Developing a loyal repeat customer base is vital in creating a sustainable travel or hospitality business. When travelers have a good experience, they are likely to stick with the hotels or travel providers that are responsible for it. In order to maximize this effect, though, travel and hospitality businesses need to develop a system for initial conversion first.
This is where customer acquisition strategy comes in. By developing a customer acquisition strategy, businesses can increase their conversion rate, making it easier to develop a strong customer base.
There are a few travel companies that serve as strong customer acquisition strategy examples, including:
- Booking Holdings
We will go over these examples, what they’ve done right, and how other travel and hospitality businesses can do the same.
Arguably the largest travel company in the world, Expedia spends billions on marketing every year. Yet, despite their colossal size, they actually use many of the standard customer acquisition strategies that help small businesses grow their book of business as well.
These strategies are:
- Google Ads
- Rewards programs
- Pay over time financing options
Let’s break down each, as they will be common themes throughout every example.
Out of the over $6 billion Expedia spends on marketing annually, the majority of it goes to Google Ads and Google’s travel listings. This allows them to not only advertise their website and app but also show up to customers who are searching for flights on Google.
These ads can be extremely valuable, and small businesses can leverage them just as easily since Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC). This means that businesses pay for the number of clicks an ad gets instead of paying upfront before any actual leads have been sent to their site. This makes Google ads low risk and scalable, which is why businesses of all sizes use them so frequently.
While not necessarily a traditional customer acquisition tool, rewards programs incentivize customers to continue to use a product or service by enticing them with rewards or discounts. These are a staple in the travel industry, and many travelers will not use travel services that don’t offer rewards. With that in mind, customer acquisition strategy examples will almost always include a rewards program.
Pay Over Time Financing Options
One of the newer customer acquisition tools is BNPL financing. By offering consumer financing, travel and hospitality businesses can make it easier for consumers to pay for their trips. This allows them to book earlier, more often, and for longer and more luxurious vacations. This makes BNPL an extremely versatile tool that boosts customer acquisition, conversion, retention, and the average lifetime value of consumers.
Now that we have discussed Expedia and how they spend their marketing budget to attract customers, let's talk about two more travel companies and how they leverage these strategies.
Booking is another giant in the travel industry, and they invest around $5 billion in marketing annually. Their customer acquisition strategy is largely the same as Expedia, heavily leveraging Google Ads, rewards, and BNPL financing. They’ve also recently increased their spending on brand marketing, which focuses on developing the relationship between consumers and the brands Booking Holdings owns, like Booking.com, Priceline, and Kayak.
Travel consumers will rarely ever report that they haven't ever seen a video ad for at least one of these platforms. That is because Booking Holdings sees a ton of value in creating a brand relationship to get consumers to go through their site instead of Google.
Startupnation did a great profile on Airbnb, along with a few other startups and how they developed their initial customer base. Within it, you’ll notice that Airbnb focused much of its money and effort on non-scalable marketing tactics at first, like having individual reps go out in public to advertise their business. This made things slow to start, but Airbnb quickly learned a few lessons.
The most important lesson was that, with online platforms, operations are key. One of the first things that travel and hospitality businesses should be sure of is that their site and app work and that payment is made easy and reliable. Advertising is only as valuable as the product or service being advertised, and having interfaces and sales channels that operate smoothly should be the foremost goal for any growing business.
Luckily, offering financing is one of the most effective customer acquisition tools mentioned in the previous sections. The platforms that offer it usually offer payment functionality that makes buying a breeze. These functions include one-click payment, simple financing applications, and instant approvals. All of these help acquire new customers, as well as refining the operations of websites and apps.
Follow These Customer Acquisition Strategy Examples With Skeps
Skeps offers a comprehensive, end-to-end consumer financing platform that helps businesses modernize their entire payment process. We go above and beyond one-click payment, also offering a one-click application process for several different types of consumer financing, including:
- Consumer loans and leases
- Branded credit cards
If you’re looking to partner with a forward-thinking fintech company that will keep consumers' eyes on the purchase while offering best-in-class financing, Skeps is the perfect fit.