Shopping experiences are becoming more mobile-centric across a breadth of different sectors, and online travel bookings are no exception. This trend opens up plenty of exciting opportunities for travel brands to personalize their offering for a more effective customer journey – both in terms of the moment of purchase and the vacations in question.
Forecasts from eMarketer predict that, in 2016, 51,8% of travellers who book trips digitally will do so using a mobile device. To fully leverage this behavioral trend, increasing numbers of travel brands are launching initiatives to incentivize users to follow the smartphone (or tablet) purchase journey, borrowing tactics from the mobile-mature retail sector.
Ben Rossi, Editorial Director at Information Age, defines personalization in the following terms: "products, services and communication [are] targeted using a combination of known user preferences and unknown, or unstated desires that add ‘value’ to their experience".
This definition is apt for the travel sector, where the path from research to purchase and fulfilling a travel booking typically begins on a traditional website aggregator and ends with a purchaser completing the reservation process and acquiring their e-ticket from a mobile device. Along this journey, there are plenty of opportunities to optimize the process through smart personalization, with Rossi identifying the following key areas of focus:
Offering relevant complementary bundles (such as flights and car hire)
Showing which products or services similar customers have purchased
Serving destination-relevant content, for example about local events or points of interest
Showing a choice of related products through upsell or cross-sell
Pre-filling personal and payment information to prevent duplication of effort on the part of the customer
Providing multiple real-time personalized alerts around flight status, hotel check-in times and recommended complementary offers (such as lounge vouchers and spa treatments)
Of course, in order to put these personalization steps in place at the relevant points in the customer journey, it's vital to have the right software to both capture customer data (around preferences and intentions) and to serve the content to the relevant touch points and channels, in a timely fashion.
Having these measures in place will become increasingly vital for travel brands to create cut-through and outperform competitors. Explore our Engagement solutions to find out how censhare is helping brands to deliver personalized communications across multiple channels and devices.