The travel & tourism sector is growing…and that’s great for everyone in it and everyone using it; but where there’s growth competition hots up. This is especially true for this sector. 

Competition online is fierce (with a capital ‘F’), and it’s not going to get easier. According to a study by Expedia Media Solutions, a travel booker visits an average of 38 different websites when booking a trip.

Which means, now that your competitors are never more than a click away & growing in number, it’s critical that your business equips itself with the tools to (a) respond as quickly as possible to initial inquiries and (b) that is has a way to track, monitor and report on this. Online response time is a key factor in lead conversion rates in the travel & tourism sector.

Here are some stats to chew on:

  • Responding to an online lead within the first hour is critical (Harvard Business Review)
  • If you respond later than the first hour you are 7 times less likely to get a response back from the prospect (Harvard Business Review)
  • In a study carried out by 10X Travel, only 11% of companies contacted even responded to their test enquiry…i.e. 89% either didn’t bother, missed it completely, or were simply too busy to get on it.

Here’s why the speed of response to inbound leads is more important than ever

The world of travel & tourism has changed massively over the past few decades. The internet has largely driven this change. As mentioned earlier, when a traveller is visiting 38 websites on average before booking a trip, and each of those websites is potentially a competitor to your business; when they’re enquiring, you want to be the one responding, first. Each time.

That said, booking travel is rarely a single interaction. A booking generally takes a couple of emails, and maybe the odd phone call before closing…BUT it is the first response that is important. Now there’s a huge caveat here. You can’t simply reply with an auto-generated, non-personalised email, which adds zero value other than letting the person know your system has received their enquiry.

Don’t toss marketing dollars down the digital drain. Here are 5 lead response management tips to help you win more sales:

  • Automate your first response

Wait? What? Yes, do this, but it can’t be vacuous. This first email must add value. It needs to feel like it is from a real person, and perhaps a link to some interesting articles…and set the expectation that you’ll get back to them in a specific period of time. At least now, you’re on their response radar

(2) Add value. Don’t steal oxygen

Establish your company as a market leader or a specialized niche player with your first foray into the prospect’s inbox. Make sure you’re aligning with the interests which caused the prospect to send the enquiry in the first place. This can be a single email or a sequence of emails. You need to test and see which approach works best.

(3) Follow up with purpose…and be persistent

It can take up to 10 follow-ups to make contact. The sweet spot seems to be around 6…and getting really granular you probably want to leave 2 days between each email. (MIT)

(4) Go multi-channel; emails, calls, and messages

If your first email(s) didn’t get you a response, give them a call, or leave a voicemail. It builds credibility and shows that you really care about their business.

(5) Have a single call to action

Don’t confuse people. Ask them to do one thing, and make it the right thing. Remove competing decisions and a prospect is more likely to take the step you want them to.