Guest Post: Evolve your digital marketing…

The travel industry has experienced its most troubled period on record for the last two years, with the global sector reporting a loss of $4.5 trillion in 2020.

From the complete collapse of all travel at the start of the pandemic to the uncertainty of its return, customer attitudes are more dubious than ever.

The absence of travel has contributed to a change in customer expectations. Moving away from financial savings and more towards confidence while traveling, people now want to know exactly what it will take to travel.

Convey confidence and security

Regaining customer trust is now critical for the travel industry.

The absence of movement during the pandemic completely changed the purpose and meaning of travel for many people, adding more value to the experience.

Chris Algar, director of owned and earned media for Sykes Holiday Cottages, put it very well when he said:

“You are selling someone the best two weeks of their year. They’re not going to make that decision quickly.

“It’s not the expectation that people go online and book right away. There are often multiple touchpoints, devices, and people involved. No trip is the same and we recognize that in our marketing.”

Given the amount of inconvenience and cancellations experienced by users, expectations underwent a big change and companies were forced to adapt.

In Babble’s recent travel survey, 64% of businesses cited customer communication as their top business focus post-Covid.

The changing landscape for businesses and customers

Travel has undergone many significant changes in the last two years. Along with recreational travel becoming more hallowed, the rise of remote work has also brought big changes to the way customers view travel.

Recognizing patterns in repeat travel for meetings and office visits, travel companies and hotels have begun offering discounted subscriptions in an attempt to retain their customer base.

“People walked away from their offices. Instead of working and living in New York, you work in New York and live in Austin or Miami,” said former Citizen M business director Lennert De Jong.

“It’s not like you go to a new city and go to Booking.com to find a new place to stay. You’re doing the same thing, every time.

“These now common weekly, monthly or bi-monthly visits to the office and meetings have created a new generation of ‘super travelers,’” to quote de Jong.

“When we realized that, we started working on subscriptions. We give a subscription to a client who goes to London maybe every week.

“We can make a deal where you always get 10% off your hotel, guarantee a room, and offer free late checkout.”

Driving the industry’s evolution in technology and automation, the rise of simple, automated, contactless transactions began to become commonplace in various industries.

Businesses continue to do the same as more transactions go digital with QR codes and in-app check-ins now expected across the industry.

The changing data privacy landscape has also been a catalyst for the shift towards automated processes in recent years.

Witnessing the decline of third-party cookies has triggered new ways to track and analyze data that we delve into and cover what marketers need to know in Search Laboratory’s recent podcast.

The digital maturity solution

The change in the value of travel goes hand in hand with the nature of the purchases considered in the industry.

Customer journeys are often shared across multiple stakeholders, devices, and browsers, making the job of tracking users increasingly difficult.

As cookies decrease and the number of privacy regulations increases, getting closer to your audience and their behaviors is paramount.

Solving this seemingly insurmountable problem requires a business to embark on a digital maturity journey.

Many companies focus on building a cookie-based econometric model when the changing digital landscape requires a more dynamic, data-driven approach.

This is a significant step and a process that will unfold gradually over time. It’s about linking the data collected throughout the user journey and attributing it to those points to develop a picture of your audience.

Starting small and scaling up in complexity is the key to evolving your strategy. Taking sensible and manageable steps toward centralizing your data is essential to staying ahead of the competition and steering your strategy toward a more sustainable solution for the future of marketing.

The goal is to create a solution that not only attributes value throughout the entire user journey, but also dynamically values ​​that individual user based on their specific attributes and behaviors.

Instead of attributing a sale solely to a dated inquiry or brochure request, it’s about evolving your strategy into a dynamic model using multiple touchpoints to predict future success using individual user behaviors.

Once you start valuing each lead based on the person and their unique behaviors, this enhanced insight allows you to see the true value of products and their performance, naturally creating opportunities to optimize your digital marketing investments toward the most valuable products. .

Google’s Digital Maturity Benchmark Report segments the maturity journey into nascent, emerging, connected, and multi-moment categories, essentially unlocking a deeper understanding of the customer journey as they move down the curve.

The report also revealed that more than 80% of the most digitally mature brands say they are sponsored by a CEO for data-driven marketing initiatives.

Discussing the success of Sykes Cottages in recovering from the pandemic with record bookings, Algar noted: “We pride ourselves on being data-driven. Every action we take is based on research and data.”

You can learn more about how to evolve your digital marketing strategy in Search Laboratory’s new white paper. “Upper Funnel Attribution Search and Predictive Value in the Travel Industry.”

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