The big picture
Travel’s back. The world is opening up, the UK’s Covid travel requirements have ended, and with 57% of people having already booked a holiday abroad this year, confidence is slowly returning to the sector. But with rising living costs impacting disposable incomes and the crisis in Ukraine, marketers must work hard to win business.
Why it’s important
So much has changed in the last two years, and as consumers’ willingness to travel emerges at different rates, it’s a more fragmented market. To be effective, marketers must first identify those in a travel mindset, find them in the relevant channels and connect with them through relevant, personalised messages. And success hinges on applying the right data and technology to achieve this. So what steps can you take?
Deeper dive – 6 areas for success
Adopting these approaches will help you take advantage of the sales opportunities as the travel sector readjusts to today’s environment.
- Find those who want to travel. Build your audience by using technology to tap into consumer browsing behaviours and interest areas to identify travel-positive people actively researching trips and signalling they’re in the market to book one. Then segment them for success. But make sure as behaviours change, your segments adjust. Static segments mean ineffective marketing. Use technology that builds dynamic segments and ensure they – and your marketing – remain relevant.
- Encourage your loyal customers to consider travelling. Interrogate your loyalty programme data to find those customers holding loyalty points and credits. Proactively target them, reminding them what they have, what they’re worth and suggesting what they can be used for. As these loyal customers trust your brand, give them a nudge and help them feel comfortable about travelling again.
And don’t ignore your other customers. Match your first-party data to those destinations customers may feel safer visiting, then reconnect with them using relevant messages to build their confidence. For example, with Europe opening up, provide offers and destination suggestions to those who previously had preferred taking European holidays.
- Work closer with your destination partners. Tap into your partner network and support each other by identifying potential travellers that may need a wealth of different services. Use clean rooms (in essence, data safe houses) to foster collaboration between partners and allow data to be activated, targeted, reported on and measured in a safe and privacy-compliant manner. As travel supports a comprehensive ecosystem of related products and services, clean rooms offer many opportunities for smart collaborations.
- Use the power of personalisation. Once you’ve identified your audience, focus on providing them with relevant, tailored messages that resonate. Your data allows you to enhance the customer journey and deliver a better experience. Use your first-party data to speak to past customers and prospects as individuals, showing you recognise and value them. If they’re a returning customer, acknowledge this. If they’re past enquirers, use this knowledge to improve how you communicate with them. And take advantage of individual-level IDs. Having a single source for recognising consumers across the environments they interact in allows you to deliver consistent messages to them wherever they are.
- Re-learn what works. Travel has changed, consumer behaviours have changed, so marketing must change. But what worked before may not be appropriate today. It’s ground zero for your marketing channels, and they must prove their value again.. Re-discover what your critical marketing activities are by using incrementality to measure effectiveness. You can then uncover which have the most impact and focus more budget and resources on these success drivers.
- Use technology to work smarter. Everyone’s working with leaner marketing teams. Ensure your technology supports you by taking on the heavy lifting to reduce time-consuming manual work and drive efficiencies. From targeting, personalising, reporting, and measuring, choose technology that provides an end-to-end solution that helps alleviate these resource issues by delivering effective marketing in an automated way.
The bottom line
The business opportunities are there, but you must work harder to secure them. So make sure you’re set up to take full advantage. Having the right data and the ability to activate it is essential. Equally critical is that technology works for you by supporting, not hindering, your efforts. Having these twin success drivers in place allows you to take full advantage of these six focus areas.
Struggling in one or more of these areas? Then get in touch with our expert Toby Morris and we can discuss how we can help support and grow your business.