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From Dreaming to Booking Part II: How to Capitalize on the Dreaming Phase of the Travel Planning Journey – By Margaret Mastrogiacomo

Sky looking through an airplane window

Dreaming Phase of the Travel Planning Journey

This article is part two in a five-part series that uncovers top strategies for reaching potential guests in meaningful moments and increasing direct bookings throughout every stage of the travel planning journey. This article focuses on the first stage of travel planning: the dreaming phase.

Let’s face it. We all understand the need for our next vacation, and some of us may even be counting down the days. But as hotel marketers, how do we reach potential guests at the very beginning stage of the travel planning journey? Is reaching travelers early in the process important? And even more significantly, how can hotel marketers make a lasting impression?

Read on for part two of our five-part series, “How to Capitalize on the Full Travel Planning Journey to Drive Direct Bookings,” to understand how hotel marketers can reach potential guests in the first stage of the travel planning process: the dreaming phase. We will uncover what online behaviors are most common in this stage, what marketing channels are most effective, and how to measure success.

What exactly is the dreaming phase?

The first stage of travel planning is the dreaming phase, when consumers first start thinking about their next vacation. Google refers to the micro-moments throughout this phase as “I-want-to-get-away” moments. At this point travelers are just beginning to explore destination options and day-dreaming about what their next getaway could look like.

According to Google, in this stage, travelers are not committed to any one brand. The search-engine giant has found that 78% of leisure travelers are undecided on what airline they will travel with, while 82% are undecided on the accommodation they will book. So, what does this phase mean for hotels? Endless opportunity to grab the attention of potential guests and ignite interest in a hotel’s destination, location, and accommodations. Before we can understand which marketing channels are best for reaching these potential guests, we have to understand what these key micro-moments look like throughout the dreaming phase.

A study conducted by Think with Google has confirmed that the majority of time spent throughout this phase:

Infographic - Dreaming Phase of the Travel Planning Journey

With travelers spending almost half of the dreaming phase on OTA websites, having an effective strategy to shift consumer attention to the direct hotel website is simply a must. By combining the power of non-OTA channels and touchpoints with the right content, hotels can greatly influence the travel planning journey and fuel potential guests through the direct booking funnel.

What type of content are travelers looking for in this phase?

At this early stage in the travel decision-making process, people want brands to provide content to inspire and narrow down their destination choices. In fact, 67% of travelers are more likely to book with a travel brand that provides relevant information for the destinations they’re interested in.

The most common searches in this phase are keywords surrounding the type of trip travelers plan to take, such as:

For these broader, destination-level keyword search terms, it may surprise you that, according to Google, 60% of these searches were conducted on a smart phone. Travelers are day-dreaming on-the-go, and your hotel needs to find creative and meaningful ways to be present in these moments.

Finally, no matter the device, 64% of people who watch travel-related videos do so when thinking about taking a trip, making video a crucial component in reaching travelers in a compelling way.

Infographic - Dreaming Phase of the Travel Planning Journey

The best marketing mix to reach travelers in the dreaming phase:

Measuring the Dreaming Phase: The Right KPIs

Each stage of the travel planning journey has focus KPIs that are important when measuring marketing effectiveness. In the dreaming phase, top KPIs should include:

Focus metrics vary depending on the marketing initiative and campaign budget. Establishing goal KPIs before launching a campaign is important for gauging success and optimizing campaigns to achieve your goals.

Reaching potential guests in the dreaming phase plays an important role in capturing the majority of travel demand to your market and owning the attention of your best guest against your comp set and the OTAs. Consumer engagement in this phase increases reach and awareness of your hotel brand and fuels the booking funnel., Just like the beginning of any good vacation, being present in the moments that matter goes a long way.

Read Part 1 - From Dreaming to Booking: How to Capitalize on the Full Travel Planning Journey to Increase Direct Bookings – By Margaret Mastrogiacomo

Read Part 3 - From Dreaming to Booking Part III: The Planning Phase How to Capitalize on the Planning Phase of the Travel Planning Journey – By Margaret Mastrogiacomo

About HEBS Digital:

Founded in 2001, the firm is headquartered in New York City and has global offices in Las Vegas and Auckland. Through its Smart Guest Acquisition Suite, including the smartCMS®, Smart Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and full-service digital consulting and marketing solutions, HEBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and increase the lifetime value of guests.

Part of NextGuest Technologies, HEBS Digital and Serenata CRM, the most comprehensive Hotel CRM Suite today, are the creators of the hospitality industry’s first Fully-Integrated Guest Engagement & Acquisition Platform.

A diverse client portfolio of top-tier luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants, DMO and tourist offices across the globe are all benefiting from HEBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise.

HEBS Digital’s technology, website design and digital marketing services have won more than 500 prestigious industry awards, including World Travel Awards, HSMAI Adrian Awards, Stevie Awards (American Business Awards), Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards, and more.

The HEBS Digital team is comprised of thought leaders, a diverse team of experts comprised of over 33 nationalities speaking over 22 languages. Contact HEBS Digital’s consultants at 1 (800) 649-5076 (North America), +64 (0) 9 889 8489 (Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific) or


Editorial Contact:

Garrick Lee
Marketing Manager, HEBS Digital
Phone: (212) 752-9425

Posted by on March 8, 2018.

Categories: Internet

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