From cheap flights to positive reviews - there are a number of obvious factors that can influence whether or not someone books a trip online.

One thing that might not spring to mind is the language used by the travel brand in question.

According to Unbounce, however, this can massively impact conversion rates. In a recent report, it suggests that if just 1% of a page’s copy subconsciously reminds visitors of feelings of anger or fear, it could lower conversion rates by up to 25%.

With this in mind, here are just three ways travel brands can do the reverse, and use language to increase the chances of a booking.

Think positive

Unbounce’s study uses an 'emotion lexicon' to determine whether words associated with certain emotions affect overall conversion rates. 

It found that words associated with anger and fear tend to have a big impact, with these particular emotions putting off consumers from finalising a booking.

So, what kind of words would a travel brand have to use to evoke anger? Surprisingly, it’s not the most obvious, and consumers might not even recognise that their response is negative. Words like ‘limited’ or ‘rail’ are said to subconsciously raise negative emotions in consumers, even when linked to unrelated experiences.

The answer is simple - always use language that evokes positivity. It’s trickier than it sounds, of course, with most travel brands falling into the cliché trap.

While its service speaks for itself (cue jeers), Southern Railways is a particularly bad example. Of course, it plays more of a functional role in the lives of consumers as opposed to the inspirational, yet its use of language does nothing to instil positivity in users.

From ‘accessibility statement’ to ‘compensation’ – not to mention the glaring ‘major disruption’ – its homepage is littered with words that are both negative and corporate-sounding. 

In contrast, regional railway C2C puts a positive spin on local engineering works, using a friendly “we’re open” to reassure travellers.

Keep it short

While it’s tempting to wax lyrical about destinations, travel brands tend to do best when landing pages are short and concise. 

Copy must always serve a purpose, and never be used to fill up space. Again, with travel typically being associated with inspiration and excitement, it’s easy to get caught up in superfluous language.

Booking.com is a great example of copy that is both functional and inspirational. As well as pointing users towards various locations, it still manages to evoke the benefits of travel such as relaxation and beautiful scenery.

Meanwhile, other brands like Airbnb use visuals to tell a story, resulting in a minimal design and copy that is succinct and easy to digest.

Evoke confidence

Lastly, Unbounce highlights how trust-inducing language can be an effective tool for travel brands, mainly stemming from consumer concerns over the legitimacy of low-price offers and deals.

It found that dedicating at least 10% of copy to establishing trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.

Words such as ‘share’, ‘friendly’ and ‘recommend’ are particularly good for building confidence, tapping into the notion of travelling as a social experience, and reassuring users that help and advice will be on hand every step of the way.

HostelWorld is a great example of this, using reassuring language to position itself as the perfect way to have an authentic travel experience. It recognises common consumer concerns, such as the safety of hostels and associated booking costs, and directly addresses them.

The word ‘help’ and the phrase ‘helping you’ is consistently used to reassure and instil confidence. 

Related reading:

For more on CRO, download the Conversion Rate Optimization Report here.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 18 April, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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