How to Make the Most of January Peak Travel Bookings
January can be a bit of a miserable month. It marks the end of the party season, time to take down the decorations, and return to work.
But, for the travel industry the January blues create a great opportunity. January has become the month when people plan their summer getaway. Many now spend the long dark nights searching online to book their perfect break.
In this blog post, we take a look at what travel marketers can do to make the most of January peak travel bookings. What tactics can you use to reach out to holidaymakers and prompt them to book with your brand?
Real-time weather updates
Showing the weather in far-flung locations can sometimes be enough to tempt people into booking. This is especially true in the winter months when many want to escape the UK’s dreary climate.
Real-time weather updates are a perfect way to create ‘weather envy’. They are great to feature on emails and websites during the peak booking time of January.
Showing live updates on the weather being enjoyed in resorts right now often triggers people to start their holiday search.
Behavioural targeting technology allows you to automatically pull in the data needed to showcase the warmest and most exotic resorts when it counts.
We really like this example featuring Bondi Beach which would certainly make us consider escaping the January blues.
Personalised search suggestions
It can be frustrating sifting through hundreds of unsuitable holiday options when you’re searching for your perfect break.
Marketers can use behavioural targeting software to cut the amount of time holidaymakers spend researching. They can use this to show personalised suggestions based on the customer’s previous interests and actions.
This sort of technology lets you track what’s been clicked and browsed before so you can display personal recommendations on both your website and emails. This ensures your marketing is always relevant to the person it’s being shown to.
It means you can give a completely bespoke search experience. This saves the potential traveller hours of research and reduces the amount of time it takes to convert a booking.
Virgin does a great job of sending emails that feature the destinations the recipient has recently searched for and browsed on their website. In this way, it delivers highly relevant email content as this example shows.
Once you’ve engaged a potential holidaymaker with eye-catching content it can still take time for them to book.
People often spend hours comparing options, browsing flights, and deciding on hotels. And the success of converting interest into a booking depends a lot on timing. It’s about reaching out to them at exactly the right moment.
Behavioural targeting takes the guesswork out of timing by sending communications at exactly the right moment.
You can track behaviour and then send automated emails when browsers abandon a booking, or leave the site to tempt them back to book.
You can even set it up to trigger an email when someone looks at a specific product. This way you’re able to send them targeted messages about limited availability, time limited discounts, or suitable alternatives.
Millennium Hotels does a good job of bringing customers back by jogging their memory with a timely reminder which prompts them to book.
Social proof is a good way of reinforcing the credibility of your brand and reassuring people about what they’re about to book.
Unbiased, genuine customer ratings and reviews can sometimes provide the tipping point between browsing and booking. This is especially true during the peak time of January when customers are poised to confirm their holiday plans.
You don’t need to have customer comments to use the power of the crowd to get people booking with you. Simply showing how many people are looking, or have booked the same product your potential customer is currently browsing, is sometimes enough to prompt action.
The fear of missing out on something that others are booking can reinforce credibility and be enough to secure that all important sale.
Both of these tactics can be achieved using behavioural targeting software to integrate relevant reviews and show how many people have booked or are viewing the same packages.
Countdown to book
There’s nothing like a little sense of urgency to get customers to confirm their plans.
It’s that fear of missing out again—the horrible idea of missing a great deal and having to start their research all over again. This often prompts people to bite the bullet and book.
Availability timers or promotion countdowns are a great tactic often used by airlines to alert potential bookers to limited availability or an offer expiring. In the peak time of January, they’re an incredibly valuable asset in both your email marketing and website content to prompt people to book.
It’s easy to use behavioural targeting software to send automated availability alerts based on previous search results, or show the countdown to an offer expiring. It’s these little prompts that push people to stop shopping around and make a definite booking with your brand.
This useful countdown timer providers potential travellers with a deadline in the hope they’ll feel urged to follow through:
All of these tactics can be used on travel websites and emails to produce timely and relevant prompts to book. They are effective ways to spark interest, increase engagement—and most importantly—drive bookings.
So, if you’re preparing your travel marketing for January, make sure you’re doing what you can to feature timely and relevant content that converts interest into bookings.
It’s not just a smart way to market, but the best way to bring your brand in from the cold as the travel market hots-up in the New Year.