Thailand Travel Takeaways – What a Travel Agent Taught Me About Conversion Optimization

What did I get out of a vacation in Thailand? You would think amazing memories and brilliant pictures!

You are right. For a place that looks like this, its not a big deal.

Conversion Optimization Tips

But being a marketer, I also got a few interesting conversion optimization strategies. It’s true!! If you look closely, all popular travel destinations have one thing in common (other than clueless tourists) – mind blowing marketing strategies that result in great conversion. My trip to Thailand was no different and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!!

It happened at Bangkok airport…

I had just finished collecting my boarding pass and was heading for security check to leave for Phuket. Right then, a gentleman in a very formal outfit and sporting various important looking badges stopped me and asked to see my passport. I immediately handed it to him along with my boarding pass. He quickly checked the flight timings and then asked me whether it was the first time I was travelling to Phuket. When I said yes, he exclaimed enthusiastically and told me that I was going to have a lot of fun. He spoke of the various activities I can do there and how many tourists actually miss out on doing stuff or get fleeced because they don’t have the right information. He also pointed out a tourism desk a few paces away and offered to take me there to know more.

Let’s discuss what just happened here.

Requesting the right information

He asked me for my passport!

Had he asked where I was going, or my name or something as mundane as whether it was my first time in Thailand, I would have given a vague answer and brushed him off to be on my way.

Had he requested for some more complicated information, like my itinerary or a ticket print out, I would have had to fish for it in my handbag (which let me tell you would have taken forever) and again lost interest quickly.

Worse, had he asked if I was travelling alone, I would have been properly creeped out and beat a hasty retreat.

That is lesson numero uno for us.

Asking the right information, which your prospect can supply with ease. This of course applies to the lead capture forms that appear on site. Leads might not want to share their weight or their examination marks or their salary details at the first go! Asking a lot of information that might not be handy, or information they might not be comfortable sharing would either result in drop offs or a frustrating user experience. You can question them to your heart’s content if they book a free consultation with you. Till then, less is more!

Conversion Optimization- correct landing page

The information should also make sense to you!! From my passport and boarding pass, he easily knew where I was going, how I was getting there and that it was indeed my first time (no stamping see?!). Similarly, getting the contact and name of your lead might make more sense than asking for half their bio-data and their grandmother’s name. So, forms with less fields. Got it?

Requesting at the right place 

What do you think would have happened had he spoken to me before I collected my boarding pass? Or after I have reached the boarding gate? Or infact, outside the airport? Why, I would either be too preoccupied to give him my attention or he would not have been able to know my destination (no boarding pass then, yeah?) or even worse, I would have been too far away to walk to that tourism desk nearby.  In any case, I would become a lost opportunity.

To relate this to your online lead capture strategy, take a look at the image below.

Conversion optimization - cta

The take away my dear marketer is that your lead capture forms and CTA should be strategically positioned. Do not place a CTA for an analytics course registration in a page that talks about lead generation. Is that what you want to find after you read this post (am going to go with No.)?! Place it where they are more likely to click on it. Place it where they can see it.  Place it where it gives you maximum benefit. That is a key to capturing the most leads.

Presenting the right way

Would you handover your passport to just anybody at the airport?! A man wearing shorts and torn tee? Someone looking scruffy and like he hasn’t bathed in days? Well, I sincerely hope not. And the majority of your leads can also be credited with that much common sense.

Nobody would want to give away personal details to a website that doesn’t have enough credibility or that looks amateurish. Are you in the travel or hospitality business? Then get TripAdvisor certification. In the health and wellness business? Get reviews from customers. In the education industry? Certification from schools or education boards might do the trick… and so on.

Building credibility for conversion optimization

Making a good first impression matters! Something like that suit and badges that gives you an air of authority and credibility. You get one shot at it. So make it count!

Providing the right information

See how he engaged me by providing intelligent information? He spoke at length about the activities that I can do there and what I would generally miss out on. Let me tell you, I am a smart traveler. That means I read up about every single thing there and am well armed with information, especially when I go to a place for the first time (or because of it). So I would have known had he been stringing me along!

Your leads would be no different. Like Ogilvy famously said “The customer is not a moron – she is your wife”. Credit them with some basic intelligence and accept the fact that they might already know what you are telling them. Make sure you give them correct information. Ensure that your lead engagement happens with information that actually adds value. Not only will they be more inclined to trust you but they would be more liable to convert.

 

Respecting choice 

The best thing I liked about the whole debacle was that he offered me a choice. He told me that he could possibly help me, pointed out how and waited for me to make up my mind.

That is the learning here. Some of your leads don’t want to lose weight now, or get started on becoming a whole new themselves. They might not want to learn that new course right away or plan for their future that minute. And that’s OK. Give them the luxury of making that decision, be polite about it and be courteous enough to respect their choice.

That means, smart – alec options like “I shall remain uninformed for now” are not advised. Keep it simple. Be nice, but not banal. Like so –

Conversion optimization

 

Try nurturing them with information instead of stuffing your offer down their throats. Chances are that they would convert later and be happier about it. Otherwise, they could feel hustled into it and have morning-after regrets. Don’t you think so?

Well, the rest is history! I said “Yes”. I was ushered to their travel desk and was provided with more information, like pricing, the itinerary and so on and eventually opted for their package (they gave me awesome discounts and a free tour as well!). To top it all, they delivered! And made an impression on me, that was deep enough for me to write about.

My dear readers, they just took the trophy home!

And you can too! These strategies are simple enough to be adapted to your business with minimum cost and drastically improve conversions that will make people wonder about your conversion optimization strategies. The icing on the cake? You didn’t have to travel half way across the world for them…You’re welcome.

 

About the Author

  1. Ankit Commented April 20, 2017

    This was an amazing read Lakshmi! I landed here from the second part of the article and I must say that both of them had some really valuable takeaways. Bookmarked them, would be coming back to them again and again 🙂

    1. Lakshmi Narayanan Commented April 21, 2017

      🙂 Thank you Ankit! Very glad to know you found it informative. I enjoyed writing it. What impressed me was this – he was one smooth marketer. I didn’t realize I was marketed to, until after I spoke to the travel desk!! Have you had such experiences? Would love to know!

    2. Lakshmi Narayanan Commented April 21, 2017

      🙂 Thank you Ankit! Very glad to know you found it informative. I enjoyed writing it. What impressed me was this – he was one smooth marketer. I didn’t realize I was marketed to, until after I spoke to the travel desk!! Have you had such experiences? Would love to know!

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