Acquisition vs Conversion. Since the dawn of the internet, these two crucial elements of the eCommerce journey have been competing for the budgets of digital marketers across industries. At Triptease, we witness the same situation time and time again - acquisition and conversion are still being treated as two entirely separate strategies. However, is this approach causing hotels to lose sight of the bigger picture, and costing them direct bookings?
As online businesses have become more skilled in their use of data, the online purchasing journey has evolved from a three-stage funnel into a complex, interconnected web. Every data point from the off-site acquisition path influences the on-site conversion experience, and vice versa. Major OTAs and eCommerce giants rely on this approach to succeed, and hotels need to learn how to make acquisition and conversion work smarter together if they want to remain competitive in an evolving market.
Whether it’s Amazon, Etsy or eBay, the immense success of these eCommerce giants can be directly attributed to their ability to capture, analyze and implement customer data across every part of the user journey. They use acquisition data from search history to match each user's wants and needs on the website. Then, through conversion data that’s collected across thousands of customer personas on-site, they can make accurate business decisions during the payment process and beyond.
The interconnectivity between the acquisition and conversion data is the backbone behind the immense growth of these online giants. Without logging every unique data point from every single package sent, web page visited and advertisement clicked, these organizations wouldn't be able to evolve and continuously deliver a seamless experience both on- and off-site. Even after the conversion has been made, these companies will continue to interact with the customer, and use the data from the entire purchasing journey to impact future decisions for similar searchers. Acquisition and conversion are no longer a linear journey, but an endless cycle of self-improvement.
Within the hospitality industry, hotels could learn a lot from OTAs in terms of connecting data to grow their direct revenue. Sophisticated technologies allow them to track the performance of every single customer and change their investment for each guest based on their value and likelihood to book. By utilizing their website data, they can then change their distribution spend accordingly to win over the highest-value guests on search and metasearch auctions. They don't treat the guest journey as a sum of separate processes but look at it as one unified booking channel where guest data continuously optimizes the entire purchase funnel.
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