How Travel Companies Can Win Prospects and Increase Loyalty

The travel industry has enjoyed huge growth consistently, having doubled in size in the last two decades. All that growth means massive opportunity for companies who are able to win the hearts and minds of would-be travelers. How can they do that? Savvy marketers from new comers in the market to travel giants know that the key lies in offering customers and prospects relevant content and offers. And to make their content relevant, it needs to be personalized.

Relevance is King. Personalization Drives Relevance.

Some companies have massive amounts of information about their customers. They know when they’ve taken a trip and where they chose to go. They know about the services the person enjoyed with them, for example, if they ordered a room with an ocean view on their cruise. Perhaps they’ve even partnered with a credit card company and know about the types of purchases someone makes.

But what about the 99% of the time that (potential) customer isn’t interacting with that one brand? Is it possible to learn about those times, including someone’s likes, dislikes, and what they’re likely to buy? Once you learn about this, what do you do with that information?

If these are members of your loyalty program, the goal is to grow incremental revenue with them and to deepen their loyalty to your brand. If you are looking for audience insights about prospects, the goal is to convert them into new, profitable customers.

So let’s grow revenue! To do this, take advantage of every bit of information available to create a powerful segmentation scheme. Segmentation gives you the tools to split your audience into groups whose needs you can meet based on behaviors, demographics, geography or whatever characteristics are important to your business. And how do you determine what those characteristics should be?

One good place to start is with your own customers. If not with them, perhaps a competitor’s customers, or for a travel company, maybe it’s people who take cruises (or any other type of vacation). Got your group to analyze? Great! Now answer:

  • How old are the people in this group?
  • Do they live in a certain area?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Who is in their household? Do they have children? A parent living with them?

The list of questions to answer can be very long! In this stage we’re looking at the group’s demographics to begin painting a picture of who they are.

Chances are you’ll notice that everyone doesn’t fit in one nice big bucket, demographically speaking. To stick with our cruise example, there might be young families who love cruises because it offers something for everyone in the family. There might be older professionals who don’t want to take the time to plan their vacation and appreciate the convenience and fun the cruise offers. The list of possibilities is endless, but you will probably begin to see some different groups emerge.

Next, take a deeper look into the consumer insights for the various groups. What interests do they like or dislike? Do they engage with certain brands or purchase a particular type of product? This is where you truly begin to see how to personalize your content and offers to something meaningful for that group, and not for everyone under the sun.

Once you’ve used your audience intelligence to paint your profile of who the groups are and what they like and buy (by the way, we’d call that a marketing persona you’ve just created – well done!) the next step is to understand where and how to reach your target audience (aka your segment(s). Look at the media they consume for ideas about advertising channels. Are they active in social media? Talk to them there!

Armed with so much insight you can’t help but craft a fantastic campaign. You understand the messages that are likely to resonate, the offers that should be relevant, and the channels to use to reach your audience. It’s time to launch your campaign! Get that April 16th departure buy-one-get-one-free offer for a cruise in the Caribbean on its way to the tax professionals in your CRM! (or competitors’ customers, you pick!).

Time to drop the mic and go home? Not so fast… We can’t claim success without measuring campaign results. Have you seen an uptick in sales? People engaging you on social? If so, congratulations! If not, look at your audience insights again to understand if you need to tweak your creative, messaging, or targeting.

Too much to remember? Have no fear – we’ve created this handy infographic below as a reference. Bon voyage!

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