As of 2017, there are 2.4 billion smartphone users — and that number is likely to rise to over 6 billion by 2020. This provides an immense opportunity for travel apps like yours to capture a growing market and rise above the competition.
Without a well-executed engagement strategy, you might fail to retain users and effectively waste all the effort and resources you put into acquiring them.
User onboarding is the first step in effective user engagement. Only when you’ve successfully delivered that first aha! moment can you launch effective engagement campaigns that drive adoption and reduce churn.
In order to create effective engagement strategies, you need to consider:
Once you’ve considered these specifics, you can develop effective engagement campaigns that result in higher marketing ROI.
One way to guide a user down the conversion funnel is to persuade them to conduct an in-app search for flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. Be sure to show multiple search results that fit the user’s budget or search parameters.
Such campaigns can be built around personalized in-app and push notifications. This also opens up cross-selling opportunities.
For instance, if a user based out of New York is looking to book hotel accommodations for a week-long trip to Madrid, you can prompt them with an in-app or personalized push notification highlighting limited-time promotions on flights from LaGuardia to Madrid.
This way you aren’t just meeting the user’s immediate search requirement, but also going the extra mile to offer additional travel-related options guaranteed to enrich the user experience.
Here are some of the major reasons why:
Technical difficulties or app crashes
Effective user engagement campaigns can help you recapture these lost sales and keep users coming back to your app.
With personalized push notifications, you can send compelling calls to action so users complete their booking within the prescribed window of engagement (generally within 30 minutes of an abandoned cart occurrence). The idea is to provide enough incentive through discounts, product-bundling deals, and location-specific highlights to encourage a purchase.
You can also run an email drip campaign on days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 from the day of cart abandonment to ensure top-of-mind recall and booking reminders. Be sure not to spam users, and provide only relevant information and incentive to increase chances of conversion.
Additionally, by using social media remarketing, you increase the chances of bringing back users to your app. According to AdRoll, 2% of shoppers convert on their first visit to an online store. Retargeting attempts to bring back the other 98%.
To convert a first-time user into a repeat customer, you need a different kind of engagement campaign.
Suggest personalized travel destinations and itineraries, and send destination-specific information like weather forecasts, packing lists, popular attractions, top restaurants, etc. to enrich their travel experience.
For inspiration, look at how Expedia provides timely travel updates, reminders, and notifications.
This notification can further be improved by making it more specific, reminding users that check-in begins at 3 pm. It should be sent at least 2 hours before the actual check-in time.
For our New Yorker interested in traveling to Madrid, for example, you could highlight details about top tourist attractions such as the Prado National Museum, Retiro Park, and the Semana Santa festivals.
The idea is to provide the user with enough details to help them picture themselves at these places, ignite their wanderlust, and persuade them to book the trip. Once again, Expedia gives users the opportunity to identify and book location-specific experiences of interest within the app.
And Expedia’s “Local Expert” option highlights location-specific attractions and activities.
Using our industry-first live-user segmentation engine, you can identify users who have made at least 5 booking purchases across your web and mobile platforms, and immediately have a target-ready user segment to pitch your loyalty program.
Be sure to clearly communicate the benefits of your loyalty program and don’t make it sound like a valueless gimmick.
As an example, Expedia offers users reward points with every booking.
So go ahead and ask your loyal, satisfied users for ratings and reviews periodically.
You should ideally seek feedback through in-app notifications, personalized push notifications, or emails once users have made at least 3 bookings.
Feedback can be sought based on certain aspects of the entire experience, such as flight and travel details, hotel accommodations, etc. as well as the entire booking process, interface, and ease of use.
Take a look at how Virgin Atlantic emails users who search for flights but don’t complete a purchase. They ask for candid feedback.
It communicates that the brand cares about its users and wants to provide the best possible user experience.
Another crucial tactic is for users to leave hotel and restaurant reviews, since these help future users make purchase decisions.
Hotels.com does a smart job of this, laying the foundation for long-term customer relationships.
Industry Benchmark for Travel Apps
When users install and use your travel app, they engage in different in-app activities that can be tracked and monitored as specific events at multiple stages of the app user lifecycle journey.
Try these tactics to improve your app engagement and monetization for different types of user segments.
Onboarded but Non-Converted Users
Users who have been successfully onboarded, but haven’t completed a key in-app action such as booking a flight or hotel
First-Time Converted Users
Users who have completed a key in-app action for the very first time, such as booking a flight or hotel
Repeat Converted Users
Users who have completed multiple in-app transactions
Track the following metrics to monitor and gauge your user engagement:
Daily Active Users (DAU)
The number of users who engage with your app at least once a day
~ 60,000 – 100,000
Monthly Active Users (MAU)
The number of users who engage with your app at least once a month
~ 2-3 million
A measure of how often your users come back to your app
Cart Abandonment Rate
The rate at which users add an item to their shopping cart but don’t complete a purchase
Average Session Length
The amount of time that a user spends in your app during each of their sessions
Effectively engaging with your active and inactive users is the only way that you can hope to encourage purchases. The more engaged your users are, the greater the chances of monetizing them, increasing top-line revenues, delivering satisfactory user experiences, and creating long-term user retention.
I will elaborate more on this in my next blog post, so stay tuned!
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