Investing in a good UX strategy can be the perfect solution to retain customers in the digital world. The online travel industry is becoming a crucial part of the travel and tourism sector. Each day users switch from offline to online and stay that way.
Companies keep hearing about the power of online travel tools and how mobile search rates have grown in the past year. In fact, there are so many studies about digital travel trends that it is simply impossible to ignore them. Marketing Tech recently published an article to talk about the power of digitalization in the travel industry. The piece shows that:
In 2018, the revenue in the segment of online booking in travelling exceeded $92.5 million, and 41 percent of business and 60 percent of leisure travel arrangements are now made online.
Another recent study by The tree uncovered "How digital insight is shaping brand strategy in the travel and hospitality sectors". The data is out there to prove that it is impossible to deny the digital trend.
The importance of online presence is something travel businesses are indeed actively working on; however, just being part of the online world won't instantaneously make any brand digitally smart. Developing and upgrading different platforms is the first step to carry out, but there is a long path that follows mobile versions and apps.
The ultimate goal? A good user experience.
Understanding the basics (CX vs. UX)
The term UX is relatively new. With so many abbreviations in tech, it is easy to get confused. Customer experience and user experience are two commonly used terms that can get mixed up. The biggest reason for the confusion is that user experience, or UX, is part of the customer experience, CX.
With CX being the perception a customer has of the interactions with a brand, in order to get a good result, delivering more than the expected is key. Therefore, every channel that serves as an exchange point with the client, whether it is online or offline, should be correctly constructed to avoid any form of distress.
If focusing on the online side, customers become users and the optimization of digital platforms - improving the navigation process, accessibility, and usability - help them have a more enjoyable experience, the user experience. In short, the UX impacts the overall CX.
Basic Guidelines to Achieve a Better User Experience
1. Big colored button
Call-to-action buttons are all over the internet and usually are one of the first things to be spotted while navigating online due to their size and color. There are a couple of reasons why buttons generally share these two characteristics. Firstly, having a size and color that sharply differs from the rest of the elements of the page helps users understand what is interactive and what isn't. Secondly, and mostly because of the color, users are drawn to click on it - take action - which is precisely its purpose. Although for some, this seems obvious, there are still websites, newsletters, landing pages, and apps that forget about this rule.
2. Generic and precious information
Sometimes travel companies assume travelers are familiar with the basics and forget how valuable general information is to them. Providing knowledge about what to do, gastronomy, currency, transportation, and all other aspects that go beyond the touring part are essential to help travelers prepare for a trip while delivering a seamless CX- UX.
3. Professional image
Beautiful photos can effectively capture users' attention. With social media visually advertising destinations with only the most high-quality pictures, travel companies need to have very high standards when it comes to the images added to their digital channels. Letting users scroll through several captivating images can create immediate impact and correctly translate what the destination has to offer.
4. Thoughtful cross-selling
Cross-selling shouldn't only be seen as a tricky move from brands to keep on selling their services or products. For users, it is beneficial to have complementary information appearing right where they are, without them having to look for it. However, customers usually feel that cross-selling techniques are very intrusive, which is true if not done correctly.
Using creative ads and placing the information on the sidebar or along with the rest of destination content - no pop ups - will attract the eyes of the users and help convert in a less intrusive way and without hurting the user's experience.
5. The help of tooltips
Not seen as often as it should, tooltips are very helpful when it comes to reducing the customer's search time. Every search is more successful and leaves customers satisfied when done in a short amount of time. Adding just a small text that can appear by sliding the mouse gives customers just the right amount of information necessary to help them decide the relevance of the content.
6. Include social media
Social media is part of users’ online routine. As time goes by, its impact on travel decisions only increases. With that in mind, companies should start thinking of ways to add them to online channels as a way to keep them from changing tabs. Not only users love the ability to share all types of information, but they also like to know the general opinion of their fellow digital explorers. An example of smartly incorporating social media is to add sharing options for users to publish the experience on their own social accounts. Therefore, giving users the knowledge they need before making a decision.
The online space is the new brick and mortar. UX is the latest customer service desk, and CX is what all strategies should be aiming to ace. Simple changes can make an incredible difference. Following online best practices will assure companies cater to user's basic needs, from there, strategizing a way to anticipate behaviors and preferences is what will differ the digitally savvy from the others.