As the focus on consumer data has strengthened globally and the rush to collect it has heated up, the value of travel data has gained concurrently.
NB: This is an analysis by David Morrow, EMEA and APAC marketing director, ADARA.
ADARA works closely with more than 80 travel data partners worldwide. Our experience is that not only travel providers but also other companies wishing to reach travelers are trying to understand travel data much better, leveraging it to gain greater insights.
The new level of understanding can help market products more strategically online and through programmatic media buying.
But there is still a long way to go.
A recent study published by the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) found that programmatic media buying is a strategy used by 80 percent of marketers in all industries But less than half use data for cross-channel targeting, engagement and measurement.
In other words, few marketers are able to harness the totality of the data they are gathering to inform more complex business decisions.
This article is the first in a two-part series. It provides a general introduction to the character and unique qualities of travel data. It also lays the foundations for a follow-up feature which will be a deep dive into practical online marketing strategies
Understanding The Power of Data Properly Applied
Travel data is valuable because it is uniquely predictive. When a consumer buys a book online, his next purchase could be anything from a toaster to a TV - there are no clues.
But when that consumer buys an airline ticket, it’s likely he will soon purchase a hotel room, a rental car and perhaps tickets to local shows and attractions.
The key to his intention is contained in the data acquired at booking.
But securing the data is only the first step in the process of effective online marketing.
Think of it as a resource that has to be acquired, analyzed, applied and monitored. At every step of the marketing life cycle, data can play a pivotal role in driving insight and profitability – but only if it is analyzed and properly applied to a specific sales context.
Here is how one innovative consumer products company outside travel is doing it.
Using mobile technology, facial mapping and colour-rendering algorithms, beauty products giant L’Oreal lets consumers try out makeup using its MakeUp Genius app.
This turns a selfie into an interactive mirror reflecting movement and creating a real-time digital way to test out cosmetics.
It’s an advanced, consumer-friendly technology, allowing a customer to browse options and create a shopping list to buy the products she wants via her mobile device.
L’Oreal, meanwhile, has access to data collected from the browsing, which it can use to create highly personalized offers, interact with consumers, gather feedback and recommendations, shape future offers and even assist in product development.
How does this apply in the context of travel?
Imagine being able to take a figurative snapshot of a traveler’s preferences, wishes and intentions before going into even more detail . It is possible to target consumers based on the amount they are likely to spend when booking travel; where they are likely to spend it; and when in the future they are likely to spend more.
These are the kind of insights ADARA provides on a daily basis.
The insights enable airlines, hotels, OTAs and other travel marketers to focus their marketing budgets on the most valuable buyers in their ecosystems. Campaigns can be targetted to boost revenue opportunities by presenting specific offers in the pre-booking, booking, and post-booking windows.
The key is making the data actionable: moving from broad insight into concrete spending habits and finally into specific contexts.
Take people who travel at the front of the plane, for either business or leisure purposes.
Our data shows that people who travel regularly in business class have the following characteristics and are:
- twice as likely as their fellow travelers to earn in excess of $100,000 annually
- three times as likely to own homes worth more than $250,000
- twice as likely to be planning technology purchases
- four times as likely to have an investment portfolio larger than $250,000
- twice as likely to own a luxury vehicle
- more likely to have spent more than $1,000 online in the past six months.
To make these broad insights actionable, you need to connect the dots, forming a truly holistic portrait of the specific customer that allows you to start understanding actual spending patterns,– in real-time.
Will our business class traveler be inclined to purchase upgrades in different areas of travel during his (or her) trip?
Does the amount he (or she) spends on the trip vary between destinations? Does he (or she?) prefer to upgrade her room or her car?
To find out, many factors need to be considered. Which websites are visited or apps used for booking air, hotel, and ground transport? What price-points convert best?
How long is spent between looking and booking and is there a pattern? How responsive is he (or she?) to offers during the post-booking pre-trip period?
In Part II of this series, we will examine some specific examples of how this complex constellation of data comes to life and becomes truly actionable for travel providers, via campaigns that optimize revenue.
NB: This is an analysis by David Morrow, EMEA and APAC marketing director, ADARA. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2: ADARA's chief commercial officer, Scott Garner, will be appearing on a Tnooz panel at ITB Berlin on Thursday 5 March 2015... Bringing a new WOW factor back to the travel industry.
NB3:World map image by Shuttertock