A new wave of hyper-connected travellers are leaving an ever-increasing data footprint as they research travel-related services and products online and offline.

A growing subset of travellers are also consuming marketing messages while they travel, offering brands a unique opportunity to engage with consumers in the moment to surpass growing consumer expectations.

Targeting the wanderlust traveller

While consumers are reducing their spending in some areas, travel continues to see investment. One of the largest trends we continue to see is the rise of the “experience economy”. Consumers are increasingly willing to spend money on experiences and creating memories. This is particularly true of millennials; according to MMGY Global, three in five would rather spend money on experiences than material goods which is a great result for travel marketers.

This trend is not only restricted to the younger generations amongst us - a survey by The Futures Company for American Express, showed 82% of respondents across all age groups were “more interested in making memories than making money” and some 85% agreed with the statement that “spending money on travel is an investment worth making”.

So, with a target market willing to spend their hard-earned cash on travel, what can marketers do to ensure they fulfil the wants and needs of consumers?

Today’s entitled traveller demands more than ever from their holiday. Fierce competition has seen travel companies ramp up digital efforts to leverage customer data into actionable intelligence. In an Amadeus survey, 43% of travel companies named ‘targeting and personalisation’ as the top priority in their digital strategy. Hyper-connected travellers are snapping, sharing, researching and reviewing on the fly – leaving a data footprint with significant potential for marketers who leverage it to match brand experiences to customer needs.

Getting to know you

To guarantee their dream holiday, 83% of millennials have said that they would allow travel companies to track their habits and behaviours to unlock better, more personalised holiday experiences. Permission is the biggest obstacle marketers have, but today’s consumers understand why brands want their data, so they’re more willing to hand it over in return for relevant and personal engagement.

With this in mind, marketers must ensure they have the capabilities to use data correctly, respectfully and in line with changing regulation. Brands need to begin focussing beyond big-data to only collect information relevant to their offering which can be used to build marketing initiatives that build winning experiences.

A Consumer-First approach to marketing is required here, inverting traditional methods of working which focus on the channel, to put the consumer at the heart of every communication. A contextual understanding of desires and preferences is a key aspect of Consumer-First marketing, opening up new possibilities for brands to deliver on needs through the smart use of data. It goes far beyond knowing who your customer is and where they are located.

By getting to know customers better, brands will learn what’s most important; for example, that 77% of people base their booking decision on free amenities such as in-room Wi-Fi. Mobile phones are the number one item today’s travellers feel they must bring on holiday, and marketers can capitalise on this trend, to increase value perception, service and relevance.

Relevance in a heart beat

Today’s digital natives drive a tough bargain and conduct an average of 5.1 research sessions and visit 3.3 websites before booking on mobile devices (Mobile Path to Purchase). Coupled with a decreasing attention span (eight seconds by the latest research), marketers need to offer messages – and offers – that are immediately identifiable as relevant and convenient. Consumers will thank and return, to brands that save time and serve up personalised relevant offers.

Furthermore, travel brands can continue to be relevant even after the booking has been made. Examples include, offering restaurant recommendations based on previous data, personalised offers and asking travellers to rate how their journey is going, or to create user-generated content on their behalf.

With a willingness to spend more money, make memories and tell their friends, travellers have presented a unique opportunity for marketers to align their marketing strategies to an increasingly connected journey, from recommendations to the booking process and adding value and service while enjoying a little R&R - the world really is your oyster. 

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