Travel Industry Consumer Trends 2019

The travel industry has recently seen unprecedented growth driven by a stronger economy and higher consumer purchasing power. From 2009 to 2017, US gross bookings for hotels grew from $116 billion to $185 billion and airline revenue increased from $155 billion to $222 billion.  Other sectors benefited as well such as cruises and ground transportation.

travel marketing 2019In the midst of this growth, digital transformation has also impacted the travel industry, both in digital tech and digital channels on which consumers can research and book travel plans.  Consumers have more channels at their fingers on which to research and more options when they decide to book their travel.

travel marketing 2019

Take a look at the statistics below on how consumers shop for travel:

  • 57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)
  • If a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience based on personal preferences or past behavior, 36% would be likely to pay more for their services. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)
  • com found that 80% of customers prefer to self-serve in order to get the information that they need. (TechRadar, 2018)
  • Most travel categories generate more than one-third of their bookings on mobile devices, with the highest bookings occurring in the “Car” and “Hotel” categories. When it comes to the highest desktop usage, “Rail” was the most popular, with 86% of bookings taking place on marketing 2019
  • More than 60% of U.S. travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)
  • According to a study by American Express, 83% of Millennials said they would let travel brands track their digital patterns if this would provide them with a more personalized experience. In addition, 85% of respondents of all ages thought that customized itineraries were much more desirable than general, mass-market offerings.
  • Nielsen research found that travelers spent an average of 53 days visiting 28 different websites over a period of 76 online sessions, with more than 50% of travelers checking social media for travel tips. Over the next 10 years, travel industry experts predict that the digital travel space worldwide will expand at an annual rate of 3.8% to reach $11.4 trillion.
  • Loyalty among travelers is no longer guaranteed. Only 9% of U.S. travelers “always” know which brand they want to book with prior to researching. Over two-thirds of U.S. elite hotel loyalty program members would pick a different hotel for a better price, and two-thirds of elite U.S. air loyalty program members would pick a different airline for a better price/schedule/route. (Think with Google)
  • Travel with experiences at its core was one of 2018’s major travel trends but 2019 will take it even further, says Almost two thirds of travelers (60%) value experiences higher than material possessions, now which will mean 2019 will see travelers packing in many different and authentic experiences.

Personalize the Travel Customer Experience

The customer experience is clearly important to consumers, both in the travel industry and across verticals.  Providing an exceptional experience across the full customer journey is going to be paramount for travel brands to sustain competitive differentiation and compete in a crowded industry.

Delivering individualized customer engagement is perhaps one of the most important strategies brands must master in order to stay competitive. Consumers will take action, either positive or negative, based on the types of experiences brands deliver. Over sixty percent of consumers have stated they will switch brands if they aren’t treated like an individual and eighty-six percent are willing to pay more for a great experience. Furthermore, seventy-three percent of buyers have pointed to customer experience as a highly important factor in making a purchase decision. (eConsultancy)

Deliver Better Customer Experiences with Better Customer Data

Successful customer experience strategies are dependent on establishing a 360-degree, holistic customer view in order to deliver the most relevant messages. With more digital channels and more devices on which consumers interact with brands, there is certainly no shortage of data. However, the data management space can be confusing as marketers grapple with making sense of this data. Insufficient data analysis, poor data integration capabilities and the ability to access the right customer data are often cited as major barriers to developing a cohesive customer view.

Customer data platforms have recently gained massive interest due to their agile nature in being able to quickly integrate numerous data points to create a unified and persistent customer ID.  Data management systems are not new, however previous solutions were cumbersome and often required a massive undertaking by IT of both time and resources.  A customer data platform on the other hand offers speed, nimbleness and is owned and operated by marketers.

Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences with Personalized Journey Management

According to McKinsey, when a customer journey is done right, customer satisfaction jumps by 20%, revenue improves by 15%, and the cost of serving customers lowers by 20%.  However, many organizations use several systems to engage with consumers across different channels within the customer journey. These systems are often managed separately, and the outcome is siloed data and an inconsistent customer view.

Connecting these data points is critical in order to design a well-executed and dynamic journey. A customer data platform solves these challenges by stitching data points together to create a single customer view in one integrated system.  The V12 CDP offers robust journey management capabilities combined with real-time analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) so brands can personalize offerings, design experiences, monitor customers and optimize performance.

Within the V12 Customer Data Platform, marketers can quickly uncover specific customer segments in order to predict and execute a full range of customer journeys. While many brands are very familiar with touchpoints such as welcome emails, order confirmations, or abandoned cart notifications, uncovering opportunities to engage with consumers across other journey touchpoints is key to increasing conversions and boosting retention. For example, marketers can create real-time journeys to target in-market consumers using V12’s purchase intent database.

Customer Journey diagram

Mobile First Experiences

Today’s travelers want to have personalized engagements across their journey, but they are also looking for mobile first enabled experiences. In research by SITA:

  • 97% of all airline passengers bring a mobile device when traveling.
  • 72% of passengers are willing to share personal and geolocation data with travel providers, so long as they clearly understand the value they receive in exchange. Just 29% are willing to share this data for commercial purposes alone.

Travel apps and mobile optimized websites are important but are now table stakes and travelers are looking for more advanced mobile experiences. For example, according to a report by Skift, “Take Google Trips, which uses mobile location data, its vast database of reviews, and past customer data on searches and interests to suggest places to visit that are off-the-beaten path. Another good example is American Airlines, which recently partnered with food delivery company Grab to integrate mobile ordering at airport gates within the airline’s branded app.”

Travel brands are increasingly investing in mobile technology to better compete and provide the experiences essential to gaining new marketshare.

As consumers and technology alike continue to evolve, travel brands must adjust their investments in mission-critical techniques to capture the attention of new customers and the loyalty of their current customer base.

Learn more about V12’s end-to-end customer acquisition packages for the travel industry – or click below to request more information.

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