Geolocation is also used in the HotelTonight app, a mobile-only service that offers last-minute deals on hotel rooms around the world. The app uses the location of opted-in users and offers “Escape” deals within driving distance.
“I believe the promise of mobile and geolocation remains untapped in the travel space, with companies still experimenting and looking for unique ways to utilize geolocation for better on- and off-property experiences,” Accenture’s Spencer said.
We all know the days of spray and pray are over. The aforementioned Adobe study found that 53% of travel brands personalize email content, and 47% use dynamic content in email as a means of marketing one-to-one.
To create these highly individualized experiences, companies are factoring in customers’ demographics, past purchases, browsing behaviors, and the context behind their preferences, according to Spencer. Of course, segmentation remains an important method for understanding a customer base, but it has its limits.
“Profiling is not personalization,” Spencer said. “Organizations have started to look for ways to gather insights [that help] anticipate customers’ needs through an ongoing dialogue versus predicting them based on demographics. When the real promise of personalization takes hold, brand ambassadors will be able to guide customers to the hottest fashion boutique, the best farm-to-table restaurant in town, or a scenic off-the-beaten path running trail, in addition to recommending on-property amenities.”
Dynamic personalization, according to Adobe’s Hoffmann, is contextually changing and transforming the communication to travelers based on where they are, what types of activities they’ve done, or whether they are traveling alone or with family.
“Think of the creative as no longer fixed and static,” Hoffmann said. “Instead, it’s more like you’re going to get this if you’re here. If you go somewhere else, you’re going to get something else, depending on where we see you and what that looks like.”
Companies including Carnival Cruise Lines are using “guest intelligence” to provide dynamic, real-time personalization to customers. For example, a customer who begins by exploring Carnival’s Princess cruise line might be redirected to its Cunard line if that would be a better fit. The idea is to find out as much information as possible about the customer’s expectations and then match that customer to the cruise line that will provide the right experience.
We’re still in the early stages of dynamic personalization, Hoffmann pointed out. At the moment, many brands can tell whether a customer has already booked a trip, and they know to serve up content for the next stage of the travel journey, which is typically what to do once at the destination.
“There are many tourism activities out there to choose from,” Hoffmann said. “Personalization of the future is going to go deeper than just where the traveler is in the customer journey. It is going to be about knowing people’s individual attributes and knowing that customer A loves spas, while customer B would never step foot in one.”