How to win travelers in the age of assistance
When travelers need information or have a question, they’re looking for assistive experiences that are useful, personal, and frictionless.
Today’s consumers can get what they want, when they want. As a result, they’re more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever before.
As this shift expands across purchasing behaviors, we’re seeing changes take flight in the travel industry too. Enabled by technology, travelers have greater expectations for assistance. When they need information or have a question, they’re looking for assistive experiences that are useful, personal, and frictionless.
According to a recent study we conducted with Phocuswright, nearly six in 10 (57%) U.S. travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. Similarly, connecting results to the quality of predictive travel marketing models is the only way to make them better over time—and to truly grow your customer lifetime value.
Fifty-five percent of travelers we surveyed agree that they have to check too many sources of travel information before making a decision. And those decisions, once a traveler makes them, are stressful. Travelers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacations—more so than with any other discretionary purchase that we asked about (such as electronics, home improvement, finances).
In this new world of spontaneity, loyalty among travelers is no longer guaranteed. Only 9% of U.S. travelers “always” know which brand they want to book with prior to researching, and even elite loyalty program members are up for grabs if the price is right. Over two-thirds of U.S. elite hotel loyalty program members would pick a different hotel for a better price, and two-thirds of elite U.S. air loyalty program members would pick a different airline for a better price/schedule/route.
Here’s the good news: Brands can seize opportunities to personalize consumer experiences, even before they embark on a trip. With more travelers turning to digital for assistance, marketers can connect with customers when they first express intent through online inspiration or research. Travel companies can segment their audiences, combine first- and third-party data, and use machine learning to connect with customers.
As traveler behavior continues to evolve, expectations will continue to rise. Navigating these changes can be challenging, but digital provides more opportunities than ever for marketers to meet traveler intent and expectations at every turn. And that’s a trip worth taking.
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