We have previously blogged about the importance of multi-channel customer service and how consistent experiences across all channels leads to higher customer satisfaction. With technology playing an increasing role in how we search and purchase online, holiday park operators must have an online presence in order to remain competitive. Loella Pehrsson, Regional Director at Kayak, states: “Given the internet allows you to not only shop around, but browse and book holidays from the comfort of your own home, it’s no surprise that Brits are increasingly choosing this option over high street travel agents.” This blog will look at the factors holiday park operators must consider when designing a holiday park website.
Attracting the right customers through your content
First of all you must identify who you are trying to reach online. The internet provides a whole new audience and not necessarily your target audience. Holiday park operators can benefit from highly targeted information which encourages the right customers to book online. You want to attract customers, but the right ones for your park and the services you offer. If, for example, you are an adult only park you need to make sure your content reflects this in the imagery and through gentle prompts on your site and during the booking process.
If you are running PPC (paid online search) campaigns you want the right type of customer to be attracted to your ads in order to effectively use your budget. Make sure you are targeting correctly and that you use keywords to reflect your offering such as “uk family holiday”, “activity holiday”, “luxury breaks” etc.
Reviews are increasingly playing a part in attracting the right type of customers to your park and in helping customers to make informed decisions. Publish reviews on your site and categorise them to show the type of customers who visit your park.
Creating an engaging holiday park website
You’ve attracted the right type of customer to your site – now how do you engage and guide them through the sales process? When it comes to web design, first impressions really do count. When someone lands on your website you generally only have a few seconds to grab their attention. For holiday parks and campsites, it’s crucial that a holidaymaker is presented with images and information that will help them to visualise themselves at your park.
Additional information such as destination guides featuring things to do in the local area or on-site are crucial in securing of bookings. Make sure you are remembered, according to Millward Brown stats, users booking holidays take up to 45 days and visit as many as 38 travel sites, if your site is the most engaging and fits in with your customers’ needs they are more likely to come back and book.
Upfront pricing and an easy to use park booking system
According to a survey, 81% of people abandon online travel bookings, with price checking or researching cited as the most popular reason, however 29% of those who abandoned said the booking process was too long, the checkout steps too complicated or they had technical issues or difficulty with payment on the booking pages.
Due to the monetary value of booking a holiday, people will spend their time researching and comparing sites and prices before a final decision is made. When a customer has made their decision, you want the booking system to be user friendly, rather than inhibit the process.
Some travel sites have a nasty habit of adding fees and charges during the booking process. Be clear with your customers on pricing from the start so there’s no surprises when it’s time for them to make payment. Nothing says ‘abandon checkout’ quite like a misleading price, not only that, but it places mistrust in the mind of the customer which makes them unlikely to come back and book again.
Customers also want to be able to compare prices easily, if they are flexible with their dates or type of accommodation, they want to be able to see the choices they have over a month. If they can upgrade their accommodation and there isn’t much difference in price they will be more likely to opt for the more expensive option. Giving customers options allows them to feel more secure with their purchase decision as they feel they have conducted more research and got a great deal.
Customers also want consistency, they don’t want to have to go to a separate site to complete their booking and another site to complete their payment, this complicates the booking process and places doubts in the mind of the customer. Make sure it’s easy to complete a booking online and that customers do not need to call to complete a booking due to confusing forms.
The importance of a mobile friendly website to your park
Transactions on mobile devices are now surpassing desktop as the “global path to e-commerce” as retailers continue to offer and “evolve” their mobile shopping platforms. This underlines the importance of holiday parks having a mobile responsive website and a simple and easy-to-use booking system for customers. This means holiday park operators must design their websites to be optimised for mobile, for example in the past many online booking platforms would take you through a step by step process with separate pages for each stage, this works well for a desktop experience, however as more and more people are researching and booking online it has been found that a scrollable page is a more suitable user experience.
Elie Kanaan, from Criteo states, “Retailers need to create a truly seamless mobile and cross-device experience and be prepared to engage with users no matter where they are along the path to purchase. Brands that master the mobile trend will have a head start on competitors and the momentum to lead the pack through the shopping seasons ahead.”
Carrying on the conversation
Your customer has booked and they are preparing for their stay. Confirmation and countdown emails keep the conversation going until your customers arrive, you need to make your customers feel as secure as they would if they had talked to you in person, you can do this with tailored e-shots from within your customer database.
The more you understand your customer the better you can predict where they are in the buying cycle and their needs. Customer management systems such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help you track customer interactions and sentiment, while booking management systems such as Park Vision can streamline the booking process both for holiday parks and their customers. Contact Prodware to find out how your park can benefit from an integrated booking system and an optimised online presence.