Guest Post: Understanding context is the next frontier for travel

Guest Post: Understanding context is the next frontier for travel

Tailoring visitors’ experience increases consumer loyalty, says Dan Bensley, industry lead for travel at Qubit

For any brand, it’s essential to understand how distinctive groups of customers find, engage and ultimately purchase their products and services online, but this is particularly true in travel. Key segments of travellers to consider might be millennials and baby boomers. Each has a different approach to booking travel, and usually (not always) differing technical abilities. Although visitors from these two demographics may be booking their travel from the exact same website… the travel brands that are increasing customer loyalty and lifetime value think carefully about the way they present offers and content to each visitor.

A recent report from JWT Intelligence, looking into ‘The New Adulthood’, identified an emerging generation between millennials and baby boomers which could be an opportunity for travel brands. Research from Qubit shows that nearly a third (31%) of under 35’s book more than one holiday a year and that 56% of under 35’s believe that it’s important for travel brands to personalize to their preferences.

For travel brands, understanding the context of who someone is, what they’re looking for, and how that might differ from previous visits is essential. It’s equally important to create experiences with this data within the same session. Consider the example of a visitor booking travel for work while they’re at the office, and the same visitor returns later in the day to book their next family holiday. You can see the challenge of defining a visitor as simply a millennial, baby boomer or new adult. Add the additional context of whether they are a new or returning visitor, whether they’ve bought something previously from you, and the intent they are demonstrating when landing on site – these all represent opportunities for personalization.

However, it’s one thing recognizing a visitors’ intent, it’s another thing to act on that insight in a relevant and timely way. This is one of the hardest challenges travel brands now face – understanding the context of an interaction at any point in time. Like the above example of a traveller booking for work on the same day they might be booking for leisure, the distinction between the two scenarios is small, but the key for a brand is to find a method of acting on the intent they are showing in-the-moment.

This new frontier of rising customer expectations across all demographics, and technology to meet those demands, is something we’re seeing at Qubit every single day. More and more businesses are investing in ways to understand the context of each visit, and to create seamless experiences based on that context. Whether they are an anonymous visitor browsing, or a customer that’s logged-in with a purchase history, brands need to use as much information as possible to engender loyalty in every interaction.

The first time a new visitor interacts is the point in which a brand should start adding context to that customer journey. For example, Qubit helped Thomas Cook Airlines use its live pricing API in tandem with a visitors’ location to highlight last-minute deals at nearby airports, an experience which achieved an uplift of 1.8 percent in revenue per convertor. Emirates have also used the Qubit Pro platform to highlight when a customer can buy a flight with air miles, which saw a 1 percent uplift in revenue per convertor.

Competition in the travel industry is at an all-time high, but with the right attitudes and technology for tailoring a visitors’ experience, brands can really differentiate. The age of navigating bulky, one-size-fits-all websites with 1000s of possible combinations is over and customers are looking for curated experiences that are relevant to their engagement with a brand. Whether it’s a ‘millennial’, a ‘baby boomer’, or ‘new adult’ personalization is now pervasive, expected and necessary for travel brands to continue to compete.

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