Toby Morris, Senior Business Development Director – Travel at Epsilon, discusses why data is key to unlocking the opportunities for travel brands to prosper as travel opens up
Guest Post: Six reasons why data is your passport to success in today's travel environment
With UK airports experiencing one of their busiest weeks since the pandemic began as people took advantage of the first non-lockdown Easter in three years, travel is back.
But cost of living pressures and global events means the industry must continue to work hard to win business.
And critical to success is data. So what should you focus on? Well, here are six areas that can make a difference to your business.
Build up your first-party data
Legislation, the approaching death of third-party cookies, and browser and device changes mean successful digital advertising will rely more than ever on first-party data in the future.
And as so much has changed in the last few years, replenishing and refreshing your data is critical for identifying emerging trends and proactively unearthing opportunities that arise.
Not surprisingly, 67% of travel companies are focusing on developing their first-party data strategy because it's more accurate, insightful, converts better and is essential for fostering client relationships.
With travel being such a personal decision, it's vital to understand your customers and prospects as individuals, then leverage this to activate your media and support your acquisition activities.
Understand the person behind the traveller
While the travel data you have on your customers is important, tailored, effective communications call for having a more rounded view of them.
Demographic, lifestyle, preference, purchasing behaviour, and intention data will enhance your understanding of them, allowing you to deliver more relevant, impactful, and effective marketing. It will also help you unearth new insights that can inform your future marketing.
And understand who wants to travel
Use technology to tap into consumer browsing behaviours and interest areas to identify travel-positive people actively researching trips and signalling they're in the market to buy.
But as you build your audiences, ensure these segments are dynamic, so as behaviours change, so do the segments. In this way, you can ensure your marketing remains relevant.
Use your current data proactively
Analyse your loyalty programme data to find customers with loyalty points and credits and target them.
Remind them what they have, what they're worth and what they can be used for. Giving your loyal customers who trust you a nudge may be the encouragement they need to feel comfortable about considering travelling again.
At the same time, match your first-party data to those destinations your customers may feel safer visiting.
As Europe opens, reconnecting and messaging customers who previously had opted for European holidays can help build their confidence and encourage them to explore opportunities.
Above all, use your data to speak to past customers (and prospects) as individuals. Show you recognise and value them through relevant, tailored messages that resonate with them and deliver a better experience.
Interact with people in the channels they interact with
Look to establish a single source for recognising your consumers across all the environments they access.
Take advantage of individual-level IDs, but make sure your identity graph offers an accurate, constantly optimised, and persistent unique identifier anchored in robust reference data and tied to a real person.
Then you can recognise and reach people in real time and deliver consistent, relevant messages wherever they are.
Focus on results
When it comes to measurement, ensure you focus on metrics that demonstrate how your marketing activity contributes to the bottom line.
Use incrementality to prove your effectiveness and uncover which channels have the most impact on the customer journey. Then invest more of your budget and resources in these success drivers.
Using data to evolve and inform your marketing approach allows you to adapt to the new travel realities.
By plugging data gaps, better understanding your customers, uncovering insights, and delivering effective, personalised messages, you can ensure you're in a stronger position to take advantage of the opportunities as travel continues to emerge from the shadow of the pandemic.
Epsilonwill be attending this year’s Travolution European Summit on May 4 and hosting one-to-one meetings with delegates about its digital asset management platform used by the travel and leisure industry. If you’d like to arrange a meeting with the Canto team please register for free and create your buyer networking profile.