Tour Operators: Does Your Inquiry Form Actually Work?

Avatar on Oct 27, 2017. 7 min Read

Here’s a story you might recognise. It happened to Jane, the marketing lead for a South American adventure travel company. She got her boss’s buy-in to implement an aggressive content marketing scheme — and it paid off surprisingly quickly with a huge spike in traffic.

Even better, analytics showed that visitors were sticking around longer and visiting multiple pages, thanks to her beefed up content offerings, email marketing tactics, and vastly improved product pages. Jane appeared to be winning on all fronts.

Except for one thing…

 

None of that traffic translated into new leads for her sales team. Visitors bounced once they hit the inquiry form — or worse yet, dropped off after completing one or two fields. Conversion rates were a dismal 8%.

Not quite the result Jane (or her boss) was looking for.

Sound familiar? I’d be surprised if it didn’t, actually. Because marketing statistics show that most industries see a conversion rate of between 9% and 17% on their inquiry forms. And those are the more “successful” ones — some businesses see just 1% conversion with their sad little forms.

And to make matters worse, most completed forms aren’t generating qualified sales opportunities, they’re simply generating a list of email addresses.

Email addresses for your sales staff to waste a lot of time and effort on, as they weed out the visitors who are far enough along the path to purchase to potentially become a customer from those who are just at the information-gathering stage.

In other words, even if you are getting a bunch of form conversions, you’re still not feeding your sales team high-quality prospects.

Two approaches to travel company inquiry forms

When I work with clients at 10x Travel, I generally see one of two approaches for handling the inquiry form.

On the one hand, there’s the short and simple version that tends to have a higher conversion rate, but fails to gather much in the way of meaningful information your sales team can use. One that looks a bit like this:

Then there’s the long and complicated form that nails down all the details — but tends to have a really poor completion rate (like that 1% figure we talked about earlier).

Pamela Vaughan, Hubspot’s marketing manager for web strategy, puts it like this:

“In a nutshell, the length of your form inevitably leads to a tradeoff between the quantity and quality of the leads you generate. A shorter form usually means more people will be willing to fill it out, so you’ll generate more leads . But the quality of the leads will be higher when visitors are willing to complete more forms fields and provide you with more information about themselves and what they’re looking for.”

So how do you walk the tightrope between quantity and quality? I think I’ve found a better way.

A new approach to the inquiry form conundrum

We’ve pretty well established that you need a good bit of high-quality information to identify well-qualified leads for your sales team.

But we also know that the longer forms necessary to gather that information are conversion killers, as Neil Patel shows in this infographic from Quicksprout.

How do you square that circle?

Here’s an interesting fact from the research I mentioned above:

Multi-page inquiry forms had a significantly higher completion rate than the single-page ones, like 300% higher.

 

And that makes sense — who wants to scroll through a seemingly endless inquiry page cluttered by a headache-inducing maze of input boxes?

Wouldn’t it stand to reason that a multi-page inquiry form with just one field per page should have the highest completion rate and deliver the type of useful information your sales team needs to separate the warm leads from the information-gatherers?

And actually, we know it does. Because that’s exactly how Typeform inquiry forms are structured — and they are generating eye-popping conversion rates. I’m talking completion rates of 50% or more on forms that collect all the data you need to identify hot prospects.

Sound too good to be true? Then read carefully, because I’m going to show you how to put Typeform to work for you.

Hey, are you a travel company owner or marketing director?

Then join How to Grow Your Travel Business With Content Marketing!

In this free 7-day email course, I’ll teach you how to improve sales for your company so that your focus remains where it’s needed most — delivering amazing vacations and holidays. Get my copy now.

Why Typeform works for travel companies

Ever met someone who just fires off a string of questions the minute you meet?

“Where do you live? What’s your spouse’s name? Where do you work? Do you have kids?”

It’s annoying — and sends you looking for the exit.

That’s what a long, single-page inquiry form feels like to your customer.

Typeform feels like a human conversation.

 

It asks one question at a time, mimicking the give and take of a normal conversation. And it adds features like piping and logic jumps to enhance the conversational flow.

Piping feeds information obtained from one question into the text of another question in your form.

For example, if the first question asks for a name, the second question would include the person’s name — “Great, Nina, now what’s a good email address for you?” Friendly and personal, right?

