Accumulating data is the key to offering travel customers the best, most tailored experience, according to Travelzoo’s European managing director.
Richard Singer, speaking at the Navigating Digital in Travel conference in London, organised by digital agency the Bio Agency, said Travelzoo’s approach to tailoring is to target segments of customers.
However, this was challenged by Tamara Lohan, co-founder and chief technology officer of Mr & Mrs Smith, who said a one to one approach is more effective.
“Whether it’s a tablet, a mobile or the website, these are all opportunities to get data,” said Singer.
“All the signals generated need to be utilised. But I also think the interesting thing with tailoring is that it is all episodic.
“Within a year the same person might want to book a cruise, but then a few months later a family holiday. People want every one of these points tailored.”
The question of tailoring customer experience was raised after the Bio Agency’s white paper, Biotrends, found through a survey of 2,000 people that 26% of people want digital technology to create a more tailored experience for them.
Singer explained that Travelzoo indexes throughout the year, which helps inform its tailoring, resulting in “great conversion rates”.
“What we have is the ability to group consumers into segments,” he said. “We can choose the right kind of content to match them up with. These customers will then get the headline emails that will be of interest to them and things like that.”
He said being able to utilise data effectively was a “huge” opportunity for the travel industry.
Lohan said in response: “I believe firmly in one to one. We have moved away from speaking to customers in groups. We have seen that customers want the one to one, at any particular time. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
“I think today’s customer is having many micro moments of decision making. They could be talking about a holiday on the way to work with a friend and in that moment they decide to go. They will then look on their mobile and they may even book.
“A tailored service needs to be there for that immediacy.”