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Personalised Digital Experiences in Travel .
With today's digital travel shopper demanding more from the buying experience, personalisation is being used consistently by leading brands as a key marketing strategy tactic to keep their customers returning and drive conversion.
A personalisation strategy is a crucial component to the digital marketing mix, delivering better digital customer experiences & loyalty as it demonstrates an understanding of the individuals that are visiting your site. Research has found that almost half (46%) of travel marketers saw personalisation as their top challenge throughout 2019 so learning how to use this strategy successfully and effectively is key, although knowing where to start and what to personalise can be a challenge.
When looking into recent statistics, websites and apps account for 82% of bookings without any human interaction (in 2018) showing us that website’s need to be able to deliver on-demand but also be responsive to mobile and cross-device browsing and booking. When looking into recent online mobile behaviours, 48% of smartphone users have stated they are comfortable with planning and booking their trip on a mobile device. The knowledge we gain from this is that there is a specific niche that travel marketers should be focusing on - personalisation for mobile users. We know that mobile devices perform over 50% of Google searches due to the ease and effectiveness, and over 5 billion people worldwide own a smartphone. Personalisation is all about making the user’s journey smoother by showing them content that is relevant to them based on previous online behaviours which is why it is imperative to personalise for mobile.
By creating a personalised online experience, you are recognising the customer as an individual and meeting their needs directly, therefore more likely to capture that individual in their purchase stage. People are now moving to a faster pace of life, and they want their purchasing experience to reflect this. Across the travel industry, we can observe a plethora of personalised content. More basic personalisation such as recommended trips, flight searches beginning with your local airport already populated & holiday/deal finders based on previous search behaviours to remarketing such as ‘How was your stay at …’ or ‘Because you travelled to this country, have you considered…’. With the move to more personalised content, we have also seen a rise in online travel agent companies such as Expedia, Ice Lolly and Booking.com capitalising on the inflation of personalised content. Each one of these sites utilises personalisation by allowing the user to tailor and hand-pick every aspect of their trip including hotels, experiences, transfers, travel and more while displaying other relevant content to the user like the examples above.
So how is personalisation going to help my business?
We know customers are unlikely to book a holiday, flight or hotel after a single occurrence of personalisation. Still, it does play a rather significant factor for when the customer is in the purchase stage of their journey and are ready to book.
Travel brand On the Beach says customers take approximately 40 days to make a purchase and visit their site around 26 times to adjust the items in their basket.
As stated above, consumers want convenience & ease, which is what personalisation provides. After enabling personalisation, research has shown that it influences and accelerates the users purchasing decisions.
With your customers, these statistics could be slightly higher or lower, but it’s worth noting that all the behaviour occurring on your site allows you to build a picture of the different audiences that use your site.
How do I start my personalisation journey?
Many website platforms offer some kind of personalisation features, our preferred platform here at Sagittarius is Sitecore.
Using Sitecore’s inbuilt experience profile & experience database, you can gather data on individual visitors and use them to develop audience profiles. Creating audience profiles allows further investigation into online behaviours. These tools then allow you to integrate the usage of automated personalisation & engagement tools to develop a rounded personalisation strategy.
At Sagittarius, we have 70+ Sitecore experts that can help you with all aspects of Sitecore development, including personalisation. Get in contact with us today to see how we can help your brand implement a successful personalisation strategy that delivers ROI.
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Having joined the agency in 2013, Sarah has been part of the agencies growth story and leads the marketing team in delivering great internal and external brand experiences, driving sales and developing relationships with key strategic suppliers.