Travelers are on the hunt for new places to explore this summer, and they want to get their trips booked as soon as possible. The issue is that many don’t know exactly where they want to take their next adventure.
With the rise of platforms like Yelp and even Instagram, it’s easier than ever for travelers to research new and exciting destinations, but it’s also a major opportunity for travel companies to lead customers to find new getaways. In fact, recent research from Booking.com states that almost a third of global travelers are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on historical data, and half of respondents note that personalized suggestions for destinations actually encourage them to book a trip.
As travelers begin to plan their summer vacations, travel brands must leverage their data to effectively predict customers’ interests and guide them to booking their dream destinations. Here are three ways companies can ensure they’re curating tailored vacation suggestions that get customers on board the next flight.
Finding the right location starts with analytics
Today’s travelers already expect brands to anticipate their needs and, in turn, proactively provide the most valuable information available. Predicting desired vacations is simply an extension of this. By leveraging historical customer data and user demographics, travel brands can better understand typical customer behaviors and trends, using these insights to effectively tailor the digital experience with recommended trips that they may not have previously considered.
Take for example a traveler who took a recent trip to the coast of France and the year before traveled throughout the Greek islands. Collecting and analyzing this customer data, travel companies can begin to understand this specific traveler’s interest in coastal European adventures and suggest a personalized getaway to Ibiza — a lesser known, but similar destination. Pushing the customer to book a new vacation that aligns with their interests doesn’t just result in a conversion for the travel site — it also begins to build customer loyalty, showing the traveler that their needs are understood.
Screen campaigns with machine learning
Taking personalized CX a step further, travel companies can launch experiments focused on their different customer segments, analyzing which travel suggestions are working and which might be too outlandish.
Travel companies need to continuously assess their performance and make real-time improvements to ensure their suggestions are actually moving the needle in getting travelers to learn more and eventually book. By launching targeted tests geared toward specific audiences (based on age, geolocation and even interests) across their different digital properties, travel companies can understand what influences their customers to take the next step in choosing their vacation – be it going through the full process of booking a flight, or simply browsing specific regions and requesting additional information. Equipped with smart, machine learning capabilities, brands can continue to test and improve their process based on the results. Ultimately, this process also allows travel companies to continue building out their customer profiles – understanding trends and preferences to predict what will drive them down the path to purchase.
Digital design and placement
By optimizing website design per individual user needs, travel sites can take their click-rate to the next level. Specifically, companies must pinpoint how digital designs — or the overall format of a website or mobile app — impact browsers (and convert them into buyers). Design plays a major role in personalization, and a streamlined website design is critical to improved user engagement and gaining traveler trust.
To understand this level of CX, travel companies must track how different digital designs have historically resonated with certain users. Travel sites can then implement small, similar features into their desktop, mobile and tablet site designs, sparking an initial interest in the user. Equipped with this added layer of customer information, travel companies can go beyond simply optimizing content for general display, and start creating entirely personalized experiences to meet individual travelers’ needs.
Cultivating unique planning experiences for customers is key to helping travelers embark on adventures they never imagined. To meet today’s consumers’ demands for intuitive CX, travel companies will need to differentiate their digital properties and offerings, ensuring every aspect of the experience is perfectly tailored.