Keeping the customer in focus - The key to intelligent digital marketing in travel.

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A recent Intercontinental Hotels Group survey piece demonstrated a marked desire for totally tailored travel services; 59% of respondents said these were important. When these are provided, satisfaction surveys report 59% of respondents saying the hotel was more comfortable and 59% report feeling more valued. The tailoring necessary varied greatly according to age group and particularly region of origin. Requirements from respondents from the UAE varied markedly from those of travellers from Brazil or China for example. These findings are not necessarily a surprise but they do emphasise the importance of gathering accurate data and using the insights it provides to localise and personalise travel services across the board.

Personalisation and Localisation
Ensuring the travel purchase cycle is seamless regardless of the traveller’s demographic is crucial in an increasingly competitive market. The impulse traveller or frequent business traveller need the process from search to purchase to work in a way specifically tailored to their needs – their needs being vastly different from say the once a year holiday traveller who plans a year ahead.

In addition to this kind of personalisation, we add in the challenges of marketing a brand globally (in the case of larger travel companies or hotels), but at the same time providing localised offerings. These need to be tailored to individual travellers on a particular day and according to the specific location they are in.

Localisation and personalisation are about delivering the right message to the right market whilst keeping consistent with the brand identity and boosting the brand value. According to an EConsultancy post in August 2013, 60% of customers online prefer it if sites remember their contact details and purchase information, and the logic behind it is simple really. It enables the audience to do repeat business, simply and easily. Making their life easy and enabling choices to be made simply engenders brand loyalty. Both personalisation and localisation increase the chances of upselling, increase customer engagement and advocacy and consequently contribute increases to revenue and gains in market share.

The same EConsultancy piece describes how when Co-Operative Travel began to integrate these things into their marketing strategy and implemented them on their website, they had a 95% increase in unique visitors and 217% increase in revenue.

Mobile Marketing
This leads us to mobile. Despite the latest ‘The SITA/Air Transport World Passenger IT trends survey’ showing 74% of passengers have smartphones, only 5% of them actually book their travel on their phone. Mobile offers unique opportunities to localise and personalise (particularly offers) with the use of GPS etc, so any travel company not ensuring their mobile offering is totally up to date is missing a major opportunity.

Of course all the above apply to other industries.  Whereas, however, for example the retail industry has moved forward at a pace to utilise the benefits of ‘SoMoLo’, much of the travel industry has yet to embrace all the opportunities the latest channels and available data insights offer them.

Creating tailored conversations and engagement in each individual market, improves the customer experience, increases business revenue and boosts conversions.


Intelligent Digital Marketing for Travel companies: Focus on the customer
Sagittarius is holding the first of a series of events on the 26th March 2014 designed to help increase conversions and customer engagement through intelligent digital marketing.

This event is aimed at anyone with the remit of improving results from digital marketing within Travel.

The aim is for delegates to leave the event with a greater understanding of how to maximise the benefits of a cohesive digital marketing strategy for your business. The event will also address some of the top challenges travel marketers face in the current climate and look at ways to overcome them.

If you would like to attend this event, please register your details here:

Sagittarius Marketing are experts in providing digital marketing solutions to global brands. If you would like to talk to us about your specific requirements, please do not hesitate to call us on: 01233 467 800 or email:

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

Paul Stephen
Paul Stephen
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
With over 25 years in marketing, Paul is one of the UK's leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees the agency and often lectures and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects and has a particular interest and skills in the travel and tourism sectors.

Paul operates nationally and internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.
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