We live in an increasingly personalised world, with consumers served video content based on what else they have watched, sometimes what their friends have watched.
They are served adverts based on their online profile, viewing, or shopping habits. This is leading to an increased demand for personalisation in every aspect of a consumer’s life and travel companies are having to respond to that.
Personalisation is mainly about convenience. There is a huge amount of choice, with a multitude of possible destinations, types of accommodation, proximity to amenities and attractions, and other add-ons, such as pre-booking attractions and/or restaurants, etc.
Having to trawl through vast amounts of data to find the right kind of holiday can be time-consuming and may ultimately lead to not finding that perfect holiday and a less-than-ideal experience. Holiday companies are looking to utilizing the power of cloud computing and machine learning to serve up customised holiday choices.
For the consumer, it is then simply a matter of picking the best one. This improves the customer experience and drives revenue for the travel company, which can push add on recommendations for advance booking.
Personalisation through technology
Technology is key to enabling this personalised customer journey. It begins with machine learning, which can intelligently interrogate massive amounts of data and filter out the important bits. This enables you to build a profile of your consumers, helping you to fully understand customers, their preferences and likely holiday choices.
Over the coming months, we will see an increase in the use of technology in this way, with many travel companies using it to push tailored suggestions to customers at the booking process.
The entire customer journey
Personalisation is, however, not just about the booking process. To truly tailor the holiday experience, travel companies need to consider how they can customise that entire journey. Mobile apps will likely play a key role here, but to date most travel apps are informational, offering little dynamic interactivity. We will see apps in the near future offering up suggestions to consumers as to what they can do next based on where they are.
For the travel companies, apps provide more data to build a more comprehensive customer profile, enabling better personalisation. This in turn generates more revenue for the travel company if the consumer books something based on those recommendations, or via targeted advertising. With the consumer fed with relevant and interesting suggestions, they will more easily find the things they will be interested in and consequently have a more enjoyable holiday.
Getting the groundwork done
Good technology is vital to serve up personalised content effectively, and securely. It involves gathering huge amounts of data, which needs to be process and securely protected from cyber attacks. We will therefore likely see huge investments from travel companies in machine learning, data handling, and cyber security technology. When it comes to mobile apps, consumers have limited patience, so making sure the app is intuitive and offers valuable information will be key if consumers are actually going to use it.
In some destinations connectivity can be a problem, which of course renders mobile apps pointless. However, internet connectivity has improved on a global scale and improvements in satellite technology mean that connectivity is possible in most areas, even the most remote. I believe we will see a great deal of investment into improving connectivity from travel companies looking to ensure personalisation doesn’t stop when the customers arrive.
Keeping the customer happy
It is clear that travel companies need to make the move towards personalisation in order to improve the customer experience. However, those travel companies that embrace personalisation throughout the customer journey can truly differentiate themselves, giving the consumers a much more unique and customised experience, and ultimately driving revenue and customer satisfaction.