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The 5 stages of travel


Are you aware of what Google has identified as the five stages of travel? This article explains what these stages are and ways to help you tap into them.

4 min read, Article
Bluebells in springtime on Inchcailloch - an island on Loch Lomond just a short distance from Balmaha

With connectivity being such a fundamental part of our lives today, tourists are online at every stage of their journey. Whether it’s social media, review sites or your own website – there’s a huge audience of potential customers active online, just waiting to be inspired. Ask yourself; ‘how is my business involved in each of these five stages?’

Stage one. Dreaming.

When people start to plan their holidays they often start with a platform such as Pinterest. Here they might create a board that acts as a sort of bucket list of places they’d love to visit, their ideal accommodation or experiences. Holidays that their friends share on Facebook or Twitter are another great source of inspiration – so it can pay off to have profiles on each platform. This way visitors can tag you while sharing their experience, making you even more visible to their friends. YouTube and travel blogs are again a popular resource at this stage.

Stage two. Planning.

It’s thought that people visit around 40 websites when they’re in this planning stage. It can be a social activity for people too, with many asking their network of friends for recommendations. Again this is where it’s good to have social media pages that can easily be tagged as suggestions. Pinterest’s ‘Pintrips’ tool is great for groups who are travelling together – you might find it useful to see how users go about organising their getaways.

Stage three. Booking.

You’re probably well aware of review sites such as Tripadvisor and Yelp, and perhaps you’ve even been left some reviews. Did you know that you can respond to reviews on these sites? Taking the time to respond to each of them looks great for others who are considering your business and will make them more likely to book with you. Of course if you don’t have any reviews at all, this can be off-putting for potential customers. Another important point; online booking is a functionality that most people have come to expect – make it easy for them!

Stage four. Experiencing.

Today’s tourists are even connected while they’re on their holiday – using their smartphones to browse for places to eat and attractions while they’re there. That’s why it’s essential for your business to appear on Google Maps. It’s an ideal way of attracting spontaneous visits from customers as it doesn’t just show your location but also other details such as opening hours, reviews and even a brief description.

Stage five. Sharing.

All kinds of content (including pictures, video, reviews and blogs) are so easily shared online – it’s a great way for people to show where they’ve been and inspire others to visit the same places. Again a well cultivated social presence can really help here as visitors can tag your business in their posts. This means that for anyone interested in finding our more, you’re just a click away.

So, are you active in these five different stages of travel? Each one of them represents a hugely important part of your customer’s digital journey – and if you’re not part of it, chances are you won’t have a place in their real journey either.

If this article has helped you identify an area in which your business needs to investigate, but you’re not sure where to start, why to have a look at our events? There you’ll find a complete listing of all our events taking place around Scotland, each with a different focus and the chance to gain some face-to-face learnings from the experts.

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