March 27, 2018, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
For travel companies to effectively engage with their customers, it's essential that they understand the purchase paths taken by different types of travelers. Too often, marketing is overly broad and generic, failing to take into account the individual preferences of each customer. Let's look at why it's so important for businesses in the travel industry to understand that the customer journey is often quite diverse.
There is No Typical Traveler
Mark Rabe, CEO of Sojern, recently gave an interview with PhocusWire where he provided some insights into this issue. One of the central points of this interview is that the "average traveler" is a myth. As more travel options open up, and people develop more and more personalized preferences, it's no longer practical to reach everyone with the same approach. Rabe also mentions that even the same travelers have different needs at different times. As people travel more frequently, the same customer might be a solo business traveler one week and a tourist going on a family vacation at another time. Below are a few examples of diverse types of travelers. Travel companies need to consider this variety when assessing their digital experiences.
- Business travelers often take short trips to attend meetings and conferences. They generally seek comfortable and efficient services. However, more people are now embracing "bleisure," trips that combine business and pleasure.
- Budget Travelers and Backpackers - This group includes teens, college students and other younger travelers.
- Luxury Travelers - At the other end of the spectrum are people who fly First Class, stay at high-end hotels and seek the widest range of amenities.
- Seniors - As people live longer and seek more fulfilling experiences as they age, older Baby Boomers are traveling more.
- Adventure Travelers - Some travelers are more interested in rock climbing, exploring caves or kayaking than staying in upscale hotels.
- Couples - Couples often seek romantic getaways and experiences they can share.
- Families - People traveling with children have distinct needs. They seek child-friendly accommodations and attractions.
Of course, the above categories aren't mutually exclusive as many travelers fit into two or more such groups. Furthermore, each category is itself very broad. A family with one child has very different needs than a family of six. All of this points to why it's insufficient to treat travelers as one undifferentiated group.
Tips to Help You Understand the Travel Customer's Journey
With so many types of travelers, it's understandable that there are also many diverse paths to purchase. When reaching your audience, you have to consider a variety of factors that come into play as customers make their decisions.
- Embrace Mobile - As with their peers in many other industries, travel professionals must recognize that more and more customers are using mobile devices. This is actually an advantage as it means you can reach travelers on the go and at every point of their journey. Mobile apps and text messages can help you reach customers efficiently.
- Don't Overlook Video - One of the best ways to reach today's travel customers is with video. More and more consumers are watching travel videos to get ideas for destinations and activities.
- Think Omnichannel - Most travel consumers are using multiple devices and channels. That's why it's important to engage with them on social media, email, text messages and using retargeted ads.
- Keep up With Current Travel Trends - Different destinations go through phases of popularity. Data from Google, for example, reveals that Reykjavik, Havana and Toronto are currently top destinations. However, you also have to look at your own customers' preferences and history.
- Collect and Use Data - Advances in machine learning and big data are helping the travel industry evolve. Travel companies can use data to create more personalized and relevant messages for their customers.
The travel industry is undergoing many changes due to a variety of circumstances. With so many converging trends, such as the growth of mobile, AI and big data and customers demanding more personalized experiences, it's more important than ever for travel companies to get up to speed and meet the needs of today's travelers.
Learn how artificial intelligence technology from Utrip can help you better engage with your customers: contact us.