How data, measurement, and automation can position travel marketers for growth
Digital brings more complexity — and opportunity — to marketing than ever before. In the travel industry, where people frequently take weeks or months to research the perfect trip, it’s easy to be overwhelmed as a marketer. In a recent study, we found that one traveler engaged in over 500 different digital touchpoints during her research for a flight for an upcoming trip. In searching a variety of topics, from “cheap flights to Dublin from Dulles” to “how do I get my boarding pass online,” the range of activities and presumed intent was wide. How can a marketer keep up with this type of activity?
Fortunately, insights, machine learning, and automation give brands an opportunity to make some sense of the digital chaos — to not only work in smarter ways, but to drive measurable business outcomes through marketing.
In my 20 years in the travel industry, I’ve seen huge shifts in consumer behavior. And the number of channels we can use to reach those consumers is multiplying. As a result, our approach to data and measurement must change. And we must work to understand the very real benefits of machine learning to our businesses.
Here are three questions every marketer should be asking themselves as they navigate these changes.
1. Have you unified your data sources?
Relative to other industries, travel marketers have the ability to more deeply connect with people by having a better sense of who they are through data: How many business trips did someone take in the past year? How many kids do they have? Do they have a specific room type or amenity preference at a hotel? How do preferences among loyal members differ from those of new customers?