Before travelers board a plane or walk into their hotel room, they’ve made hundreds of decisions that have propelled them to that point in time. They’ve looked at dozens of pictures, dreaming of their ideal destination. They’ve researched flight and hotel prices, and they’ve narrowed preferred suppliers down based on factors like how easy it is book a reservation. Google calls these moments in a traveler’s journey micro-moments, and it says the companies that successfully implement SEO strategies for micro-moments throughout user-defined stages are the ones that earn sales and customer loyalty.
Being There and Being Useful Through Micro-Moments
According to Google, travelers spend short spurts of time on their devices, primarily their smartphones, dreaming, planning, booking, and exploring destinations. In these defining moments, they’re on their device and then off in what’s just a bit more than a minute in most instances. This gives the travel marketer limited time to make an impression. Google stresses that travel brands must “be there” and “be useful” during these microbursts to get noticed and win over customers.
As a travel marketer, it’s important to understand the route travelers take from dreaming to finally arriving at a destination. And, it’s critical that effective SEO tactics be implemented at every step to reach these travelers. Google’s research points out that effective search engine optimization for travel must allow the marketer to connect with the traveler in these moments, through every stage, which are completely consumer-driven.
For instance, it helps if a marketer knows that travelers take a rather meandering path toward booking, looking up destination after destination before being inspired by a story or a photo of place. And, after finding that inspiration from the brands that have paid attention to providing great written or visual content, travelers search through hotel ad after hotel ad, on their way to zeroing in the accommodations that will give them the experience their looking for.
Content and Search as Travel SEO Strategies for Micro-Moments
Capitalizing on travel SEO strategies for micro-moments means understanding the journey a traveler takes through the 4 stages of micro-moments as defined by Google: The I-want-to-get-away moments, Time-to-make-a-plan moments, Let’s-book-it moments, and Can’t-wait-to-explore moments. Content and search marketing efforts that focus on moments during each of these stages allow a travel company to position itself to be there and be useful, therefore earning more bookings and the trust of travelers.
The I-want-to-get-away moments are the dreaming moments, and they’re the times when travelers are exploring options and imagining what their vacation will look like. Travelers aren’t dedicated to a particular travel brand at this point. They’re open to options that will produce an ideal vacation, which affords the travel marketer a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression. SEO strategies during these moments could center on offering useful travel stories and destination descriptions, as well as providing high-quality images or even travel videos.
Time-to-make-a-plan moments are the times spent turning dreams into reality. They’re moments checking prices, hotel reviews, availability, flight schedules, and activities in the travelers’ desired destination. To be there for travelers in these micro-moments, a travel company might focus on local search by implementing a Google Hotel Ads campaign or optimizing content for keywords like “hotels in Toronto.” Google says that through this micro-moments stage, the majority of travelers are researching trips on their mobile phones, so it’s important to consider this when being providing searchable and useful content.
After travelers have done their research, they’re ready to book. The Lets-book-it micro-moments take a turn from mobile to desktop (or laptop), as travelers look for security for their anxious feelings about getting the absolute best price. Travelers also tend to complete their travel bookings on desktop or laptop devices due to limitations in mobile travel booking applications. SEO strategies during the Let’s-book-it moments turn primarily to search, as travelers do a double check of prices, schedules, and suitability before pushing the “Book It” button.
The traveler has now booked a trip and visions of a dream vacation are becoming real. This isn’t the end of the road for the travel marketer. Google says that 85% of travelers don’t know what activities they’ll participate in until they get to their destination. This means that travel brands can continue to reach out during exploring stage of micro-moments, which includes looking up restaurants, reading about attractions, and finding local events while a traveler is on vacation. A travel company can provide city tours descriptions, festival and fair listings, and other hyperlocal content on its website to connect with travelers during the exploring micro-moments and built trust. A travel brand should also encourage confirmed travelers to download its mobile app, which will ideally be filled with valuable content that can be used to further enhance a trip.
Being there and being useful throughout every stage of travelers’ micro-moments keeps brands on travelers’ radar before, during, and even after a vacation. A series of well-planned and customer-focused SEO strategies for micro-moments can drive word of mouth and result in loyal customers.