marketers areIf you can’t respond quickly to behaviour dynamics and make sure your site is content – on your own site and beyond. deploying integrated, multi-channelthat signals the intent to book, you’re out optimised with plenty of social content. campaigns that combine online, offlineof the game. and mobile into a seamless journey.
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 5The new booking journey is:Complex Booker-driven Multi-channel “The reality is that just like most other things in life,From the first daydreams to the check-in, Yesterday’s path was heavily guided by Today’s booking journeys hop from there is no one thing thatmost booking journeys involve much more the vendor. Today’s is booker-initiated search engine to social site to mobilethan just a single visit to one website. And and self-directed. You can influence it, app, offline travel agent and back. makes something happen.the more expensive or important the trip, but you can’t drive it. They often involve multiple booking People use a variety ofthe more complex the process. and destination sites, plus review sites, The key is to be helpful to the traveller, expert blogs and mobile services. methods to make decisionsYou need to be ready to convert interest making it easy for them to find exactly You need to be in the right place at the using a combination of toolsinto action in many different ways. what they need instead of trying to frog- right time with the right content. march them to the booking page. and resources.” Frank Reed Marketing Pilgrim ￼￼
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 6The new booking journeyWithout ignoring the incredible diversity of booking journeys, it is possible to represent the The key decisions and research stagesentire decision cycle in a simplified model that breaks the journey down into four decisionsteps and four research stages. Each of the four decision points either triggers or is triggered by a research phase. The decision points are, as the name implies, moments in time when people’s mindsets move to the next level of the booking cycle. The research stages are more prolonged and might extend over days, weeks or months.Identify a need Intent decision Destination decision BookingThe moment you realize there’s The moment when you realise You’ve made your mind up. You Tickets are booked, roomsa trip, package or destination that yes, you’re going to book and your partner are going to reserved. Now to start shoppingout there that might be just what and do it soon. Rome for two weeks in April. for sunglasses and guide books.you need. Need shaping Shortlisting Company selection Post-booking validation The stage in which you Where you start to narrow Now how are you getting Now you need start to add dimension to down your choices of type there, and where will you reassurance that you did your desires and to plan of trip and destination, first stay? Which airline from the right thing (if only to when, where and how. in big chunks, then down which airport? Which justify it to your partner or to the final few. hotel? family).
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 7Your experience may varyOf course, there is no such booking journey in real life.Some journeys proceed in an orderly way through each of these steps.Others start with the travel company (“I really fancy another Cunard cruise”);the hotel (“I enjoyed staying there on my last business trip”); or the type of trip(“Where has the best snow this season?”).Some journeys go from left to right in the model, others swim upstreamor dance around.It’s still useful to analyse a generic booking journey, because it helps ussee that:• ach stage has its own traveller needs and its own set of questions E• ach involves different kinds of resources E• ach requires a different approach for marketers E• ach needs a different kind of social commerce content E
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 8The booking journey question mapWhat are the key touchpoints as people move through The implicationsthe booking journey? If people ask different questions as they progress through their booking journey, shouldn’t you have different kinds of answers for them? And shouldn’t you know where they go to get help?Identify a need Intent decision Destination decision Booking Need shaping Shortlisting Company selection Post-booking validation What’s out there? What type of trip do I Where did I book last Did I make the right want? time? decision? What can I afford? How long will it be? Where can I get the best Did I get a good price? When can I go and for deal? how long? What do other travellers Should I upgrade my room think? Who do I trust? or seat? Where have my friends been? What do experts think? Do other travellers or Can I help other bookers bookers have any advice? the way people helped Is it suitable for kids? me?
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 9The booking journey resource mapWhat channels and tools do people use at each stageof the booking journey?Identify a need Intent decision Destination decision Booking Need shaping Shortlisting Company selection Post-booking validation Search engines Agents Hotel sites Social networks Social networks Travel companies’ websites Airline/train/ferry sites Expert sites Talk to friends Social networks Comparison sites Destination sites Expert media Destination sites Agents Final booking site Expert media
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 10The social commerce dividendSocial commerce refers to any time advice or interactions This booker engagement delivers significant benefits Conversion rateswith other travellers or brands is used to help people book all through the customer lifecycle, including increase by 177% whena trip. That advice can come in many forms, including consumers engage with Increased traffic through providing content that search social content.• otel and destination reviews H engines love (our research indicates around a third more)• eviews of the service of booking sites R Reevoo Insight research, Increased conversion rates as more people have the 2011• QAs between bookers confidence to purchase (up to twice as high)• Brand interaction forums Increased booking value as each shopper spends more• ocial media sites S (with an average 5% uplift)The power of social content as a way to increase Happier guests because they made the right choiceengagement along the whole purchase path is supportedby extensive research and the first-hand experience of Fewer cancallations and less lost revenuecountless travel companies. Improved loyalty and higher lifetime value from all of the above Better customer insight when you listen and engage with bookers Taking control of traveller reviews We won’t bury you in statistics here, but if you need some data to support a business case, give us a call. So how do you claim all these benefits for your business – and prevent them leaking away to third- party review sites? Find out in our best practice guide. Download it here
