Travelers love having choices and will gravitate toward travel brands that give them options. But they’ll be most loyal to the travel brand that consistently presents them with the options that are best for them. Relevant, personalized and curated. According to a recent study by Accenture, 67% of travelers want brands to use their historical travel data to help them make better travel decisions, and 75% are more likely to buy from brands if they are recognized, remembered, and receive relevant recommendations based on their travel purchase history.
Not Just More Options, But the Right Options
Simply having the widest array of inventory isn’t enough – that’s what Google is for. Travel brands that want to inspire true loyalty will lean into the curation and personalization aspects of the travel offering, providing customers with choices that are tailored to their specific interests and informed by previous interactions with your brand.
For example, if your hotel brand were to consistently present a guest with an array of inventory curated to her interests, chances are that guest will turn to your brand for more and more of her travel needs. In other words, if you help her find something unique, relevant and “just for her” needs, you’ll earn her respect – and a much bigger share of her travel spend.
Partner with the Right Supplier Network
The first step to curating and personalizing inventory is having access to a selection of high-margin travel products and services that you can package and sell. This, of course, allows you to offer your own core product or service. However, to capture and keep loyal customers you also need to be able to directly sell – at a minimum – flights, hotels, cars, activities, or insurance (ideally at negotiated rates to maintain your profit margin). But trying to partner with hundreds or even dozens of individual suppliers is both inefficient and extremely resource-intensive. The good news is you can turn to aggregators and tech platforms – like Switchfly’s – that give you immediate access to a vast array of travel inventory at direct rates. The result? You can offer a much wider selection of relevant options to your customers – and with higher yields as well.
Embrace Data – Especially Loyalty Data
In order to provide curated and personalized offerings, you need insights into your customers’ behaviors and preferences – and that comes from data. Loyalty program data is critical for understanding the customer and driving program strategies; loyalty program members are incentivized to provide personal data to join a program and re-supply their member information during travel booking to earn points or other types of rewards.
But even without any prior booking data or personally identifiable information, as a travel brand you’ll already know plenty about your customers, for example:
- You know that someone who books four flights together with two adjoining hotel rooms is probably a family going on vacation.
- You know that visitors to your travel website located in Chicago will search for tropical destinations when they’re browsing in January.
- You know what your popular products are based on past bookings, the destination, length of trip, number of days in advance, and any other explicit input from the search request.
This type of data allows you to curate a selection of relevant travel inventory even if the customer hasn’t supplied any personal information – but only if you have the technological capability to capture the data and tailor the offer.
Software Solutions that Connect Intelligently
Connecting customer data – from many sources including loyalty programs, online searches and transactions - with real-time rates and availability from multiple sources is how travel brands can provide a better customer experience and build long term loyalty. Tailoring, bundling and personalizing offers in this way allows you to streamline your booking process and increase conversions in your direct channels.
But to achieve this, you need the right platform and partner that can provide robust curation, sorting, filtering, and merchandising tools to give your customers what they want and expect. In other words, you can build greater loyalty through personalization and curation by presenting the right selection of travel inventory to the right customer, at the right time.
And when you can do that, they’ll reward you with loyalty and a bigger share of their travel wallet.
Switchfly can give your travel brand access to the technology platform it needs to build true loyalty. Learn more about our loyalty and packaging solutions here.