Marketers #1 Challenge: Finding the Magic
How to Use Travel Intelligence to Engage Active Consumers
Magic happens when a consumer fitting your target traveler profile is looking for the type of travel experience you offer – and they’re shopping online right now! It’s thrilling when fit, need and timing all come together. What makes it so magical? Is it because it’s rare that these things happen at the same time? Not at all. It happens all the time. What is rare is to have the travel intelligence that lets you know when it’s happening so you can influence the outcome.
In the past, there have been 5 typical ways to know a traveler is in the market for travel:
- They call you.
- They visit your website.
- They respond to your email campaign.
- They click on your banner or scan your QR code.
- They engage on your social network.
The problem with all of these approaches is that you have to wait for the shopper to make the first move. It’s a reactive strategy that takes a lot of time and a lot of luck.
Everyday consumers are sharing information about their interests and intent online, but many marketers struggle to monetize this data to create a proactive strategy. The importance of understanding your customers’ online DNA – their preferences, lifestyle and behavior (what we call their “persona”), and engaging them at the right time, with the right message, in the right place has always been the equation for magic. And the right time has been the toughest part of that equation to solve.
As a marketer, I know that having the travel intelligence that provides “right time” insight is marketing nirvana. This data provides the foundation for a proactive strategy than enables marketers to deliver higher marketing ROI by focusing on real time demand.
What does this insight mean for marketers?
- Knowing when to turn on marketing dollars to impact a specific need period. Say your next quarter is looking weak and you know one of your target personas has a search-to-book window of 60 days (compared to 90 days for another target persona). That insight tells you that you should focus marketing to the first persona to increase bookings for the next quarter.
Benefit: reduces waste and increases revenue management control.
- Crafting promotions and packages designed to real-time preferences of active consumers. Different travel personas have different travel timing – like the Spring Break partiers versus summer vacation families. When you know who is in market now, you’re able to translate digital insight into personalized marketing that gets the travelers’ attention as they shop. Benefit: increases engagement and shortens conversion.
- Better predictive analytics and measurement that supports your marketing investment. A substantial reason for marketing waste is lack of data or disconnected data that inhibits insight and measurement. Better data on your active consumer provides a foundation for measurement that supports your budget allocations and helps fine-tune your strategy. Benefit: keeps you on track and the boss happy.
The world of travel marketing is changing but in a good way, a magical way. The ability to target communications based on not only demographic and psychographic data, but also travel intent and time frame is a game changer. Marketers are ready to embrace this added value for the improved efficiency it gives their campaigns and the added credibility it gives their strategy.