Next year the Travolution Summit turns 10 years old. So, it was only fitting that the overarching theme involved the fast paced and ongoing change in the Digital World.
Big Data is Bigger than Ever
Obviously, much has changed in travel over the last 10 years thanks to developments in technology. The exponential growth of digital in the last decade was put into some stark perspective. Olivier Binse of Deloitte Digital said “In the last two years alone, we’ve seen nine times more data created than in the entire history of humanity.”
While travel companies have a massive amount of data at their disposal, our own Russell Young stressed the need for travel companies to leverage this data in a more meaningful way . “Data is only as powerful as your ability to intelligently use it”. Russell featured alongside industry and eCommerce heavyweights Expedia, eDreams Odigeo and eBay. Their panel centred around the best way to utilise data in today’s digital environment. At the end of the day, Russell pointed out that “all data points can be used to tailor your messaging in a way that is complementary to the user’s preferences” which works for both the customer and the brands that he or she interacts with.
More Devices per Person
Ten years ago, we might have had an entire family sharing a single desktop computer. Today, we interact with multiple screens every day. So, we also research and book our business trips and holidays on different devices throughout the travel journey. This makes the path to purchase increasingly more fragmented. Booking.com’s Remco Van Zanten showed that nearly half (43%) of users shop across devices when planning travel.
Brands can make the most of their data by creating a better user experience. Andy Washington of Expedia mentioned that their scratchpad feature, for example, works across devices, and updates with the most current rates and availabilities on desired routes. What’s clear is that cross-device is not just a passing fad. It is important for travel brands to respond to the need for a smoother customer experience.
Customers at the Centre of Data Ownership
With the rapid growth of digital, travel brands must be transparent on how they store and utilise user data. Consumers increasingly understand how websites use their data. The panellists unanimously supported this development. Expedia’s Washington furthered that “It is the obligation of travel companies to keep their customer data safe and actively invest in its protection”.
Panelist Alessandra Di Lorenzo from eBay summed it up the best. “When consumers feel that they can make decisions about how their information is used, and they are being served content and messaging in a meaningful way, people tend to be more likely to share this data.”
With the exponential growth of digital and big data comes a greater opportunity for travel brands to engage with customers in a more personalised way across any device. Customers book travel in a more seamless fashion when they see ads at right time with the right message.
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