By definition, personalization is a means of meeting the customer’s needs more effectively and efficiently, making interactions faster and easier and, consequently, increasing customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat visits.
Personalization, as described above, has been repeated over-and-over in the hospitality and travel technology industries since the launch of hand-held devices. Since the knowledge of web page analytics. And since the existence of geo-fencing. All which track customers’ behaviors, whereabouts and time spent online.
Personalization, personalization, personalization. Repeat, repeat, repeat. But what does personalization really mean? And why should it be important?
There are valuable marketing strategies that get the seal of approval on personalization that are not necessarily personalization entirely. For example, email marketing to a segmented list of consumers is hyped as personalization, but how can a segment be truly personal? Changing images based on different users’ past behaviors can be placed in the personalization category, but how does that necessarily seal the deal?
While these can be valuable in marketing in a sense, they are not necessarily increasing a customer’s satisfaction or, in terms of the industry, converting looking to bookings, right?
Consider the following when you’re personalizing your brand’s communication to travelers.
Today’s Travelers are Different than Years Before
The current traveler is far different than the travelers of years before—instead of doing all the research on their own, the modern-day traveler wants some if not all research and planning done for them. Travelers are still looking to save money, but today’s travelers are also looking for a quicker way to get on with their trip. Personalization allows the travelers to receive a more bespoke itinerary without the leg work resulting in higher satisfaction for the travelers.
Personal communication is key. Recommendations on where to go, what to do and where to stay count for a huge portion of travel in the world. This communication requires a two-way exchange of information whether it’s a digital conversation or face-to-face.
Let’s take Bill who is hosting a guys’ weekend in Atlanta. There’s so much more to Bill’s guys’ trip than just booking a hotel in the expansive city. Bill wants to be close to the SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, and a few of the other guys want to golf during their stay. All of them like Southern crafted beers, too.
The brand that helps Bill discover the opportunity to do all activities in Atlanta with the least amount of effort on Bill’s part will go further in Bill’s booking process. The success of this process is like a virtual conversation where you discover Bill’s needs through questions and ideas to personalize the process for Bill.
Forget Past Behaviors
Looking at Bill, if you predicted his future travel behavior based off his guys’ weekend, then you’ll miss out on his future travel behavior which in a few years, could be family travel for his growing brood. Yes, his past travels can be helpful, but it’s not a conjecture into his future travel. Look at Bill five years from now, and he no longer wants to be in the city center of Atlanta rather a family-friendly hotel on a beach in Southern California. Focusing too much on past travel behaviors can throw the process of personalization off the mark.
Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Years ago, personalization seemed like an easy process—give as much information to travelers up front and their decisions process will quickly convert to bookings. However, streamlining the personalization process can be difficult, costly and time consuming for hotel brands.
This is where DerbySoft comes in. Using Max by DerbySoft allows each brand to provide hundreds of details about each property via an API or a spreadsheet so customers can be as informed as possible and make the best booking decision. Using Max allows booking channels to streamline the research and planning for their customers, even enabling them to tailor the information presented to the traveler based on what they know about that particular trip. This ultimately allows the traveler to more easily book and get on with their journey knowing they’ve made the best decision with your brand.