Travel bookings can still be easily performed online using desktop PCs, but emerging technology has made it more accessible for consumers to research travel options on their mobile devices (mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets). For as long as we can remember, travel marketers have relied on physical cards, online login, email address, etc. to identify loyalty guests and build CRM for personalization.
With the expansion of today’s technology, it’s essential for travel marketers to transform their strategies in order to understand consumers’ individual media consumption patterns and preferences for effective marketing towards today’s technology-savvy guests. One strategy that most travel marketers have not yet solved is producing single guest/user profiles by aggregating data from multiple sources.
In an article published on HotelExecutive.com, I highlight 3 steps that can be taken in order to understand and engage your guests in their decision to book travel. These steps are listed and summarized below:
With easy access to an identifier, marketers see individuals as unique entities at each customer touchpoint. Merkle uses the “Identity Graph,” a structured view that marketers should use to understand each individual guest. The Identity Graph is used for gathering data from cookies, emails, and other available traditional identifiers and putting together these new and already-existing elements. Marketers will be able to categorize their loyalty members and reduce the amount of “unknowns.” This is important for travel brands because marketers can capitalize on that information to generate individual experiences that will engage guests.
To fully understand the prospective customer, at Merkle, we split the identity graph into three distinct pillars:
- Terrestrial Identity: physical address, phone, name, individual
- Device Identity: recognizing a device and its relationship to other devices
- Digital Identity: based on known identities/accounts: email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Travel marketers are becoming more accustomed to the e-traveler and understand the importance of offering customer experience. In order to execute, they put together customer experience (persona, big idea, and the guest journey) and performance (ROI, data-driven, predictive, and measurable) through the 3 Cs of addressability: context, content, and connectivity.
- Context: Understanding the traveler and applying what is known about the product/market to the known traveler.
- Content: Consists of captivating stories, advice, and travel offers that are marketed. We take advantage of what we know of the audience and provide our assets.
- Connectivity: Utilizing the addressable platforms to connect context and content and incorporating their benefits of targeting and tracking into various media and channels.
Customers begin getting engaged with brands when their products and services become personalized. With greater trust in a brand, customers also start showing their loyalty. Optimize on what you have access to – loyalty profiles, individual guest stay records, emails, cell phone numbers, and social media identifiers. It can be useful to map out your guest journeys before and after the expected norm. For example, instead of starting when customers are within the booking process, put added emphasis on personalization during the earlier consideration phase On the other hand, don’t finish mapping once the guest has checked out; continue to stay with your guest until he or she has arrived back at their destination.
To learn more on how to evolve your marketing strategy using today’s emerging technology to better personalize guest experiences, read my article here.