Using data to create greater authenticity in travel

 

Travel companies can no longer compete on price alone. The unprecedented emphasis on consumer behavior and customer expectations mounts increasing pressure on travel brands to deliver authentic experiences to their customers and increase brand loyalty.

How can travel brands understand and influence the behaviour of their customers? It’s not about solely responding to customers’ wants and needs, but instead using the data collected about customers to develop insights and then influence, and anticipate, what it is customers need before they realise it themselves.

For example: Which customers are viewing holidays between 7-9pm on a Thursday within a 17 mile radius of Manchester airport? If the weather in Madrid is above 25 degrees, would this be the ideal time to trigger an experience featuring a weekend break to the Spanish capital? Stitching together these variables allows us to create more targeted personalisations. Allowing your customers to fall in and out of these segments is crucial. A user bucketed as a customer seeking a couples holiday and constantly shown trips to the Maldives doesn’t cater for the possibility of a break up. Travel brands need to adapt and respond to changes in user behaviour.

I often have conversations with clients who are nervous about the extent we should allow customers to know how much information we have about them. “Welcome back Sally, do you still want to travel to Iceland?” might sit well with some of your customers, but not with others. There’s a fine line between being helpful and overbearing. We find that welcome layers with a personal touch work effectively with luxury travel brands in particular, increasing conversion rates by up to 4% and significantly reducing bounce rate.

If you were dealing with one of your customers over the phone there would be a level of service that they would expect, to be treated end to end as an individual rather than just a number. Big data now enables this level of service which customers are increasingly expecting.

At Qubit, we collect data from a range of different sources; we break down data silos to create the most complete, personalised experience possible and – we focus on making the journey as authentic as possible.

Segmentation still matters, but meaningful segmentation is about customer behaviour and interest, as opposed to outdated models of age and gender. It requires good data matched with the ability to action real-time insights. Gone are the days of bucketing users simply into ‘first time visitors’ or ‘repeat bookers.’ Now we can, and should, be developing greater granularity when it comes to creating customer segments. This way, we target the right users, at the right time, based on specific event data.

Qubit is increasingly using machine learning to discover new segments and cohorts overlooked by marketers. The point in the journey at which we deliver an experience, and the message we show a visitor should be based on multiple attributes – like pages viewed or how long customers spend reviewing an itinerary page. Simply basing these decisions on whether it’s a couple or a family doesn’t allow us to fully cater to the customer.  

Customers give us vital data, you just need to make sure you leverage it in the right way. Capturing visitors attention when they’re browsing, with authentic, personalised experiences, will help to increase the number of customers who stay loyal to your brand.

Find out the strategies you can implement today with our free ebook, Packed for Peaks, which features 12 tried and tested tips to boost conversions, grow loyalty and put your customer data to work.