Many of us have been or are planning to go on holiday over the Summer. As I was planning my most recent holiday, I got to thinking about how personalisation plays a big part in the holiday process; both as a consumer who wants a unique holiday experience, and as the brand that want to create a relevant experience for the consumer throughout the process of planning, booking and taking their trip.
People want a consistent, personalised experience throughout their holiday: as they plan their trip, while they travel, during their stay, and even when they get back afterwards. As marketers, we need to realize that our customers want this same level of personalised experience while they are interacting with us, whether they are online, on a mobile device, or in person. A bad experience can drive them away to another destination.
Now, let’s talk travel plans. You aren’t sure exactly where you’d like to go, but you want to stay by the beach, preferably in a warm climate, and you’re on a budget. Plug this information into a search engine and you will start receiving deals to beach destinations around the world. From there, you can narrow your search based on cost, availability, and amenities. In the background, while you are entering all of this information, the site you are using should be using personalisation to understand your visit and gathering these details to better suit your needs. Ultimately, if they do it right, they will offer the type of holiday you want, so you’ll stay on their site and book your holiday with them.
After booking travel and securing a hotel reservation, you’ve just given the site a tremendous amount of information from which they can deliver you new offers and deals for future trips. The site now knows your gender, age, who you’re traveling with, and more. Not only can they provide you with future deals, they can continue to market to you for your upcoming holiday by serving relevant ads from advertising partners on items such as car hire or things you may need at the beach. It is possible for a simple online search for holiday plans to lead to a great customer experience.
All of this interaction between you (as the customer) and the site has generated data that will enhance your future online experiences. It also provides validation to the company for its personalisation programs because this information is trackable down to the sales level. Smart marketers are using this data to deliver rich, engaging experiences to consumers across channels and devices.
Innovative brands are extending the digital experience from the obvious planning and booking process into the real-world, by using apps to bridge the gap between the web and the consumer’s stay. These apps are simplifying life for travelers by taking tedious tasks and making them easier. You can now check-in remotely to nearly every step of your trip (flight, hotel, car service) and reserve space at those popular destinations with a few touches on your smart phone (no more queuing up)!
However, the end of the holiday isn’t the end of the relationship between the consumer and the brand – we’re sharing photographs and status updates on social media, and when we get back from the trip we’re writing reviews of our experiences on social sharing sites, such as TripAdvisor or Yelp. Once we reach this point, we have truly become an advocate for the brand.
So, let’s look at how personalisation helped to enhance the holiday planning experience:
- A good personalised web experience is smooth, non-intrusive and relevant to the customer.
- The information and content delivered to them should meet their needs and encourage them to interact with your brand, deepening engagement.
- Customer interactions generate data that can be used to enhance their experience in future situations and validate the impact of your programs.
As marketers, these are things you can (and should) be doing today to deliver relevant, engaging experiences to consumers across channels and devices. However, if you are new to personalisation, don’t fear. Here are a few options for dipping your feet into the personalisation pool (if you’ll excuse the pun).
- Web or email optimisation offer big uplifts in engagement and revenue, often without massive investment
- Test and optimise your web pages
- Segment your audience and personalize landing pages based on their profiles
Adobe offers a complete solution to help you reach the anonymous to the known customer. For more information on our personalisation options, please visit: http://www.adobe.com/uk/solutions/digital-marketing.html. And if you’d like to read about Adobe’s research into the travel industry, please check out the Adobe Digital Index reports on CMO.com.