March 13, 2018, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
A recent article about travel marketing in the digital world made some interesting points regarding customer interactions and the travel lifecycle. Trying to understand the customer journey in travel, and how personalization fits into it is a challenge many travel companies face.
Because of the comparative “newness” of the idea of personalization, there is still a great deal of strategy needed in order to be successful in this endeavor.
The article had some great insights overall, and there was one part that I found to be particularly interesting:
"Travel planning is as unique as the people doing the planning...It's up to these online travel services to create an experience that begins the moment someone decides to take a trip. Travel marketers must, from that first decision point, weave a story that engages that traveler."
In a new wave of digital, it is clear that travelers are inundated with massive amounts choices and an unmatched amount of data. Trying to navigate all of that to plan a trip that is perfect for their unique needs has become an overwhelming task.
The statement about the uniqueness of travel planning rings true and has become an increasing challenge. How do you ensure that a customer is receiving a trip that is geared towards his/her specific needs? The only way to really capture customer attention throughout the travel lifecycle is to personalize every step of the way.
The best way to accomplish this is to embrace data. Now more than ever, there are volumes and volumes of data being produced that are able to demonstrate exactly what customers want. Leveraging data about customers to create a personalized journey in every single digital interaction is the only way to drive long-term, sustainable success.
Personalization has been a focus of many of our previous posts, and there are a clear number of statistics and facts that really demonstrate why we continue to encourage personalization - because the truth is, the data shows that it works, both in the long-term and the short-term.
I’ve noted before that an increasing amount of research illustrates that customers are seeking out personalization in every aspect of their lives, and travel is not excluded from that.
In fact, a study conducted by Qubit found that 56% of travelers agree that it is important for travel sites to personalize experiences and that this trend spans across different demographics:
- 73% of families agree that personalization is important
- 69% of millennials agree personalization is important
Both of these demographics are notoriously difficult to capture in terms of long-term loyalty and conversion, but personalization remains the key differentiator. Travelers across different age groups and demographics are more than willing to engage with brands that feel uniquely tailored towards their individual needs.
Similarly, we’ve discussed data from a survey conducted by Phocuswright and Google that demonstrated the value of personalization. Many companies are afraid to invest for fear that it might not succeed, but that could not be farther from the truth.
Customers are willing to invest in experiences that are geared towards their preferences and behaviors, and the data reinforces this. The survey found that 36% of U.S. travelers would pay more for information and experiences that have been tailored based on their preferences or past behavior, demonstrating the sheer value that lies in personalization strategies.
The abovementioned PhocusWire article also states that "it's up to these online travel services to create an experience that begins the moment someone decides to take a trip." That, however, is incorrect. It is not just about engaging a person who has the intent of taking a trip. To be successful, travel companies must focus on creating the intent to travel - not just nurturing the existing desire - in order to really see true customer engagement.
By creating touch points throughout the travel lifecycle and personalizing every customer interaction, travel marketers can not only convert more prospects into actual customers but they can also turn more “dreamers” into prospects and then ultimately into customers.
To learn more about Utrip and how our artificial intelligence can drive success for your business through personalization, please contact us.