Funnel Revolution. Thoughts after Phocuswrite conference

Funnel Revolution Phocuswrite Conference. How to manage funnel in tourists destinations.

hocuswrite conference has just finished and our mind is rich of inputs and trends that came out of it. Many great speakers has taken the stage, but for us the most important topic was The Funnel. Funnel Revolution actually was the conference title and the presentation of Mr @DouglasQuinby, travel analyst and Phocuswrite Vice President, was very inspiring.

But why we are so interested in funnel revolution? Because we are trying to help destinations to get to a next level and to transform and funnel seems to be not an important topic but The Topic.

Let’s summarise what they have said at Phocuswrite conference and we will understand why funnel is so crucial. We would like to warn you in advance, at the end of this article you will probably ask yourself: “but what is going on? where is this revolution? what can we do in destinations?

60% of worldwide reservations is still off-line, but the growth year after year is high expecially in the emerging markets, where in the next years we will see a growth increase from 61% to 75%. Strangely 75% of on line travel is in mature markets and Europe is at the top. This should ring a bell: there is still plenty of room for on line growth and in the emerging markets we have to focus already on on line and in particular on mobile.

Total value of travel market is 1.3 trillion Dollars.

As we have said, on line is still behind but is growing fast due to mobile; as a consequence we see the OTAs power getting stronger and stronger with group consolidations and service improvements. Hotels are doing their best to attract direct bookings, but travellers seem to prefer OTAs and we have to ask ourselves why and what we should do about it and the answer, in our opinion, is not that you have to fight them, or better this can not be the primary purpose. But something else in going on and we have already talked about it in our article about distribution and Bookbedder. Metasearch and direct booking importance and usefulness is under our sight. Let’s say that OTAs and metasearch are now different for they revenue models, but in terms of user experience and services a strange and interesting mixing is going on.

Then…another protagonist is taking the stage in the funnel: messaging.

It could be a service, an assistant, a customer care or even a booking system; messaging, driven by artificial intelligence, are the future trend and of course they are strongly connected with mobile.

Getting closer to the “destination point” we have to pay attention to this data and to Douglas thoughts about them.

Travellers are visiting on average 38 web site before deciding where to travel and 57% of US tourists are doing just one or two holidays per year and if, in US, there are 473 ml of leisure trips, what does it means?

Strategy point:

  1. first of all is it really the right path the one that is driving the industry to personalize the search, to introduce super technology and AI? Maybe travellers want and need to search and personalize by themselves. As tourism-accelerator we think that this is probably related to Storyscaping; brands have to allow customers shape and set up their own stories, brands are the mentors and not the storytellers, the tourist in our case is the hero;
  2. in terms of funnel this is very important; it means that probably travellers need to be sure about what and where to book but most of all that the searching phase is already an experience;
  3. thinking deeper this is related with the long haul; maybe there a 473ml different funnels (using USA as example).

All these staff, as always, are very very “on top” of the travel industry and many destinations should ask but what does it means for us?

We think that in these thoughts there are some precious suggestions:

  1. brand, story and content: we should argue about these three aspects separately but to simplify we put them together, at the end everything get to the brand. Destinations must focus on creating their on line content, improving their reputation and positioning as “ the brand for..” Further your travellers have to find you so there is a mix between commercial and content distribution. 38 visits? It is so obvious that the experience in the destination begin at the dream phase of the funnel. Note that this is not only a content and branding point but also a technical one, on line User Experience;
  2. mobile first: we dream about our holidays during our days and nights and smartphones are the staff that is always with us. You have to concentrate on mobile before booking, during the stay and even after. Secondly the fact that today off line are still behind on line is not the trend. We have to look at what brands, in general, are doing. Iot, smart objects, wearable, super AI smartphones means that mobile is where we are going and if we keep on staying out of it we lose, expecially when we will finally see tourists from the new markets in our destinations;
  3. the role of technology; remember that tourism is an experience. Destinations have to use technology and AI to improve distribution, to eliminate frictions and most of all to improve governance processes.

This is transformation, this is moving to platform model, but at the end tourists want to live their holidays…let’s us say off-line

TAG: #phocuswrite #funnel #userexperience

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