This post is about the use and importance of analytical strategies in the travel and hospitality domain for the year 2017.
Travel & Tourism generated US$7.2 trillion (9.8% of global GDP) and 284 million jobs (1 in 11 jobs) to the global economy in 2015. Its growth of 3.1% was faster than the wider economy. Despite challenges, sector is forecast to continue outperforming global GDP growth in 2016.
Reference – http://www.wttc.org/research/economic-research/economic-impact-analysis/
The travel and hospitality industry includes a broad range of companies:, airlines, cruise lines, buses and railroads, tour operators, travel consolidators, car rental services, hotels, resorts, lodging, restaurants and other real-estate intensive consumer businesses.
And it all revolves around the traveller… The latest is that the traveller got married… But to his device…
The device is the focus of the future, it knows where you are, what you redeem and will likely consolidate all your information specially in travel. Brands are already focusing on how devices are mediating there relationships with customers.
For brands in the Travel & Hospitality sector, understanding what drives travellers to choose one airline, hostel, amusement park or camel trekking tour over another is crucial for business. While reputation has always played an important role in influencing travelers’ decisions, social media now allows for more opportunities than ever for consumers to praise, complain, rant, discuss and connect with travel and hospitality brands.
This relatively recent development presents both a unique challenge and an extraordinary opportunity. An opportunity that many brands are not fully capitalizing on. We travel to connect, detach, explore and experience the world outside our homes. Some of us travel for business while others travel to discover themselves.
In the travel and hospitality industry, it is always insightful to take a closer look at how airlines and hotels embrace new technologies and upcoming challenges.
The digital Touchpoints have increased!
In 2002, the user would just go to the agent and get all his transactions done. By 2012 with the abundance of multiple information channels, the traveller has many avenues to interact with your business. The latest trend is to provide a cohesive experience to the user despite them interacting through multiple channels… this is an Omnichannel view of a user journey.
To view a single travellers cycle in general terms. He begins with an inspiration to travel, followed by making arrangements, bookings, pre trip preparations and making the journey. On the journey he makes actual use of the bookings and preparation and then gets back to his regular life after which he might give away reviews, recommendations and feedback. In all this process the user interacts with the travel business at multiple points.
If we map the consumer needs vs provider services, each cross-section is a touchpoint and a possible data gathering opportunity. For example: The inspiration to travel could come from a web campaign or a newsletter or an offer. There is a HUGE possibility to engage with the consumer and map their interactions and save their interests.
The questions you might ask is, are the consumers even open to be ‘TOUCHED’?
The answer comes out to be around 80% yes
Based on a survey on frequent and non frequent travellers, it comes out to be that around 20% are only ‘never interested’ in an offer or service notifications. Others are open to the contact based on their travel preference and timing.
Even more so, 72% of travellers are open to influence prior to making a travel decision. Say you are making a booking from Barcelona to Frankfurt and if we show you a better deal on another airline or site. The consumer is likely to shift their decision.
Also targeted email, is also seen to influence travel planners to begin their online booking journey.
So now we ask, WHEN? What is the best time to connect?
The travellers tell us that they use upto 6 months for advance preparations
And 4-6 months is a long time… This is where analytics comes into play. We need to Monitor Every Customer Interaction, Detect In-Market Shoppers, track digital Signals and be relevant and in context in order to Deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. We also need to predict these behaviours to be in time for the approach. So we need to anticipate Service Needs, Understand Interests & Preferences of the user, and keep a measure of Loyalty.
So now we talk about some strategies and how we can be in sync with the user needs.
1. Analytics – The likelihood a traveller will spend more depends on their position in the purchase funnel and other variables. Look for opportunities to display specific offers at specific times to specific visitors based on their trip, preferred mode of transportation, and device.
2. Contextual Upsell and Cross sell – Throughout the purchase funnel, create innovative ways to get visitors engage with ancillary offers. For instance, displaying upgrade options while travelers are choosing their seats during booking can be an effective way to expose relevant visitors to the offer and drive additional revenues.
3. Understanding and mapping complete user journey
- Identify the channels your user use to find you.
- Synchronize user experience across devices.
- Take a complete view of your user journey online and offline.
Talk, as delivered at an event in Barcelona, Spain. Content prepared by Shivam (Omnichannel Consultant and Stratgist)