Today’s ‘always on’ consumer expects a travel experience that delivers a hyper-personalised package of products and services.
This is challenging the highly competitive travel industry to discover new ways to gain attention and sell their services.
Travel companies must deeply understand consumer preferences and adapt their offers to individual needs. Personalised suggestions, pricing and exclusive offers are extremely valued and can be a key competitive advantage for travel companies.
The culture of experimentation
The exponential rise of data has changed the face of the travel industry, bringing about an entirely new world of insights and information. Processing that data correctly allows travel companies not only to measure the value of their services and products, but more importantly to meticulously analyse the information and develop new impactful customer experiences which leads to increased commerce growth.
A recent study, Adoption Experimentation in the Travel Industry, conducted by Optimizely, Digital Travel Summit, and WBR Travel surveyed 90+ executives at leading travel companies, which explored the impact of experimentation on the travel industry.
The study found that 62% of travel companies attribute 1% – 10% of their commerce growth to their investments in testing and experimentation. 20% of travel companies attribute even more.
Experimentation is proving a successful method for travel companies to improve the customer experience – from product offering, to marketing campaigns and exclusive services. This shift is enabling travel businesses to understand the impact of changes on conversions and revenue, and make it possible to deliver a more tailored traveller experience.
Experiment to thrive
21st century travellers are not looking to simply move from A to B or select standard, old-fashioned travel packages. Instead they wish to be involved in a seamless experience, engaging with the travel organiser from the moment they start planning a trip and searching a travel deal, until the moment they return home and talk with their peers about the experience.
This is where experimentation can add real value, providing useful data across the customer journey that can be used to develop cutting-edge products and services.
The study found that over half of travel companies (59%) report implementing 1% to 20% of their winning tests, while 28% of travel companies report implementing 20% or more.
While more travel companies are putting budget behind experimentation, there is a lack of knowledge around where best to apply testing across customers, markets and segments, which is key to how organisations create a successful culture of experimentation.
Therefore, a substantial majority of travel companies earmark a significant portion of their digital investment in experimentation. Most travel companies (61%) earmark between 1 and 10% of their online budget. An additional 17% earmark 10 – 20% of their budget.
The future is now
Experimentation offers great potential to companies as it can have a serious impact on the business. Companies who rely on personalisation are believed to generate 20% more revenue than those who don’t use this method.
Travel companies must bring together their expertise about their customers, and then apply new experimentation techniques to deliver a personalised customer experience with a clear benefit to their overarching business strategy.
As the challenges in the industry become more demanding than ever, companies with disruptive ideas, are the ones who will define the future travel experience.
– by Marie Despringhere