Why is the Travolution Journeys edition important? Similar to the Generations project in September 2007, we have assembled information and analysis that will hopefully help improve a travel business – or at least raise some critical questions as to how an existing strategy to value consumers is being carried out.
It is more than likely that as the distribution of travel products swings back towards being on the highly commoditised path – primarily due to state of the economy – then it will become increasingly important for travel brands to understand the customer in a far more intelligent way.
Some might say that this idea sits rather awkwardly given that over the past year Travolution has suggested the internet is a far too noisy and chaotic place for travel brands to have any degree of loyalty.
This is still certainly the case – and will remain so if the economic situation worsens and price becomes the over-arching pitch point for products.
However, where the consumer does hold a travel company in high regard is when it feels like it has been understood and treated well.
It is therefore imperative that travel companies understand how the modern consumer thinks and behaves, what he or she demands and expects as part of their travel experience.
Alongside getting grips with purchase patterns, understanding what happens during the customer journey (from the eureka moment about a trip to the post-holiday review or email) is critical if businesses are to reach new consumers – and retain the existing ones.
There are a complicated series of points in the consumer journey where travel companies have a wonderful opportunity to foster more than just brand affinity.
The sweet spot – this year’s favourite term for marketers – is when a consumer shifts from affinity to loyalty.
Understanding what to do at these points in the journey is becoming vital skill.
This is relevant for all travel companies.
Whether you are selling your own product, aggregating other products, providing an online or offline service for customers or involved in the technology behind the scenes, customer needs are, well, increasingly needy and diverse.
Simply having, and then distributing, a range of products is no longer enough. Travel companies must be far better at accepting their role is perhaps just one small part of a longer process for consumers in their goal of doing something that sounds, on paper, rather simple – having a holiday.
Our analysis which asks which types of travel companies are best placed to try to achieve at least one element within this complicated issue: owning the customer.
But it is much more than simply owning – or trying to own – that relationship. Getting to the stage where a travel company can even begin to think about owning the customer is arguably the most difficult battle to win.
Unfortunately, it comes down to the perennial question about travel companies in the modern age: how do they plan and buy media in order to get their brand in front of those all-important eyeballs of customers.
Once again, those with money – often at the expense of those with a better customer experience or quality of product – may well win the battle.