Guiding Travelers Through the Stages of Vacation Planning

Guiding Travelers Through the Stages of Vacation Planning


Although most summer vacations won’t get started until after Memorial Day, the months leading up to the official kick-off of summer are pivotal for destinations hoping for a strong peak season. These months are some of the busiest for summer vacation planning and a time when visitors are making the final decisions on where to travel, where to stay and what to do.

While national advertising campaigns are important when inspiring consumers to consider your destination, those looking to lure today’s busy travelers must also use strategic messaging placements to not only capture travelers’ attention initially through a TV commercial, but also harness that intrigue throughout the vacation planning process.

Although visitors have nearly unlimited access to information when they’re planning their vacations, the information can be overwhelming. As would-be visitors scour both online and traditional platforms for their planning needs, it’s critical destinations help guide visitors through the planning process by delivering relevant, custom content from the moment travelers think about going somewhere until they actually book their trips.

Destinations like Tourism Australia (with PricewaterhouseCoopers) have created their own purchase cycles as a way to target their marketing efforts to guide visitors through this planning process. Industry leaders like Google have also outlined a way for travel leaders to market and reach visitors throughout planning with more relevant content.

According to Google, travelers pass through five distinct phases in their vacation experiences. By using custom content to guide visitors from Dreaming to Planning to Booking, destinations can make the pivotal leap from a hypothetical place travelers want to experience “someday” to a place they’re planning to visit today.

At Lawrence & Schiller, we also develop custom vacation planning funnels for each of our travel clients. As South Dakota visitors look to multiple resources throughout planning and want more detailed content the closer they get to booking their trips, we develop our campaigns and messages to provide the content most relevant throughout that experience. It’s key to guide them to the right information when they need it and bridge from one stage into the next so that we’re gradually leading visitors into deeper stages of vacation commitment.

As destinations begin prepping attractions for summer crowds and sending informational booklets to curious potential summer travelers, it’s key for them to tie their final marketing efforts back to the needs visitors have at the later stages of planning. By positioning destination content as answers to the questions visitors have at each stage, destinations can position themselves as the go-to resource not just for this year’s trip planning, but also as the best vacation experience before visitors even arrive.

*Image courtesy Think Insights with Google


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