Travolution Summit 2022: Channelling the 'Sound of Travel' to know your customers better

Travolution Summit 2022: Channelling the 'Sound of Travel' to know your customers better

This panel session brought together experts from Travelzoo, Global Radio, Sound Travel and Nezasa to explore how using sound in marketing and appealing to customers' musical tastes can help travel brands get to know their customers better, communicate more regularly, and appeal to their emotions

Travel is well behind other sectors when it comes to deploying sound to appeal to the emotions of the customer, a Travolution Summit panel session heard.

Jo McCrostie, creative director at Europe’s largest radio company Global, said the banking and finance sector and food home delivery sector was leading the way.

She was speaking on The Sound of Travel panel which looked at how travel can increase the quantity and quality of engagement with their customers through their musical tastes.

McCrostie said BA, Jet2 and Singapore Airlines were examples of travel firms that have invested in phonic strategies and identities over the years.

But she said: “Other than that other sectors are embracing sound as a tool in marketing much more aggressively. 

“The leading sector is banking and finance because they don’t have a physical product that people can go in and feel. They do not really have that emotional connection.

“Banks know this and invest a lot of money, like HSBC and Mastercard are absolutely brilliant at this. They are using sound really, really effectively.”

McCrostie also cited Just East in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods arena which she said has become ultra-fast moving due to the highly competitive home delivery sector.

She said the Just Eat advert, which features US rapper Snoop Dog, shows how sound makes both long-term emotional brand connections but also drives short-term decision making.

“This fast moving sector has got a hell of a lot faster, everything is about on demand and ultra-convenience. 

“So they [Just Eat] have to have that audio brand identity at the front of the consumers’ mind always.”

Chris Roe, a director at Sound Travel which works with Ticketmaster to sell travel packages for concerts, said travel has been to focussed on customer acquisition.

“It’s only really post pandemic that travel brands have gone back to investing in reassurance marketing and brand marketing.

“Before that it was more about acquisition and so brand was important but not as important as it is now post pandemic.

“I think there is probably a little bit of insecurity in travel and a focus on acquisition.”

Roe, who formerly worked at Virgin Holidays as sales and distribution director, said the brand did use sound and collaborations with artists to be relevant to its customers.

“It’s about relevance,” he said. “If I look back at Virgin what we were trying to do was talk to customers all the time and be relevant.”

Manuel Hilty, chief executive and co-founder of technology specialist Nezasa, said the reason travel lags behind other sector could come down to the nature of the product.

“Could it be because there is an emotional component in travel that brand feel they have the emotional side of it solved and are not looking to leverage it more?

“In banking they have to do it because there is nothing emotional about finance.”

Hilty said regularity of engaging with consumers is about learning more about them so brand can be relevant.

“The more we know about our customers, the more we can give them the right think at the right time, which is extremely valuable.

“When we talk about sound there is a long emotional connection. It’s not only learning about the customer but making sure they remember you at the right point in time.

“It’s clear to me that sound is extremely powerful because it’s one of those cases that does not distract you from something but enhances the experience.

“What I think will be extremely interesting to figure out is how this can also help you to learn more about your customers.

“This is something many of us who employ data scientists like to do but this is interesting to figure out how we can do more because no one really does this yet.”

James Clarke, general manager of Travelzoo UK, said it regularly provides its subscribers with and range of marketing leading offers to appeal to their interests.

And he said deals linked to experiences like concerts or theatre trips, or football matches, are among its most popular because they appeal to interests, senses, and emotions.

“We don’t necessarily do everything by the book. We’re less algorithm more ‘inspirithm’, and yes I made that word up, but that’s what we’re all about.

“Our aim is to inspire people to do things which they have not necessarily thought they wanted to do or where they wanted to travel to.

“It is this regularity and the manner in which we communicate with our customers that allows us to learn, adapt and respond.”