Travel marketing suffers from a massive gap in expectations. On the one hand, many people view travel packages as a luxury and an escape from the monotony of everyday life, and on the other hand, once the buying experience for those same travel packages is littered with dull, uninspired landing pages that feel anything but luxurious. This is a problem. Bad landing page experiences do not convert, and in the age of digital advertising, there is a real monetary cost associated with people who drop. Within such a context, conversational landing pages could be the key to unlocking higher conversion rates, lower cost per lead and happier customers. Check out the full story below.
Within digital travel marketing, there are broadly speaking, two approaches at landing page design. The first, is the listings approach where you show prospects a plethora of alternatives to choose from.
In theory, this is a good way to sell packages because it gives prospects choice, and if there is anything online shopping has shown us over the last decade, it is that people like choice. Of course, this is a misnomer in the travel industry in particular. While there is ample evidence to suggest that vacation is a necessity in today’s fast-paced world, most people still view travel as a luxury. Having a wall of itineraries to choose from, however, presents vacation as a commodity and takes away a lot of the excitement of going on vacation. In simple terms, people want experiences that no one else has had, and choosing a package from a list completely undercuts that feeling. To make matters worse, the listing approach expects people to browse the listings, and buy the travel package immediately as if they are buying socks on Amazon, and most people just don’t work like that. They usually like to browse, and research for weeks before making a commitment, so expecting them to convert into a paid customer soon after they land on your page from a Google ad is idealistic at best.
This is where the second approach to landing pages comes into the picture. I like to call it the custom package approach. Rather than showing prospects all the available travel options on a single page, you present them with a lead capture form, that asks them for their preferences which are handed off to a travel agent who either matches them with an existing package or creates a custom package from scratch.
The custom package approach is certainly an improvement on the listings approach because it doesn’t commodify travel and it doesn’t expect prospects to make a payment immediately but it is far from perfect. The landing page above, for example, is a classic case of the expectations paradox which I mentioned earlier. On the one hand, it promises “custom tailored travel” to beautiful destinations in Europe and on the other hand, it uses an ugly looking form, which you’d be more accustomed to seeing in an auto insurance application process, to capture leads.
The end result is that travel marketers have to choose between two flawed and low converting approaches to generating business.
Conversational Landing Pages are an extension of the custom package approach to travel lead generation.
These pages transform the boring, form filling experience into a real conversation, and add some much-needed personality to the process.
The way I like to think about like the difference between getting info from a brochure vs getting that same info from a concierge. The information might be the same, but the experience of talking to a concierge just feels better.
This offers them a truly bespoke travel experience that allows you to truly live up to the promises that your companies make about providing unique experiences. In return, prospects will reward you with a 2-3x increase in conversion rate and a considerably lower cost per lead.
Arnav is the Director of Content Marketing at Tars. He spends most days building bots, writing about conversational design and scrolling through Giphy’s trending section looking for the gifs that go into the Tars Newsletter.