Why Thanksgiving Is the Perfect Time to Drive Travelers Back for Seconds

November 09, 2016

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Which means so, too, is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. While AAA hasn’t yet released its annual Thanksgiving travel forecast for 2016, last year nearly 42 million Americans hit the road and over 3.6 million took flight as they journeyed 50 miles or more away from home.

Imagine the millions of data points these travelers left along their way as they researched, planned and booked travel across multiple devices, an increasing trend among US consumers. In a recent Signal study, over two thirds of respondents – and nearly three quarters of Millennials, specifically– report regularly using more than one device for planning and booking trips.

Now, imagine what marketers could do with all of that rich customer data if they were able to tie it all together into a long-lasting, people-based marketing asset.

From login registration on travel websites and apps, to purchase history, to loyalty program data, travel brands are equipped with tons of first-party data. By being able to recognize travelers as they move across screens and unify their most valuable data into persistent customer data sets, marketers can get a holistic picture of the customer, past and present. This empowers brands to create contextually relevant, 1:1 experiences that build brand affinity along the path to purchase – and, ultimately, lead to another buyer journey.

Don’t come late to the table this Thanksgiving. Take a cue from what our latest research reveals about today’s travel consumers and prepare to make the most out of your first-party data this busy travel season.

Get personal.

Nearly 40% of travelers are frustrated by the lack of personalization when researching airlines and hotel bookings. And one-third are annoyed when they receive ads that aren’t relevant. With travelers increasingly engaging on multiple touchpoints throughout their buyer journeys, it’s critical for marketers to make sure they are sending the right message to the right customer at the right time. By connecting a brand’s travel rewards program data, for instance, with its digital identities, a marketer can identity and target a lower-tier member with an offer to upgrade to an executive suite. In turn, the marketer can cross-sell top-tier members, who already receive that perk for free, with in-room spa services or entertainment packages.

Make travel easier.

Remember, the consumer journey doesn’t end once the trip is booked. Half of travelers use two devices while traveling, and one-quarter use three or more. With cross-device identity resolution, travel brands can maintain an ongoing dialogue with their customers and be there when travelers hit a bump on the road. Picture the inevitable flight delays, overcrowded terminals and frustrated travelers who must wait it out. Instead of sending these customers another sales message, brands can deliver real-time messages letting them know how they are working to solve their problems. Making people’s lives easier through thoughtful and valuable interactions goes a long way toward building brand loyalty.

Keep in touch.

More than 40% of travelers are inspired to think about their next trip after seeing a travel ad, and more than one-quarter are enticed by emails from travel suppliers. Once Thanksgiving is over, there is another holiday just around the corner. Marketers can tap into their rich customer profile data to re-engage recent or lapsed customers with relevant and timely messages tailored to their specific interests and behaviors.

 

Consumers have more options than ever when it comes to planning and booking their travels. And the pressure is mounting for travel brands to recognize and relate to their customers with more personalized and consistent experiences across screens – or else their customers may hit the road. By leveraging their first-party data for addressable marketing, travel marketers can create superior, meaningful interactions that guide travelers through one journey and on to the next.

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Kathy Menis

Kathy is an expert in technology marketing, with 20 years of experience creating and leading strategic, results-driven marketing programs. As SVP of Marketing at Signal, she oversees all marketing initiatives, including the company’s brand, product marketing, and go-to-market strategy.

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