The importance of personalised travel

Through better data mining, travel providers can deliver more personalised experiences and increase customer loyalty

The travel industry is facing the challenge of delivering more seamless and personalised experiences. Research confirms that personalisation (where companies target customers with tailored offers and content built on their characteristics) is highly valuable both for business and leisure travellers. Many travellers seek customised experiences that are tailored to fit their travel needs, from booking to checkout. Research indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalised experiences (rising to 87% in regards to if travel websites/apps offer personalised experiences), while 69% of consumers will be more loyal to a provider that does so.

Using aggregated data and machine learning, travel companies can accurately identify and get to know their customers, enabling them to provide custom messages, relevant upgrade offers and other personalised add-ons for upcoming trips. These new tools are allowing travel providers to generate more revenue, however, in order to do so, companies need to genuinely understand the traveller’s needs and meet them across all touchpoints.

Through Customer Data Integration (CDI), companies consolidate and manage information about the customers from all available sources, ensuring that everyone within the company has access to the most up to date information. In-depth traveller data enables travel companies including airlines, hotels and OTAs to segment their customer base and understand travellers on a more personal level. Do they prefer luxury hotels? Are they looking for a trip that the kids will love? When and where do they typically travel? How much do they typically spend on travel? Affluent travellers have different motivations and preferences for travel, e.g. seeking adventure, disconnecting from every-day life, well-being and bleisure trips. Preferences that go beyond factors such as income bracket and age, understanding their demographic and their individual preferences are indispensable. Below is a synopsis of the most common data collecting points marketers use in the process.

Source: Skift’s 2018 Digital Transformation Survey

In relation to this, we are experiencing a shift where millennials are becoming the industry’s most represented demographic and a generation that has higher expectations of travel companies and their experiences. Ultimately, this makes millennials harder to impress. Research conducted by Skift validates that millennial travellers view personalised experiences as an expectation rather than a “nice-to-have”. As a result, 90% of companies within travel and tourism have technology such as chatbots and machine learning in place to help them deliver personalised content, while 50% of brands are further using the data from that technology to display tailored content on an individuals screen based on search interests and purchase history of the customer.

Travellers with deep pockets value experience above anything else, consequently, if the main driver for companies is to increase revenue through cross selling and up selling, companies may find that they create an environment that impairs the experience rather than delights the customers’ needs.  It all comes down to knowing your demographics, understanding who your customers are and when they are going to make a purchase.

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