Do you have communication tools plugged into your travel website that make it easy for clients to contact you?
One of the points that Lucas and Maria-Claudia spoke about during our webinar on Website and Payment Must-Haves to Maximize Tour Conversions was interacting with customers online to help them during the discovery/booking process.
There will be times when they want to reach out and ask about a tour, travel offering, or product. You really need to be there and be available if they need assistance while gathering this information.
The reality is that COVID has accelerated the world’s adoption of technology. A study by LivePerson, Inc shows that 71% of people expect to be able to access help when purchasing online within 5 minutes.
This means that if your clients want to make a direct booking on your website but can’t find the information they need, or if there is no way to easily get hold of you, there is a risk that they will lose interest and leave your website.
In this post, we will discuss the customer communication tools you need to ensure that this doesn’t happen. If you want to listen to the webinar, click on the video below.
Touchpoints Where You Need To Be Available
Tour operators have their work cut out when it comes to winning over clients. Travelers shop around and visit up to 18 websites on multiple devices in eight online sessions before making a booking.
In the case that a traveler sees your OTA listing, they would normally visit your website to compare the prices. First prize would be securing a direct booking to avoid paying commissions. However, according to Phocuswire, the average conversion rate for direct bookings is around 1%.
Whatever the circumstances, and even if you offer private tours only, taking steps to ensure that your travel website is the one they choose to book on means having the right features, such as online reservations, and an online experience that earns travelers’ trust.
Failing to do so could result in your bookings walking out the door.
A great way to earn trust is to be available. To have the information that potential customers need ready at the right time. To be transparent in every touchpoint.
Their online touchpoints with your business could be when they:
- are in the discovery phase during search and research
- have landed on your website from elsewhere online
- are ready to process a booking
- need detailed information before departure
- want to leave feedback after travel has taken place
These moments can occur on your website, your social channels, or on a linked partner website where your information is displayed.
What Do Client Communication Tools Do
It is impossible to be available all the time or have enough staff to attend to queries as they come in. Even if the load is manageable now, when travel does resume and the volume of inquiries increases, it won’t be then.
This is where the website communication tools come in. They are solutions to help travel companies and tour operators stay in contact with clients online.
Communication tools can perform actions such as:
- notify customers that you are not online with an auto-responder, and then provide them with alternate options such as to contact you, leave a message, or discover your tours.
- guide website visitors to your best selling tour pages
- assist when clients are stuck or don’t know what to do on your website
- guide people through the payment process
- proactively offer live chat to website visitors
- be a customer support channel
- handle multiple conversations at once
We touch on the various uses in a bit more detail in this blog post, but just generally speaking, the tools help to keep travelers engaged, leading to more conversions.
Although some may require an initial investment, the benefits of increasing conversions and better customer support can outweigh this.
Communication Tools To Help Travel Companies Connect With Clients and Convert Bookings
These are a few examples that Maria-Claudia spoke about in the webinar, along with other popular solution providers. Note that these are not brands that WeTravel works with.
Calendly – if clients want a meeting with you, then Calendly allows them to set a time and date which matches your availability without any back and forth.
Live Chat Solutions
Fibotalk – a low-friction live chat solution that gives your customers a way to interact with you in real-time online. It appears as a chat bubble on the person’s screen and integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
When you are offline, it provides an offline form to fill out.
LiveAgent – an allrounder, LiveAgent has real-time chat, built-in contact forms, Facebook and Twitter integration, video call option, and more.
Reply – a host of companies that specialize in solutions related to eCommerce.
Clo – virtual assistant and AI platform that provides your customers with fast, direct, and accurate answers on any device or channel. It knows when to look for a knowledge base answer, when to ask for clarity, and when to direct the client to a member of your team.
Mobile Monkey – this drag and drop chatbot builder allows you to create your own chatbot and rules to integrate with Live Chat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and more.
It has a host of built-in templates available and can be used for marketing, lead generation, customer support, and live chat.
Mention – this application monitors mentions of your brand online. When customers leave a review somewhere, it notifies you. In turn, you can respond to thank them or have your say.
Reviews are a big part of building trust online, with many people only choosing to book if they are happy with what they see.
Not To Be Overlooked
We delve into messaging apps in greater detail in this post. Briefly though, don’t overlook the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
You can integrate these directly as a chat solution for your website, and they provide a convenient method of communication, especially as most people use these applications already. There are many free integration solutions for you to choose from as well.
Lastly, an inquiry form and contact us page are also key to simple communication. It won’t hurt to have every communication option available to your clients.
Connecting with people online at the right time and place can make all the difference when it comes to nudging bookings through.
Communication tools are a solution to help you give great support that leads to a conversion.