On a yearly basis, billions of people use the services of travel companies. And that is not only for leisure, but also for business purposes, or even for the popular trend called bleisure. That has triggered the foundation of many new travel enterprises, differentiating themselves with new features, services, prices, offerings, and facilities, and in the past five years, this ‘movement’ has generated huge competition in the travel sector. Globally.
Consequently, the high growth in competition, as well as the unevenly distributed profits across the industry, create a barrier for most of the small and middle firms to show forth, generate customer awareness and become a popular option for tourists and traveling business people. That is because to “rule over the competition,” companies need money, and the revenues generated by the smaller businesses can be hardly compared to the ones of the big multinational enterprises.
However, there is a smart way: Data. The integration and analytics of this asset is a budget-friendly option for long-term utilization, which has the strong potential to enhance the marketing tools, which travel companies use, and as a result, to support, improve, and manifest customer engagement in every stage of their customer journey.
But how? In order to take a look at all the opportunities which data creates for enhancing customer awareness, we have to take a look at every single stage of the 5-layered buyer journey and follow them.
In this first stage of the customer process, the clients are not yet aware of their future need/desire, or how the marketeers refer to it: their future problem. In the case of the travel industry, the main goal in this stage for the companies is to trigger the travelers` desire to go on vacation, explore new places and meet new cultures, and the businessmen's need to go from one place to another.
In that sense, the travel entities have to share proper content, which to have a psychological, emotional, and behavioral impact on the buyers. And here comes the power of data:
High-quality data analytics give travel companies valuable insights about their prospects. First, it helps them to shape their customer target groups according to social position, interests, and buying behavior. After that, the analytics provide the organizations with information about the channels, which their prospects use the most: including digital channels, such as social media platforms, websites, search engines, and e-magazines, and offline ones, like newspapers, or TV programs.
Data makes it easy for businesses to decide and plan their marketing attempts and trigger customer desires and needs through the most suitable promotional channels, at the best time, and with the most engaging type of content: infographic, pictures, blog articles, short guides, interviews, and others.
2. Problem aware
When our prospects are already aware they want or need to travel, it is time to provide them with more information about the possible options they have: types of travel means and additional information, such as advantages and drawbacks.
For example, if a man is traveling for a business meeting from Amsterdam to London, showing him the options for traveling will make him feel more informed and with more control over his own traveling journey. This way, he has the opportunity and freedom to evaluate the means of transport and make the best decision for his circumstances.
Data integration and analytics help the travel companies to identify the location of their future customers and provide them with the most accurate travel options, taking into account timetables, holidays, business, traffic, and other relevant factors. This way, data ensures that every client is given impeccable information, diminishing the risk of wrong, mistaken, or misleading solutions. As a result, the analytics enhance the ability of the businesses to make their clients aware of their travel alternatives and motivate them to make a booking.
3. Solution aware
When the clients know their traveling choices, they are ready to get information about the particular service of our company and understand its competitive advantages.
Here it is essential to show and convince that our service is the best alternative available on the market, putting emphasis on the benefits, bonuses, and advantages that it provides. What is more, building trust in the organization and showing it`s quality, reputation, success, and transparency are great motivators for engagement and awareness.
Again, data analytics are in a position to help by giving insights about the best platforms for sharing and presenting the service, and the right people which the service would reach. This is crucial because not all the travelers move along the customer journey at the same pace. Some of them need more time to discover the solutions or to start trusting a particular company. For this reason, the integration of data is a valuable activity, which gives us meaningful information about the “readiness” of our prospects to learn about our company and services and to eventually become our customers.
4. Product aware
If we have succeeded in building trust among our customers, it is time to play our strongest card: Personalization.
In this fourth stage of customer awareness, they already have an inner need to feel special, pampered, and taken care of. By providing customized emails, content pieces, offerings, and pricing, we satisfy the needs of the travelers to be treated in an individual way. For instance, according to a recent study, personalized subject lines (in emails) produce a 65% open rate to the travel industry. And this is a percentage that should not be ignored or underestimated in any way.
No surprise, data integration is the key to the personalization of services, content, and products. Why? Because advanced data analytics give insights about the preferences (for services, prices, time of booking, and more) of the clients. With high-quality data, we have the opportunity to directly target our prospects in the most relevant and effective way, without spending time and resources on mass-marketing campaigns, which are far less attractive and effective.
In short, data helps us to better convince travelers to complete a purchase and become our customers.
5. Most aware
The goal in this fifth stage is to transform our clients into loyal and repeat buyers. After all, every one of us has a favorite airline company, so think about it: What was the thing that motivated your choice? Was it the price, the reputation of the entity, the personalized approach, the comfort of the service itself, or something else?
Data analytics help us to identify those factors and retain the customer value in the organization. They give us the key to provide better customer service, aftercare, to handle reviews in a proper way, and to learn from the mistakes done in the past. This way, data give us the strength to constantly improve not only our marketing campaigns and travel services but the overall experience of our brand.
All in all, data is the driver to smart and continuous success in the travel industry. The analytics help us to build and maintain customer awareness about our brand, services, advantages, and strengths, which motivates them to become buyers. And by actively using their data assets, small and middle-companies can enhance their marketing approach and can take it to a whole other level to become more competitive to big travel organizations.