Adopting a unified approach to all marketing channels will help travel companies understand the true value of routes to market outside of search.
Daniele Beccari, head of travel at Criteo told the Phocuswright conference in Los Angeles return on investment from smaller channels was starting to be realised through the more strategic use of data.
He said this presents firms with a challenge to expose more data to machine learning marketing platforms, so they can create and serve more personalised, better converting ad formats.
This may prompt the rise of new roles or external agencies that work with firms to work out the optimal way to allow their data to be used in this way.
Beccari said performance levels comparable with search are now being seen on other channels such as mobile, display, email, social and video.
But it was vital that the whole life cycle of each user is tracked, so that business generated by one channel but completed on another is given the correct value.
One example from an airline partner of Criteo’s suggested personalised advertising creatives lead to click through rates doubling and conversions up by three times, so a six times uplift in bookings.
“The [sales] funnel is very complex, we see users coming back again and again. While doing this users users leave behind an enormous amount of data.
“Algorithms can actually understand trends and patterns and predict booking values and intent. They can then understand the right value for each user.
“Now you are able to predict the right value for every individual user and therefore you can buy [advertising] space at the right value.”
Beccari added: “[Marketing] engines take into account all dimensions to predict what each individual is going to do.
“Engines can adjust predictions in real time as user patterns change. To have the speed of execution you need big systems behind that.
“Big data is about a lot of variables, being able to adjust campaigns in real time and being really fast and reactive.”
Criteo claims to be seeing bookings rise on mobile and not just research, and conversion rates on display advertising are becoming equivalent to search. It said personalised email campaigns have been seen to drive high click-through, with conversion rates of 30% plus.
Beccari said the next stage was to track users across devices: “One you have all these channels the next step is to understand what the full picture looks like.
“We have just launched a cross-device solution, tools that allow you to monitor the lifecycle of the user across the different devices and channels they are using.
“Are your mobile ads driving bookings on different devices? Tracking problems are now being solved. We have the tools that piece it all together. It’s the key to evaluate the user.”
There are three areas that travel firms need to focus on, added Beccari – privacy, data and cost.
He said handling data responsibly was vital not just for the customer, but for the travel firm that does not want their data used in ways they don’t approve of.
Firms need to make sure they get the right performance from the data they expose to these marketing engines and may have to employ data engine optimisation experts.
Beccari added: “We need to make sure we are optimising costs across the board, we are not paying for the same users again and again.”