2 ways the travel industry must get personal

The bottom line is that travel companies sell more if they know their customer and personalise the offering

Getting straight to the point, Ritesh Gupta looks at two key issues impacting the drive to personalisation in our industry.

1. Getting the right product in front of the customer

Reactive websites that display the best potential products and upsell products to the customer based on the customer’s browsing behaviour, their location and a whole host of other data sources, are going to have a huge impact.

India-based Makemytrip.com intends to personalise the experience for every visitor. Of course, personalisation is easier for those customers who already are in your database and logged into the site, such as past customers or members of loyalty programmes. For first time potential customers, Makemytrip.com focus on facilitating a personalised experience by identifying their device-type, and serving device centric content and offers. 

Meanwhile, Max Kraynov, CEO of JetRadar, believes that the ability to recognise customers and respond to what they are looking for is going to be a major differentiating factor for the category. It’s important to ascertain user intent and improve on search results. But he also understands that customised retention mechanisms (notifications, bonuses, retargeting) will differ from a customer to a customer.

2. Communicating in the moment 

Accor strives for personalised dialogue with travellers across all the devices they may encounter. While hotels may not start the relationship with the traveller, they do get the biggest amount of ‘trip’ time with the customer. It’s crucial they get to know what that customer wants and how to communicate with them, then and there – and then deliver them what they want after the fact too.

Many hospitality companies are thinking about this, recognising the importance of it for building guest loyalty, retention and repeat visits, but they are really just getting started, says Kelly McGuire, executive director, Hospitality and Travel Global Practice at SAS Institute. “Technology and analytic solutions are available to assist in this process, but they need to be tightly coupled with business processes that allow hotels to deliver the experience without being creepy or violating any privacy concerns,” she says.

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