Maneuvering Today's Technology and Consumer Behaviors to Deliver Personalized Experiences
By John Padwick Vice President, Travel, Media & Entertainment Practice, Travel Strategy Lead, Merkle Inc. | June 14, 2015
In 2014, travel bookings from desktop PCs shrank for the first time, as purchases on mobile devices continued down their conquering path. Today's travel consumers spend more and more time multi-tasking across devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops) and digital media platforms (OTAs, social media, search engines) as they research and shop for travel options.
In today's world, we travel marketers typically use the same identifiers we've been using since the 1970s. We know who our loyalty guests are because they present some version of an ID number to us. This ID can come in several forms: physical cards, online login, email address, etc. Then we hope that we can marry additional data sources (e.g., on property spend) on top of the individual data associated with that number and voilà, we have "CRM". We're ready to do personalization!
The reality is that the world has evolved since the Beatles' heyday, and technology and usage channels have expanded dramatically. Cell phones, Internet, social media, wearables – none of these were part of the old equation. Effective modern marketing (and true personalization) must identify and recognize the consumer's individual media consumption patterns and preferences to be able to target our guests in the manner, timing, and channel that they'd welcome.
Most travel marketing teams have not yet crossed this new threshold of consolidating data from multiple sources into a single guest/user profile that can then be marketed to. The result? In a world of daily morphing channels and user preferences, it's more and more difficult for travel marketers to develop accurate segments and a concerted marketing plan of attack.
This article suggests three steps you can take now to better understand and, eventually, engage your guests in their wildly disparate paths to purchase.
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