We are well into summer vacation season now, as families jet off for different climes and the chance for some well-earned rest and relaxation. How many of you made a decision on destination because you were offered a personalized experience? Did you notice some of the tactics being used?
The travel industry is one with a huge potential for a tailored customer experience, at numerous stages from the point of research and booking, to the airport, on-board the flight and beyond. The 'extra touch' has gone way beyond a mint on your hotel pillow these days...
At this year’s FiturTech international tourism trade fair, data science company DigitalMeteo demonstrated its predictive weather tool to tailor holiday destinations to web users.
It works by using the visitor’s IP address to establish what the weather is like at their location, and can alter a travel brand’s web content to show destinations where the weather is more favorable. By establishing trends from previous visitors, it can also understand patterns in trip behavior. For example, when raining in Madrid, visitors are more likely to search for city breaks elsewhere in Europe. When the sun is shining, they want to head to the Spanish coast.
This sort of data, including long-range forecasts, can also be used to create targeted and relevant marketing strategies. Are Londoners set for three weeks of rain in June (as they often are)? A timely email campaign suggesting somewhere with blue skies would be well received.
Elsewhere, Lufthansa is offering its customers a more personalized experience for in-flight entertainment. Using the airline’s online portal ahead of their journey, customers can access trailers for all the movies playing on their flight, the schedule for any live channels and will soon allow holidaymakers to personalize their entertainment content based on their individual preferences.
Read how lastminute.com, Britain’s largest online travel and leisure retailer, uses BlueVenn’s Intelligent Marketing solution to drive engagement with 1.65 million weekly visitors and create reactive marketing campaigns based on website interaction.
When this sort of personalization is acknowledged by customers, it is generally well received. Earlier this year, insight company eDigitalResearch conducted its eTravel Benchmark test, which compared the satisfaction scores throughout the online journey for 19 of the UK’s top travel brands.
For the fifth consecutive time, website booking.com received the highest rating for its digital offerings – not just through the ease of use across channels but because of personalization tactics like saved searches, holiday wish lists and its ‘Passion Search’ recommendation feature. Of those surveyed, 90% rated the content and experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
Other research suggests that there is room for even more levels of personalization, particularly when it comes to offering ancillary travel and hotel services. A study conducted in the UK by travel tech company Sabre found that 69% of travelers think it is important to receive travel options catered to their personal travel history and preferences, with people prepared to spend an average of £61 on personalizing their journey. Around 20% of 16-24-year-olds were happy to spend more than £100.
In the same way customers have come to expect recommendations after downloading a music track, or their favorite retailers to remember their purchasing history, people want the same from their travel suppliers – and are prepared to supply personal data and pay extra to improve the level of service they receive.
Whether this is a special offer to their favorite destination, priority boarding, customized in-flight entertainment or even knowing that your hotel will set the air conditioning to your desired level before check in, the opportunities are there to create seamless experiences with customers and demonstrate a level or service that keeps them coming back.