How To Increase Conversations with the Right Booking Flow for Group Travel

Travel companies design the customer journey to maximize the number of complete bookings while providing convenient customer experience to travelers. Learn how to identify the best booking flow for your audience.

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Group travel companies design the customer journey to maximize the number of complete bookings while providing a convenient customer experience to travelers. Finding the right balance is art, but let's cover the basics.

In this article, we will cover two alternative booking flows commonly used by group tour operators:

  1. Classic register-to-pay flow allows visitors to review trip details and enter their email before committing to the booking. This flow is great if you run abandoned cart campaigns and collect interest for future marketing.
  2. One-page checkout flow minimizes distractions and leads your website visitor straight to the payment options, streamlining the checkout experience. This flow is perfect for private trips and promoted destination events, where the website visitors are coming in ready to book.

Watch the detailed overview below to understand the difference:

Now, let's review a business application for these two scenarios.

First, there is no one-fits-all answer, and the checkout flow will depend on your business model, the type of group experiences you offer, and your marketing funnel. Questions below will help configure the process for your audience:

  • Are the trips you are offering public or private?
  • Do you collect applications before approving guests for a trip? 
  • Do you run "abandoned cart" campaigns? 
  • Do you prefer to collect the deposit at the moment of registration?  
  • What channels do you use to promote a new trip? 

Private VS Public Trips

Examples of private group tours include school or social impact tours, family vacations, team trips, and destination weddings. They don't need advertising outside of the group they are designed for, the list of invitees is usually pre-defined and closed. To build a private itinerary, choose the option "Private" in the trip settings. You can then bulk-upload potential participants and send them an invite from within the YouLi app or via personalized Magic links.

Trip Privacy Settings

Most private groups will fit into a one-page checkout category, although the specifics may depend on what type of group you are working with.

Trip Applications

The trip application process will help you identify if participants have the necessary skills, experience, and expectations about the upcoming trip. In that case, you want potential guests to register and answer the related questions so you can follow up with an interview. That is a classic scenario for the register-to-pay checkout flow, where users are not allowed to process payment until approved by the trip planner. Use YouLi Custom Forms to create the trip application.

Abandoned Carts

Abandoned carts in group travel are registrations that never turned into bookings. While e-commerce stores often consider abandoned carts a lost sale, those are also great opportunities for future bookings. Unlike convenience shopping, group travel has a longer sales cycle, which means your future clients may follow company news and updates for months before deciding to jump on one of your trips. The best way to utilize "abandoned bookings" is to connect YouLi registration forms with your email marketing platform (for example, via Zapier integration), and send out targeted email or social media campaigns. This automation saves you time, helps maintain a clean database, and increases future conversions. To collect registrations for future promotions, you will need to set up register-to-pay checkout. This method will also help you outreach to a waiting list in case you increase trip capacity or receive cancellations.

Collecting Deposits At Registration

In many cases, for example, returning customers and referrals, you don't need further explanation of what the trip is about. If your #1 goal is to collect the payment to hold the spot, you want a one-page checkout where clients get to pick their add-ons and make a payment as soon as they land on a registration page. Here is what it may look like: 

One-page checkout flow

Note that this method works best for a warm audience familiar with your brand and details of the experience. Ensure that your checkout page is fully branded and displayed with your logo and brand colors. For fully seamless customer experience, set up white label domain powered by YouLi.

Here is a great example of a one-page checkout setup by WHOA travel:

WHOA Travel checkout page

Promoted Trips

Promoted trips include itineraries that you announced outside of your company website. This may include pre-trip webinars or educational programs, newsletters, partner communications, email campaigns, paid advertisements, and other marketing channels. Similar to the case with returning customers, promoted trips are targeted toward a warm audience and therefore don't require visitors to explore trip details before submitting their payment.

For example, Nick Vannello, the founder of GoNaked Events, engages his community via email and podcast announcements before opening the registration for the upcoming retreat, which builds up the excitement before the spots are even available for purchase. At the moment of opening the sale, his audience is well engaged and educated about the event. At that point, his main goal is to collect the payments. Logically, one-page checkout is the way to go. The setup will change if the trip is advertised to the general public and you want to ensure the atmosphere by taking the right people, so switch to the application process (see above) via register-to-pay checkout flow.

To learn more about the best industry practices and real business examples, join the YouLi community of group travel professionals and watch the webinar dedicated to upgrading e-commerce checkout with the booking flow designed for group travel.

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