Logic jumps take it to the next level by altering the questions in your form based on answers to previous questions.

It works like this:

Suppose your company offers two types of Galapagos Island tours — a cruise tour and a land-based island-hopping tour. One question asks your customer which type of tour he’s interested in. If he answers “cruise,” he will see a set of questions related specifically to cruise packages.

Each successive answer shapes the next question.

Conditional logic means that your customer never sees any questions that are irrelevant to his needs. It delivers a more personalised experience that eliminates conversational friction and boosts completion rates.

Typeform really shines for mobile users, too, who make up an increasingly large number of travel website visitors. There’s no scrolling through huge chunks of text or tapping tiny boxes on a miniature mobile screen. The entire process can be managed with a few swipes and thumb strokes.

Are you beginning to see why Typeform works for your customers?

 

Because it also works for you.

How, you ask? Let me count the ways…

  1. Anyone can create an engaging form in a matter of minutes using the drag-and-drop interface. No coding bootcamp required.
  2. It works right out of the box and solves your compatibility problems between devices — again, no coding required.
  3. You can match your form to your brand with custom fonts, images, and colors for a sleek, professional look (did I mention you don’t need to know a snip of code?)
  4. You get automatic email alerts when someone completes a form. All the data from the form is included in the email, so you have everything at your fingertips for a quick response to your customers.
  5. You can also configure automated email responses to add another touchpoint and keep the conversation going.
  6. Your Typeform data can be pushed to the other apps and tools you use to manage your workflow — email, CRM, Google tools, Slack, Asana — by connecting Typeform with Zapier.
  7. You can take payments right through your forms — customers make deposits and confirm bookings without ever leaving the page.
  8. The robust reporting suite gives you real-time information about your conversions, drop-offs, and even the devices customers are using to complete your forms. It’s easy to spot problems and make instant course corrections when something on your form isn’t working.
  9. Did I mention there’s a free basic plan and that the Pro and Pro+ plans start as low as $30 a month? Yes, even your company can afford Typeform.

But don’t take my word for it

Rowena, a Christian tours travel business owner based in the U.S., came to us for help with her lead generation. Her existing inquiry form was turning in a disappointing (but sadly, very typical for travel businesses) 1.7% completion rate. Even though over 1,560 people landed on her inquiry form, just 26 actually completed it.

The client’s existing form had 21 fields on a single page, with open-ended questions like “what is the main purpose of the tour?” and “who will host the tour (please list all specific names)?”

These types of questions are known conversion killers — and worse yet, they do little to actually qualify a prospective customer.

We overhauled the inquiry form using Typeform and built a series of nine qualifying questions that focused on the customer’s intent, where he or she was in the path to purchase, and approximate budget for the tour.

Questions like this…

In short, the form collected actionable information — and took just 3 minutes to complete. The results from the new approach speak for themselves:

Not only did conversions increase exponentially, but the sales team had useful information that helped them tailor their approach based on the customer’s input — which led to more bookings.

Key points to ponder

Here’s what we learned today — and what you can do right now to get better leads from your inquiry form:

  • Most travel company inquiry forms do a really poor job of delivering high-quality leads. Conversion rates are typically abysmal and the information they collect is inadequate for identifying qualified leads. In short, your form is probably making life difficult for your sales team.
  • The existing choices (a short and mostly useless form with higher completion rates versus a longer form with better data that practically no one ever filled out) really don’t work for the travel industry. You need a way to get the information you need without sacrificing completion rates with a complex and unworkable form.
  • Typeform solves the inquiry form dilemma. It provides a seamless and satisfying conversational experience that exponentially boosts completion rates — we’re seeing conversion rates of 30%, 40%, even 50% with our clients. And it manages to collect all the information you need to qualify your prospects. A win-win for you and your customers.
  • Typeform is so cheap that any travel business can afford it, and so easy to use, you could revamp your inquiry form this afternoon and see improved results tomorrow. Why waste your sales team’s time chasing contacts that are nowhere near the decision-making stage when you could be sending them hot leads ready to make a booking?

If your inquiry form is languishing on your website and not delivering prospects who are on the path to purchase, we can help you turn it around.

Ready to get more bookings with an inquiry form that actually works for you? Then let’s have a chat.

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