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 11The social commercespheres of influenceMost companies understand the Social networksimportance of reviews – but plenty of themstill don’t see the need to have socialcontent on their own sites. Even moreignore the full range of places where social Brochures The web Hotelcontent can make an impact. Just as the pagesnew social booking journey involves many Destinationdifferent kinds of content, it also crosses pagesmultiple channels, including: Agents Package Offline Your website pages Travel shows Booking Search engines process Search Advertising pages Comparison sites Social commerce sites Mobile45% of UK consumers usetheir mobiles to researchpurchases on the move Social commerce appsCapgemini, Online Cars2011-2012
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 12Your Website Mobile devices The wider web OfflineThe only place you fully control and the Mobiles are fast becoming a major stop You need to extend your social content Social commerce content is making anmost important place for a well-executed on an increasing number of booking beyond the confines of your site, to impact in the ‘bricks and mortar’ world too,social commerce strategy. journeys. And the younger the traveller, reach out to people at all stages of the as companies extend their great reviews the more likely they are to consult their booking journey. offline.Think about mobile. Social content that ignores the mobile channel is missing an important Think about Think aboutReviews on hotel or package pages opportunity. Making it easy for people to publish Including reviews and scores in brochuresDestination reviews on ‘hub pages’ Think about reviews to Facebook and Twitter Featuring quotes from reviews inReviews of your customer care on the Ensuring social commerce content is advertisinghome page and booking pages Making sure your social content transfers search-engine friendly to boost rankings to your mobile web pages Displaying reviews on-location to captureSocial trip recommendations (“popular Broadcasting your reviews to destination walk-in bookingsday trips for guests at this hotel”) Creating mobile apps that encourage sites, publishers and blogs social bookingTraveller-to-traveller QA service Featuring social commerce content on Making reviews accessible forA ‘brand response’ channel so you can your social media pages smartphones from brochures and agentsjoin the dialogueUsing reviews scores or quotes in emailsIn one typical case, Social content and SEOemail click through ratesimproved 46% through the Check out our free ebook on usinginclusion of review scores. social content to enhance your SEO strategy for lots of tips on improvingFly Research online survey, rankings and increasing traffic.2011 Download it here
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 13Socialising your 1 Landing pages Win back traffic from third-party review‘booking funnel’ sites and increase click-through rates with landing pages enriched with traveller reviews. Destination pages 2 Reviews and traveller-to-traveller QAAs we take a closer look at the journey within your own website, the ‘funnel’ capture people’s attention (and their clicks)metaphor can become useful again. But many businesses ignore most of at the very start of the booking journey.this on-site funnel when deploying social commerce solutions – confiningreviews to just a few pages. The best performers spread social content Hotel pagesthroughout their websites, encouraging and accelerating bookings. 3 Traveller reviews mean more revenue. Recommendations and booker-to-booker conversations also play a powerful on-page role. Packages 4 Package selection pages are the perfect place for social recommendations. Booking pages 5 Service reviews minimise abandonment by removing last-minute doubts.
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 14Socialising the entirebooking journey The implications Social content can make an impact far beyond just a few pages on your site – if your social commerce strategy uses this precious content everywhere.Identify a need Intent decision Destination decision Booking Need shaping Shortlisting Company selection Post-booking validation Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Hotel, package and destination reviews Destination reviews on landing pages Service reviews on-site and on-mobile Review content on site and on social sites optimised for search Three-way conversations with other Reviews on hotel, package and Proactive post-trip review request Reviews shared on social media sites bookers and your team destination pages Social sharing of reviews Social content in agents and brochures Socialised recommendations Three-way conversations with other Invitation to participate in traveller-to- Broadcasting reviews to expert media bookers and your team Review content on mobile devices traveller QA Review content on social media sites Social network presence with social content Social content in agents and brochures Social content in agents and brochures Review content on mobile devices
REEVOO THE NEW SOCIAL BOOKING JOURNEY 15Go forth and socialiseIf you’ve taken one thing away from this ebook, we hope it’s this: thenew booking journey works much harder for you if you can inject social “Social media is nowcommerce content at every stage and in all spheres of influence. a ‘wherever I am’ option,We hope the social booking journey model also proves useful as you think integrated into the mobile-about where you can engage travellers and what kind of content is mosteffective at each step and stage. plus-social-media users’Finally, we hope we’ve widened your idea of what social commerce can be shopping experience and– it starts with hotel reviews but extends much further, into service reviews, habits; 27% compare orsocial recommendations and three-way conversations between travellers,past bookers and your team – used on your site, across the web, on mobile check prices, 24% referdevices and offline. to reviews for brands/At Reevoo, we’re passionate about social commerce, and its potential to places/services”help businesses get to know their guests better, so they can attract, engageand retain customers in the short- and long-term. And we understand Neil Glassmanhow to adapt social tools to achieve businesses’ desired results, and help Social Timesbusinesses adapt to a traveller’s individual booking journey. So do get intouch – we’d love the opportunity to take you through our unique approach Figures from ‘The Faces of Social Media’,and show how it can help you drive new revenue. Knowledge Networks, 2010 ￼￼
About ReevooConversations about your business are already taking place across the weband offline, shaping consumer opinions. Reevoo enables you to join those “Travellers should knowconversations so you can attract, engage and retain more customers. Our what other people genuinelysocial commerce suite provides reviews, recommendations and communitysolutions that have an immediate impact on your bottom line, and turn thought of their own, similarfeedback into insights that can guide your business. trip, without worrying thatMore than 750,000,000 Reevoo-collected reviews and conversations are the review might not be allused every month across 18 countries. Founded in 2005, Reevoo haspioneered a unique social commerce model that continues to deliver far it seems. We’re delightedbetter results than the industry standard for brands including Sony, Ford, to be leading the way inDixons, Orange, Kuoni and Kelkoo. our sector by making that possible with Reevoo.” Octopus TravelGet in touchE: firstname.lastname@example.orgT: +44 (0)20 7654 0350W: www.reevoo.com