But what do you do once you get them to your site? The goal of course is to get a conversion. In the travel industry that means booking a trip, accommodation or experience.
Making these conversions happen once users land on your site is all about having a clear understanding of your sales funnel and customer flow. This knowledge allows you to address the individual needs of each user depending on where they are in the buyer funnel.
Say you write about the best hikes in the desert Southwest and post it on your travel blog. You post a link to the blog on Facebook, and boost the post to target your primary persona (we’ll call her Donna, the wealthy 55-year-old doctor who enjoys bird watching and the outdoors).
Donna sees the post and clicks on the link. She’s on your site, but maybe she’s never heard of your company before. Does that mean you should push her to book a hike now?
A wiser choice could be to send her to your “Get to Know Us” page, where you can highlight the perks of traveling with your company. You even have avian know-it-alls who organize bird-centric hikes, which Donna loves.
Every visitor to your site should be treated like Donna—as a unique individual that needs one-on-one customer service.
But sometimes, your users have specific questions they can’t figure out how to answer on your site. You can’t teleport into their living room to have a quick chat and clear things up.
Or can you?
This is where live chat technology comes into play. It’s the tool that allows you to address each customer’s individual needs at just the right moment, boosting your chances of getting a conversion.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is a type of online software that allows your company’s salespeople to interact directly with visitors to your website. It can also manage communications from your social media channels, email, and more.
You may have used live chat apps yourself without even realizing it. Have you ever been browsing on a website when a small chat window pops up in the bottom right corner of your screen with a message?
Something like, “Hi! This is Andrew, sales specialist at Eat Your Greens, Inc. Let me know if you have any questions about our products. My favorite is You Scream, I Scream, Kale Chard Ice Cream!”
First of all, Andrew: gross. But now you can use this opportunity to ask why they have a protein smoothie called the Jean Claude Van Damme. Spoiler alert: it has Brussels sprouts and it gives you muscles.
How Can Live Chat Help Finalize Sales in Travel Marketing?
There are a few ways that live chat apps work, and they can all help you increase your sales conversion rate.
The first is when the visitor instigates a chat. They see a button that says something like “Got a question? Talk with a travel agent now!” and they click on it.
Your live chat utility submits this to your agent-end application, where someone can immediately respond to the customer’s inquiry.
But an even more pro-active feature allows one of your agents to prompt an individual visitor with a message. Say you see the user has checked out 4 different Southwest hiking tours in the last 20 minutes. You could send a message saying, “Let me know if you have questions about any of our hikes!” and initiate a conversation to help them figure out what their travel priorities are, and pitch them on the perfect trip.
But wait, there’s more.
Live chat software can be custom programmed to automatically open a chat with visitors based on their activities.
Maybe they used a specific keyword search, or they came to your site via a specific channel (a limited-time-only promotion on your Instagram, for example).
The software can open a chat with the customer with a pre-programmed message. “Hi! Thanks for visiting our website. Our Instagram promotion ends in 3 hours, so let us know if you have any questions if you’d like to take advantage of this time-sensitive deal.”
A live chat app could be dealing out similar messages to hundreds of visitors simultaneously. Then, only if the person responds will the software prompt one of your agents to communicate with them.
This type of customization and intelligent automation allows you to provide personalized services to huge numbers of people, even if you only have a small sales team. That saves you money while still providing excellent customer service.
Other live chat features that can help you increase sales include:
- An older clientele might appreciate talking to a flesh-and-blood human before making a purchase.
- Live chat can prioritize these customers.
- You can consider more than just demographics when setting up live chat.
- Location, approximate wealth, and behavior (what they click on, how long they stay, etc.) are all attributes you can use to your advantage in reaching out to visitors.
- Live chat will give you the numbers on how many visitors are accepting your chats, how many are converting, and more.
- You can use this data to refine your chat automation and greeting messages.
- Track a visitor’s shopping cart in real time and use live chat to provide specialized service.
- If they’ve added one of your most expensive excursions to their cart, you can automatically prompt a VIP chat with your top salesperson to help seal the deal.
- The customer planning a cheap trip gets the intern (this is a joke, of course).
- Track your visitors’ cursor on the screen—if they move it to close the tab or leave your site, you can immediately have a chat message pop up, offering a discount on the product they were looking at.
How to Add Live Chat Functionality to Your Website
So how do you join the cadre of online businesses taking advantage of this technology?
If your website was built with GeoCities in 1998, it’s time for a refresh. If you want to use the latest technology, you’re gonna need a modern website.
Then it’s all about plugins. Depending on what platform your site is built on (e.g., Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix) and what live chat service you decide to go with (we like Salesforce, Zendesk and the aptly named LiveChat), you’ll need to install the appropriate plugin.
And finally, you set up your live chat account. Most services should allow you to start with a free trial and then get an annual subscription. There will also be different subscription packages available, so you can choose the one that best suits your business’ needs.
From there, you can customize to your heart’s desire until you’re up to your eyeballs in new customers.
Setting Up Live Chat is Just the Beginning
You’re a tech-savvy professional, so there’s no doubt you can figure out installing and setting up a live chat application on your own. But it’s not really a “set it and forget it” kind of service.
You get the most out of live chat when you keep an eye on the data and optimize your automation and messages to continually improve conversions.
At BKMedia Group, we’re automation experts. And the power of this kind of intelligent-ly-designed sales approach can be applied to a lot more than live chat.