5 Tips for using Data in Travel

 

With 49% of US & UK travellers suggesting they would switch hotel brands after just ONE bad experience (Lithium, 2017) the pressure on hoteliers — and travel brands in general — to provide an experience that meets & exceeds expectations is intensifying. Growing customer expectations paired with intense competition and high marketing costs place pressure on marketing teams to acquire more customers whilst maximising revenue-per-customer.

The solution? Better use of data & analytics across the customer experience. Those that can master the art of data science can move beyond acquiring the right customers, to establishing loyal customers through personalised content served at the right time. To do this, travel companies are faced with the challenge of collecting, analysing & leveraging masses of unorganised data as more money is set to be pumped into big data within the travel industry. In an American Express study, 83% of millennials said they would allow travel brands to track their habits in exchange for a better, more individual experience.

Data use in Travel on the up

All travel brands aim to make a sale — a flight, a hotel room, an activity — and there’s a growing appreciation of data across the travel landscape, as companies compete to be the best at leveraging customer data to improve experiences. The advent of programmatic ad platforms has been particularly useful in improving ad serving capabilities with, for instance, real-time pricing. In addition; most travel brands are keen to offer traveller personalisation so they can get the right offer in front of the right person at the right time. However, using data for customer acquisition only solves one part of the puzzle.

 

Our 5 Travel Data Tips

Recently Clicksco launched a new travel-focused product where we combine booking data with customer profiling & intent data to create cross-selling opportunities. By offering timely and relevant content through the best channel (display, search, social, RTB or video), at the time they’re most likely to convert, it increases customer satisfaction as well as the travel brands’ bottom line. When done right cross selling helps to build a deeper relationship with customers, better engaging them based on a product you’ve already sold them to maximise the value of your offering. Here are our 5 tips for better use of travel data:

1. Adopt data & analytics across the customer journey

Over the last few years our main focus has been on leveraging data for right time, right place customer acquisition. Moving further across the customer journey is crucial, which is why we’ve launched this product to enable travel organisations to extend their sales funnels. Leveraging data throughout the funnel has never been more important from serving the right content in decision making, to ads when they’re ready to buy, to personalising experiences, retaining customers and then again to win customers back when they re-enter the market.

 

Increasingly digital savvy consumers spend an ever-growing amount of time online engaging with travel specific content. For example; 75% of UK internet users consume travel content averaging 2.4 billion minutes spent consuming such content each month vs 60% of US internet users who average 8.7 billion minutes per month (Expedia, 2017). With such a large audience that actively interacts with travel content online, there is a significant opportunity to connect with them across their journey to influence purchase decisions.

2. Don’t stop at conversion

Once a user has booked you’ve won the sale, but not necessarily the customer or at least not a loyal one. However, this is where the funnel can be extended — cross-selling additional products/services — creating a lasting and loyal customer relationship. In the travel industry 48% of airline passengers and 59% of hotel guests say they are interested in additional services, which means that without cross selling you’re potentially leaving money on the table. No matter what travel product you are selling Tripyield can increase the revenue potential of each booking; subsequently improving traveler satisfaction, potentially increasing lifetime value, and providing a point of competitive differentiation.

3. Think like Amazon

Amazon attribute 30% of their revenue to additional product recommendations after a purchase has been made. Retailers have to think about the whole experience beyond the product they offer to meet the high demands of customers. Thinking like a retailer means extending their experience beyond the purchase to customer service, re-purchase and further. This also means a greater reliance on data.

Data is at the heart of the digital travel growth — fuelling & supporting the real time, reactive digital products that customers now expect. Collecting, managing & leveraging customer data across channels has become critical to brands across sectors in order to succeed. Digital innovation that delivers contextual and personalised experiences to the traveller — at the appropriate moment, on any device, across land, sea, rail or sky — is the battleground of the digital (mobile) travel era. Data is at the centre of this digital innovation enabling us to accurately predict what a user is on a site to do in a given moment, to deliver the right experience right then — whether that’s an ad, incentive to purchase, or an organic page.

4. Explore new channels

Screens have been a focal point of the online space for many years, and even as mobile, smart watches and most recently VR/AR have become key areas to leverage data in travel. Voice Search, however, is on the cusp of exploding. According to Bing there has been a 343% YoY increase in the UK for hotel searches using Cortana, whilst flight searches via Cortana rose 277% YoY (Bing, 2017).

5. Explore new platforms

The Google & Facebook duopoly will plough on — Google continue to become a threat in metasearch with its Google Hotel Ads and keeps improving its travel planning app Google Trips; whilst Facebook launched their travel ads product Dynamic Ads for Travel in April and recently opened it up to airlines. However; stay aware of new platforms such as Snapchat, for instance, which recently started selling Sponsored Geofilter ads through its API to take advantage of the travel season kick-off.

Conclusions

Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant, ubiquitous and more valuable with virtually every activity creating a digital trace; and now with the development of artificial-intelligence (AI) techniques such as machine learning enables us to extract more value from data. At the core of our travel-focused data offering is a Data Management Platform that collects profile, intent & behavioural data on millions of customers globally every month. Collecting & analysing a range of travel data (e.g. social behaviour, session history, previous purchases, booking details, etc) to then create a single unified traveller profile will enable an array of personalisation opportunities to drive further sales, making travellers more likely to respond.