Travel brands have a loyalty problem – how can data help?

Travel brands have a loyalty problem – how can data help?

February 13, 2019 Graham Tricker Leave a Comment
Identity Resolution

Everyone dreams of their perfect holiday. From golden sands and poolside drinks to icy slopes and city breaks, each individual has a different interpretation of the idyllic holiday destination and experience. However, marketers know the holiday experience doesn’t begin when you touch down at your destination. Rather, it encompasses the entire process from initial research through to booking and consideration.

Why don’t travellers read your emails?

A survey from customer loyalty specialists Collinson revealed that 60% of travellers ignore the majority of travel communications, as they feel they aren’t relevant. Likewise, only 27% claimed that they receive offers or loyalty initiatives that are personalised to their specific interests. With the abundance of touchpoints now impacting consumer decisions to buy travel packages, holidays, flights and hotels, surely it makes sense for the sector to try and get to know the customer better, and start addressing individual needs?

Customer segmentation is a tried-and-tested means of whittling down your pool of potential customers based on predicted interests and previous purchases. Or you might be relying on cookie data to find customers, or competing with other travel brands targeting the same people inside the same walled gardens. The problem is, sometimes these tactics can be based more on guesswork than science, and may not reach the granular levels needed when it comes to recognising individual interest.

Using data to stand out from the crowd

Crafting messages based on known qualities is the best way to find and engage relevant customers or, put another way, to show customers you care about them and their needs. In a competitive and often commoditised sector like travel, this could make all the difference in delivering repeat business for your brand.

This is where identity resolution comes in. Using this as part of your marketing mix helps to provide a clearer picture of individuals, rather than just groups of customers with assumed common interests.

Collinson’s research showed that only half of organisations stated they collect a wide range of customer data and augment it with third-party sources. If you’re not doing this, you could be losing the edge to your competitors. A holistic approach to customer targeting and retargeting can really help to avoid wasting your marketing spend.

For example, you wouldn’t target a prospect online with an ad for a skiing holiday, purely based on the fact that they watch winter sports on TV. Just as not all winter sports are the same, not all customers are the same. Identity resolution provides the pipes that connect different sets of data, helping you to tailor your communications to inspire that perfect holiday for everyone.

The travel industry in 2019 – what’s in store?

Sites such as Booking.com have revealed their predictions for the travel industry in 2019. According to the travel ecommerce company, almost two thirds of travellers value experiences more than material possessions, and are more likely to respond to information on where to eat, shop, watch sports or relax. Trips including ‘the experience curator’ – which is listed as one of the hottest up-and-coming travel trends – reinforces the importance of personalising the holiday booking experience, to incorporate not just destinations but a wealth of activities, excursions, eateries and everything else that comes with the perfect holiday.

These trends highlight the growing importance of experiences, and how essential it is that travel marketers get the digital journey right. Identity resolution is going to be crucial for travel brands who want to deliver truly memorable experiences for their customers.

Learn more about LiveRamp’s identity resolution service.