This is the fourth in a four-part series on how the hospitality industry can capitalize on the growing tours and experiences marketplace.
As more travelers seek one-of-a-kind vacation experiences, they’re often looking to seamlessly book these experiences and tours along with their accommodations or flights. Targeting these travelers with the right offers at the right time requires the right technology.
There are a number of internal systems that collect information about travelers today: campaign management and marketing automation systems, hotel and airline loyalty programs and hotels’ property management and central reservation systems. However, each of these systems offers just one piece of the puzzle, and taking analytics to the next level requires having one view of the traveler across all of them. For instance, a hotel’s property management system may only see that a traveler has booked a stay, and not what their travel looks like across properties and partners. But if the hotel integrates these systems, they can figure out whether the traveler is there on business or for vacation, whether the traveler tends to take a vacation at the same time every year, and which experiences and tours they’ve booked in the past. Using that information, hotels can build a profile of each traveler and use artificial intelligence to select offers for tours and experiences that appeal to the traveler’s individual tastes – and deliver them at just the right time.
Additionally, hotels and airlines use pricing and merchandising systems to actually serve up the offers at the price the traveler is willing to pay and package these offers with partner offers. Reducing friction is key, as travelers will pay a premium for services that make their booking and travel as painless as possible. For instance, on airline vacation sites, travelers can book a flight, hotel, rental car and tour in one spot, with every offer coming from that airline and its partners. Another approach is the Airbnb model, which focuses less on Airbnb as a service provider and more on making it easy to find accommodations, experiences and reviews in one place. Building a platform that allows travelers to access the best offerings from a network of partners will encourage them to start their search on the platform – which will, in turn, increase the likelihood that they book there too.
Ultimately, making the decision to book requires trust: The traveler is trusting that he’ll have a good experience. Engaging with travelers through Twitter or Instagram before they book a trip, and including reviews for your tours and experiences on your site, are great ways to build trust and encourage them to book with you. This, combined with delivering personalized messages in the right channel at the right time, will increase long-term brand loyalty.