lightbulb in the centre of 6 circles with lines pointing towards it illustrating why data collaboration has become a travel marketing imperative

One key obstacle that travel and hospitality marketers face is identifying why people travel. Some travel only once a year for vacation, while others travel three times monthly for work. The people traveling for business will eventually — hopefully — also travel for vacation.

NB: This is an excerpt from an article on Digiday

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Knowing the context of why someone is booking a trip is essential to guide that consumer through their purchase path successfully. This is ultimately about returning to one-to-one marketing. The travel industry has moved away from that model because of the complexity of the technology, but the approaches are still familiar.

In a one-to-one marketing model, marketers target someone with a known reason for traveling. It could be for business, leisure or pleasure. Are they traveling out of obligation, going to a destination wedding or going somewhere to spend a lot of money? Perhaps this person makes frequent trips to the same location multiple times throughout the year to see family or friends.

This information, however, is often distributed across multiple partner data sets. The key to marketing success is to unify it so that every brand can access the same basic customer outlines and use that information to customize the experiences on their booking sites.

For example, many brands gather customer information through direct engagement via websites and social channels. These protected first-party relationships are critical — it’s consumers putting trust in the brand. As such, travel brands have access to nearly unparalleled first-party data from their customers. However, openly sharing that information with partners without any protection is impossible and violates most privacy laws and guidelines. And so, unification for these marketing teams relies on only making the necessary insights available rather than all the data in play.

It is clear that the travel industry — if it unites around a shared identifier that allows the different segments to identify the same consumer across their sites and deliver a customized experience based on the context of the travel — stands to reap significant rewards from its first-party data resources. It just needs to establish a means of fitting all the data together.

How data unification and shared IDs unlock opportunities for travel marketers

If brands segment based on either the person or the moment (instead of the two together), the experience they deliver can end up being faulty and off-putting, damaging the brand in that traveler’s eyes. While segmenting for both the person and the moment might seem like a virtually unattainable holy grail for travel marketers, the truth is that this knowledge exists and is currently accessible.

Read the full article at Digiday