Knowing your customer is not a new concept. However, with the exploding ecosystem of martech and adtech, the changing nature of how and when people travel, and their ever-evolving buyer journey, understanding and engaging travel and hospitality customers has never been more complicated. And it’s never been more important.
The travel and hospitality industry was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Business travel came to a grinding halt more than a year ago, and leisure travel shifted from well populated destinations to more remote single-family staycations. Instead of the beach, people went camping. Instead of the city for the weekend, it was a cabin in the woods. Less became more. People changed. They became more sensitive to safety features that support cleanliness and capacity guidelines that favored our need to stay socially distanced.
As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, we are seeing the demand for leisure travel rise. Business and international travel will be next. Cities are opening back up, theme parks are starting to hum again, cruise ships are readying to set sail, and people are ready and eager to get back to pre-pandemic life.
The travel brands that invest in understanding what is most important to their travelers will have the best opportunity to recover quickly. And keeping up with travelers’ future characteristics as they continue to evolve will be critical to travel brands recovering successfully. It will be important to understand and differentiate between who will return to travel in the near term, and who will still wait for a while.
Insights are Key
Let’s face it. Knowing your customers is not nearly as complicated as trying to understand why your kids dip their green beans in ketchup or why your husband can’t make time to get the garage cleaned up. Getting to know your customers starts with the basics: name, address, phone number, maybe email address. Then you can begin adding third-party insights to help you understand a little more, like age, income, ethnicity, how many people are in the household, travel preferences and maybe hobbies. Knowing just a little more about a traveler can help you decide which offer makes the most sense for certain people based on what you know about their lifestyle, their budget, and their family’s new travel habits. And when you use this intelligence to communicate in a relevant way, potential travelers will be more likely to respond and engage with your brand.
Want to take it a step further? Understanding today’s travel and hospitality customers can give you the insights needed to create new models for marketing to your best prospect look-alikes who are booking with competitors. It can also help you understand and develop targeted criteria to reach your audience socially and digitally when they are shopping to book travel. Ultimately, your marketing will work harder and more effectively in reaching new travel audiences in the channels they are most likely to use. Knowing your audience today will prepare your organization to know who your travelers are and be able to anticipate how they will travel in the future. To learn more about how we can help you better know and understand current and future travelers download our Data Portrait Analysis fact sheet.