What is the role of personalization in travel sector? Tourists around the world are increasing every year. If in 1990 they were “only” 400 million tourists, and “only” 900 million in 2010, today they have reached 1.4 billion. In 2017 the annual growth in the number of tourists around the world was 7%.
The growth of tourism confirms that the sector is one of the most powerful engines of growth and development worldwide, according to United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili.
The Travel & Tourism industry is experiencing a period of continuous growth and unprecedented transformation, the fruits of digital transformation (learn more about the impact of digital transformation on the travel sector).
One of the biggest trends that emerge from the digital revolution in the industry is that of personalization. Loyalty to a particular brand is increasingly being replaced by something that we could define as a traveller’s loyalty to his own dreams.
We travel by following our interests. We look for experiences that are as tailor-made as possible and based on feedback and reports from a varied and increasingly interconnected community. In turn, we share our experiences and our impressions. We do this when we return home, but also during the trip, via our smartphones and thanks to the popularity of image sharing platforms like Instagram and other social media.
The most attentive operators in the sector have been aware of this unstoppable trend for years now, and they know how many opportunities lie within it. They are not afraid of change; instead they ride the wave of change.
This is why customer-oriented services such as those offered by Doxee are becoming indispensable for this sector. We will come back to this point in more detail later.
The mechanism behind the unrivalled success of personalization is something very simple: to dialog with each customer as a single person based on their own characteristics, behaviors, preferences and their unique, individual needs. This is true in all phases, from the decision making phase, to the initial touch points, to the time spent in accommodation, in a restaurant, or during the phases of activity. Personalization can happen through all channels, from dedicated apps to telephone contact, to email campaigns, dedicated portals and social networks.
Customers like to feel they are treated well in any business interaction. This is often the result of feeling that one’s needs are being met, that things are happening in the way we expected (or even better than we expected). When this happens, the result is often loyalty, where the customer returns over and over again.
Data that speaks for itself
To learn more about the power of personalization, let’s look at some recent data:
- 57% of tourists believe that brands should personalize their shopping experience based on their personal preferences, behaviors, and past choices (source: Think with Google).
- According to data from Sabre (a global B2B travel marketplace), 83% of customers expect relevant information and recommended products based on their personal preferences (source: Sabre PersonaliZation Report)
- 36% of customers are more likely to pay a higher price for travel experiences based on their own behavior profiles (source: Think with Google).
- As many as 96% of marketers in the sector believe that customization improves customer relations; on the other hand, 88% of marketers have noticed a significant improvement in their companies’ business thanks to these customer-oriented actions (source: Evergage).
- Only 31% of marketers believe that the Travel & Tourism industry are implementing customization mechanisms effectively. This shows that there is still a great deal of room for improvement in such a dynamic and healthy industry.
Take note, then, of the statements made by Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide, which follows in the footsteps of the data we listed above: True success in the future of travel will be all about personalization.
Personalization: 3 success stories
Considering the data and statistics above, we can see that personalization is the most important trend for the future of the Travel & Tourism industry.
Now, we’ll look at three examples of personalized marketing and customer care, which have had great success in the tourism industry. These examples are based on the exploitation of “big data” and deep data, data that is more in-depth (again, “more personalized”).
1. In-flight personalization – The case of Delta Air Lines
Personalization is having a strong impact on the airline industry. Many companies are engaging with a “tailor-made” and omnichannel approach, which covers the entire traveller journey, from the inspiration phase to the decision-making phase, up to the moments immediately before boarding; then the “flight” period itself and the delicate period of feedback management (with the possibility of personalized up-selling or cross-selling opportunities).
All airlines are moving in this direction, and one of the most active is industry giant Delta Air Lines. In 2016, the company launched an email campaign based on personalized videos based on the data provided by the travellers themselves. The click-through results have been amazing: as much as 500% above the previous benchmarks.
After this experience, Delta has continued to ride this trend in an increasingly innovative way. Today, the company’s flight attendants are equipped with a mobile device that allows them to access passenger information and offer high-level one-to-one interaction, with clear returns in terms of loyalty and loyalty.
2. Made to measure app – The case of Best Western
Returning to the mainland, the competition for loyalty in such a crowded playing field is even more intense. Best Western implemented a personalized email campaign with the purpose of getting users to download its mobile app.
The metrics taken into consideration here were the type of device and geolocation. First of all, the campaign was designed to eliminate any possible friction in the customer journey. For example, Apple users were directed to the Apple Store, while Android users were directed to the Google Play Store.
In addition, the recommended destinations were generated on the basis of geolocation, previous behavior, and the characteristics of each recipient. As a result, app downloads increased 143%, compared to previous similar campaigns. Finally, the click-through rate increased by 10%.
3. Personalization for families – Doxee and Club Family Hotels
And now let’s come to a case of Italian excellence.
Club Family Hotel is an important Italian hotel chain whose target audience is families with children.
Drawing on Doxee‘s services, the brand has created a personalized email campaign consisting of engaging videos that tailored to individual recipients, based on their needs, characteristics and past behaviors.
If, for example, the family has a one-year-old child, the video shows services suitable for that age group (for example, the nursery area or the babysitting service). A family with teenage children, however, will receive a different video, perhaps focused on sports-related activities. Within these personalized videos, there is the possibility of inserting custom calls to action, which refers to the customer directly to the booking page.
The results? A 5% increase in the conversion rate and an 81% surge in the click-through rate!
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