Philippe Aimé, CEO of Convertize.
A recent investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, published by the BBC, revealed that a variety of travel websites have been ‘making misleading claims about their discounts and offers’. It also made reference to travel websites giving customers false impressions of room availability at hotels,‘pressuring’ customers to make rash and quick decisions when it came to making a booking.
Scams like this often lead to customers feeling overwhelmed, dubious and ultimately put off booking a holiday, leading to a deferral when it comes to making a purchase. Fake information displayed on websites can lead to customers questioning the transparency of your website, which can result in a decrease of trust in the company and therefore a drop in overall conversion rates.
Despite the inaccurate use of persuasive nortifications, it’s not to say that they should be boycotted. If used correctly travel websites can utilise appropriate persuasive notification tools,preventing a decrease in trust and therefore helping businesses conversion rates to continually increase. As this can be very impactful for many companies, it’s safe to say that the implementation of persuasive notifications shouldn’t be dismissed by travel brands. As notifications are driven by trusted third party plugins, this will help websites rebuild their trust with visitors, in the same way as logos are used for secure payment processing.
Utilising persuasive notifications
Due to holidays being a huge spend for many people, customers often require reassurance and trust in a website or company before they commit to ‘giving away’ a large sum of money. If websites provide persuasive marketing techniques, that for example, allow notifications to pop up to a customer whilst they are wavering whether to purchase or not, their attention is automatically drawn to that notification, instead of the rest of the page.
These persuasive marketing techniques can be anything from creating a sense of urgency to buy, or generating an impact with scarcity – urging visitors to place a higher value on purchasing a holiday, due to a certain time limit being put on hesitant buyers.
Reviews and Ratings are everything
As with any travel website, the importance of the star rating has a great impact in helping visitors decide which travel website they consider ‘the best’ when it comes to purchasing a holiday.
Having a variety of reviews backing up the reliability or rating of a travel website can help make a holiday seem more desirable for visitors, as they can feel it is trustworthy. It also acts as a positive visual clue which helps to reinforce a sense of ‘making the right decision’ when it comes to customers making the final purchase.
Placing star ratings and honest, positive reviews in prominent places provides an added seal of approval for some websites and any additional persuasive copy underlining the quality and experience of the website can help better business practice in a non-manipulative way.
Social proof notifications = Trustworthy Website
Social proof is taken from a perspective that humans are driven to conform and are always influenced to copy others actions and decisions, when they are unsure of their own choices.
Through social media networks, travel websites can show their followings or mentions from customers – which can help spark a rise in conversion rates, as more customers may feel as though they can rely the website. By nurturing its social media followings, travel websites business practices can be changed for the better and positively influence customers judgement of its website.
Creating the need for certainty
If visitors are faced with ambiguity during the purchasing process they will soon be put off. Travel websites that provide clear and concise information and avoiding any use of vague information around offers or availability can help reassure any visitor.
For websites to pinpoint any areas of confusion and to ensure they fix any problems immediately, they should implement regular processes for user testing. This can either be done through surveys that will pop up after someone purchases a holiday, or by asking those in the company not involved in the website to go through sales funnels and identify the points where something is unclear or concerning.
Utilising Information Bias as a Persuasive Tool
As with any product, visitors always like to feel confident when making a purchase. Ultimately, for most businesses the more confident a customer feels, the more likely they are to purchase. This effect is referred to as ‘Information Bias’, which relates to how travel websites can help to ensure customers are making a well informed decision, even if some of the information included within the holiday isn’t relevant to them.
Through the implementation of information bias, travel websites can be certain that their customers feel secure and happy with a purchase from the details of the holiday included. Real-life images, provided at different angles, or even a video of the destination/hotel can help customers feel more informed – ultimately making sure the travel websites business practice is reliable and trustworthy.
Better business practice from persuasive messaging
If a travel websites business practice is weak, through the use of fake numbers and information – this is manipulative and not a tool of marketing in any form. It is now key, what with recent travel website scams, for websites to implement honest and accurate persuasive techniques into its online platforms.
Notifications that include information on the availability/scarcity of the holiday or those that provide a reassurance of payment/reviews, are helpful rather than manipulative. Whilst travel websites can better change their business practice through these tools, they can also increase post-purchase satisfaction. Ultimately, creating a better website overall.