The hotel business is fiercely competitive these days. This is because consumers have so much information at their disposal. Booking a hotel doesn't happen without the preceding research process, and people can do a tremendous amount of research instantly. In fact, 89% of online consumers use search engines when making a purchase decision. The winners in the battle for the "book now" click are the ones who understand their buyer personaand the buyer's journey. Let's walk through a real example of the millennial buyer's journey.
It started a couple weeks ago when my girlfriend and I decided that we needed ideas for a cost-effective Labor Day weekend getaway. As is often the case when it comes to making travel plans, she kicked things off: "I've never been to Lake Champlain," also, "My friends tell me Newport, Rhode Island is a blast that weekend."
Those sounded like fun getaways, but which one worked best for us?
Again, we needed to keep things relatively cheap (hey, we're in our mid-twenties and have been spending too much money lately), and also required ample time to explore the area once we got there. After looking at some initial prices, it made sense to book one overnight instead of the whole weekend. Additionally, to make sure precious vacation time wouldn't be wasted in a car, we looked up both destinations on a map. Lake Champlain=whoops, 5 hours away; Newport=2 hours away. There you have it, Newport it is!
After we exhausted the Groupon and Living Social deals, we turned to Trip Advisor and Google Hotels to examine the breadth of bed and breakfast listings for price a quality. We scanned the reviews, many of them glowing with exclamations of tea, cookies and friendly greetings! Others didn't shimmer so much, lamenting that the breakfast eggs were cold, coupled with delightful snapshots of stained blankets.
After narrowing the list of options to three, we perused each hotel's website for the official details and more photos. We performed our final comparisons, considering price, amenities, and proximity to local attractions. Then, booking dot yeah! We reserved our room on said website.
Reflecting on this experience and how it relates to inbound marketing, I realized we went through the typical buyer's journey.
It started with the awareness stage. We were in the early stages of defining our general problem: What do we do for our Labor Day weekend mini-vacation? Then came the consideration stage.This involved narrowing down our problem, and that was finding a bed and breakfast in Newport. When we reached the all important decision stage of the buyer's jouney, it was about comparing the different hotel options and finding the best combination of price, quality, and location.
As a digtal marketer, the best way to take advantage of the buyer's journey is through the inbound marketing methodology. If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact us!