Experience Makers Podcast: Turning Data into Better Travel Experiences

Every travel brand is sitting on its own mountain of data, just waiting to be put to work on creating the modern, seamless experiences customers expect. Here’s how to get started, or get better.

Travel can be so many things — hopping onto a flight to a faraway place, taking a day trip to a childhood memory, or driving until you spot something new. But no matter the destination, the plan, or the way you arrive, there is one thing travel has in common for all of us — it delivers an experience.

For travel brands, experience is business. From beautiful hotel rooms and the perfect in-flight beverage to a warm greeting the minute you arrive, making a travel experience a great experience separates the good from the best.

Despite the travel’s industry knowledge of the importance of experience, travel brands are increasingly on the back foot as they adjust to the ever-changing needs of holiday consumers. The influx of data, explosion of touchpoints, and desire for Instagram-worthy customer expectations mean that hotels, airlines, and service providers need to rethink — and significantly expand — what it means to deliver a modern, inspirational experience.

The travel experts on the Adobe Experience Cloud team partner with some of the world’s top hospitality brands to create unbelievable experiences — and then push the boundaries even further.

How? It’s both art and science, with a little bit of magic. Adobe helps travel brands better understand their data, discover insights within it, and then apply brilliant creativity to deliver experiences that surprise and delight customers.

Here are three ways any travel marketer can put their data to work, today.

Start the experience sooner

It used to be the customer who initiated a travel experience. Consumers would decide where they wanted to go, choose a provider, and then initiate their trip. Today, the right application of technology and data lets marketers hyper-target the behavior of consumers. Every travel brand is sitting on data that can help them predict the behavior, preferences, and even the dislikes of customers — before they even decide to take a trip. Understanding how to use and apply this data can drive better, and even earlier, acquisition — while helping develop frictionless engagement for the customer throughout their entire travel experience.

Redefine personalization

Travel providers have always been in the experience business. And while the game has changed, it’s creating an enormous amount of opportunity to create better, more personalized relationships that can inspire long-term brand loyalty. Now, personalization can be served directly to the customer — no matter where they are or what they need.

Creating systems that put data to work by better pinpointing where a customer is in their travel journey delivers a better experience and increases opportunities to engage with a brand. For example, by effectively applying data, marketers can change the recommendations, offers, and tips based on the traveler’s location, their predicted experience — even the weather. So, as a customer arrives, they will receive suggestions for places to eat at the airport. But when they arrive at their hotel, they’re served with recommendations for local happy-hour places. In the morning, it’s what’s for brunch.

Apply data to the full experience

New Internet of Things (IoT) technology means brands can be intimately engaged with customers during all parts of travel. From connected locks to smart televisions, experiences can be created that work seamlessly together and give travel brands even more opportunities to make customers happy. For example, marketers can know when customers arrive, and offer remote check-in — even digital keys. If a customer repeatedly presses the same selection on their TV, customer service can check in to see if they’re having any issues navigating. Today, travel brands have the opportunity to deliver a positive experience with data no matter where their customer is, whether that’s online or off.

The best thing about data? It’s yours. It’s a major competitive advantage that, if marketers aren’t applying, can mean the difference between disrupting and being disrupted.

For more information and tips, listen to Adobe’s latest travel and hospitality blog below here, or visit: adobe.com/industries/travel-hospitality.