Micro-Moments Guide: How Australians Plan Their Travel

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When Australians look to hit the road, they turn to mobile for inspiration, to plan, and for trip must-dos. All along the way, there are opportunities for tour operators and travel businesses of all kinds to meet consumers in intent-rich moments.

For 60% of consumers, travel is the largest discretionary purchase made in a year.1 Consumers want to make the most of every trip and that means they research, plan, and do more research—often in brief moments throughout the day on their smartphones. In Australia, 38% of travel site visits now come from mobile.2

To better understand what travellers look for and expect in these moments, Google conducted qualitative and quantitative research studies, exploring the role of mobile from the moment Aussies think, "Man, I could use a holiday right now," to the moment they set down their bags and start their adventures.

In part three of our micro-moments guide, we take a look at the four micro-moments we uncovered for Australian travellers, including key learnings on how your brand can win each moment.

1. I-want-to-get-away moments

When Australians first start thinking about going on a trip, the world is full of possibilities. One in three leisure travellers doesn't have a specific destination in mind when they first think about going on a trip.3 They’re open to exotic destinations, old standbys, and recommendations from friends.

At this point, travellers are primarily looking for inspiration. With no firm plans, they search for broad terms, including things like "best time to visit"—and 39% of these searches take place on mobile devices.4

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How to win I-want-to-get-away moments

  • Be present on mobile: Your business can ignite "travelspiration" (see what we did there?) by being there at just the right moment. Do a quick search of common inspiration queries that relate to your business. Do you show up? If not, find ways to be present, because more than one in three travellers with smartphones say that they've discovered a new travel company while researching on a mobile device.5 That number is even higher, up to 50%, for millennial travellers.6
  • Showcase compelling (and mobile-optimised) visuals: Nothing inspires wanderlust quite like a beautiful picture of a destination, be it an exotic beach or a bustling city. Help travellers narrow down their choices by showing them why certain places deserve a visit and ensuring your site is seamless to interact with on mobile.

2. Time-to-make-a-plan moments

The dream begins to take shape. Details and logistics now play an increased role as travellers dig into what their trip might look and feel like. The top things travellers search for in time-to-make-a-plan moments include prices, hotel details (e.g., reviews, pictures, cost, and availability), flight length, travel schedules, and activities at the destination.7

Cost is a big question for travellers at this stage of the journey—and 69% of leisure travellers worry that they're not finding the best price or making the best decision.1

At this stage, travellers hungry for details want clear and concise information. In our research, many respondents told us they want to be able to break out prices easily and compare the costs of hotels, airfares, and tours.

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Even more robust searches like these are happening on smartphones. When booking hotels or other overnight accommodations, 85% of smartphone users report that information sourced on their smartphones has helped them make decisions.8

How to win time-to-make-a-plan moments

  • Show up when people are looking for details: Search is the most common way travellers discover the brands they're ultimately going to book with. Be there or be square.
  • Don't hold anything back: If you operate a tour business, for example, consider providing pricing, the dates and times the tours are available, compelling photos, and offer a detailed description of what travellers can expect. Give travellers (especially mobile searchers) everything they need to choose you.

3. Let's-book-it moments

This is when dreams become plans. In let's-book-it moments, travellers are ready to seal the deal and mark their calendars. While mobile usage is nearly ubiquitous, many people are still reluctant to make big-ticket purchases on mobile devices. There are a few factors at play here.

A lack of trust in mobile information is one key factor as only 23% of leisure travellers are confident they can find the same hotel and flight information on their smartphones that they can on their desktops.1

Additionally, 54% of leisure travellers and 69% of business travellers say that mobile usability issues are their main reason for booking on another device.9

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Shoppers want to be sure they know exactly what they're paying for—and that they're getting the best deal available. This is where your business can come in.

How to win let’s-book-it moments

  • Provide assurances on mobile booking: You can offer travellers peace of mind by giving mobile customers the ability to cancel without penalties and providing a best-price or price-matching guarantee.
  • Simplify booking: Think about your primary goal. Are you trying to drive engagement? Boost mobile bookings? Help make the travel experience better? Focus on your main objective and make the user experience facilitate that. Eliminate steps on mobile bookings so that it’s as easy, if not easier, than it is on desktop.
  • When people want to talk to you, make it easy! Moving from researching to talking (and purchasing) should be simple and seamless. Enable people to reach you quickly. Consider click-to-call buttons, and use mobile-friendly contact forms.

4. Can't-wait-to-explore moments

That moment when a traveller's toes sink into the sand ... or their feet click into ski boots … or they walk into a grand bazaar. These are the moments when their dreams become reality. Once they're on the ground and enjoying their trip, travellers still turn to mobile to help them make the most of every day. Eighty-five percent of leisure travellers decide on activities only after having arrived at their destination.3

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Nearly nine out of ten travellers expect their travel provider to share relevant information while they're on their trip.3 Travellers want weather updates, exchange-rate information, public transportation details, and any relevant news that will improve their trip.

How to win can’t-wait-to-explore moments

  • Make information accessible across platforms: Your apps, sites, and mobile experiences should be designed to allow travellers to quickly and easily find what they're looking for and then get back to enjoying their trip. Doing so will likely pay off as 67% of travellers feel more loyal toward a travel company that shares information during their trip that improves their travel experience.10
  • Be present on mobile: Travellers rely on mobile to get their bearings, both figuratively and literally. Since smartphones are location-aware, travellers often search for "things to do near me," and search interest in "places to eat near me" has more than tripled in the last year.11

Travel is a very personal experience—and is one that consumers don't rush into, given the cost and number of details involved. By providing inspiring and useful information during every stage of a trip, your brand can turn dreams into reality and create loyalty throughout the process.

Methodology
Google partnered with TNS Australia in October 2016 to conduct qualitative research with n=30 18–54-year-olds across Australia on how consumers research, shop for, and purchase a range of categories. This research supports a variety of other quantitative studies (sourced below) in order to gain a deep understanding of category specific micro-moments.

Travel Trends 2016: Data Reveals Hot Spots and New Consumer Insights