Demand for travel is increasing and evolving. Delivering a phenomenal customer experience “before” and “after” is as important as “during” travel. From initial research on a website to booking to check in to incremental activities to departure and returning home. Every step along the way has the ability to positively or negatively impact each customer’s overall impression of your brand. Customer experiences will determine not only the likelihood of returning to your brand – but recommending your brand to others.
New customer acquisition, customer retention, and increasing share of wallet are all top priorities for travel marketers. While all customers are important, the most valuable existing customers should be identified and prioritized.
- Gather as much first-party data as possible about guests from transactions to actions from web and app logs to simple surveys. third- party data can fill in behavioral and demographic gaps to provide additional insights on guests and prospects. Second-party data from partners can further enrich guest profiles to identify opportunities for personalized content and offers that deliver new value.
- Analyze historical stays and total spend value (i.e., purchases, length of stay), as well as stay patterns to identify segment groups based on customer lifetime value (CLV) and likelihood to return.
- Develop communication strategies with personalized and timely incentive offers to encourage additional bookings. For top customers, reward them with VIP incentives.
Guests want to be acknowledged and understood as unique individuals. They expect travel companies to anticipate their needs and delight them, whether they’re traveling for business or leisure, alone or with their family. Guests expect cohesive and proactive engagement – at every touchpoint – across all channels during their travel journey. Travel brands no longer get to dictate how the customer contacts and connects with them. Instead, customers need to be met at their channel of choice, whether that be via email, text, social, phone or in-person. They also expect engagement and responses to their needs in real-time, before any potential problems arise.
Remember, travel is deeply personal, offering unique experiences to guests with different preferences. Each experience is truly an end-to-end journey, not a series of isolated events. Thus, the objective for travel companies is to integrate these fundamentals into their business strategies and their tactics for sustainable growth.
Now is the time to leverage and act on your data to take action as the travel wave will likely become a tsunami! Think differently. Rather than creating the next best offer, create the next best experience. Focus on the opportunity to build brand loyalty that sets the foundation for a stronger future.