Going from Selling to Fulfilling Needs
We know from other areas of retail that good recommendations in the right place and time are important. If a waiter knows how to recommend a good wine with your meal, wine sales and revenues increase. Travel companies and advertisers now have to collaborate to offer purchasable products and services that are relevant to each person’s trip. The key to success is to shift from the old style mass marketing of standardized offers, homogeneous messaging, and general irrelevance to the new ecosystem where context, relevance, and customization replace standardized marketing.
Every time customers interact with you via any device, travel companies have a fresh opportunity to reach them with offers tailored to their needs on a trip. In a world where competitors are only a click away, gaining customer loyalty by fulfilling customer needs is an essential business strategy. By embracing data to uncover actionable customer insights, companies can be armed with the information required to create a marketing experience tailored to each customer.
According to Bob Dufour of Fusion, a recent Forrester Research Group survey of 120 US and UK-based travel companies found that only 20% are using past search data to market their ancillary travel products to travel customers, and only 12% are using real-time tracking data.
Customers will notice and appreciate offers for ancillary products they might need or want on their trip. Marketing can, and should, go beyond the intuitive guesswork of recognizing, for instance, that a trekker might want trekking gear. It is more important than ever to look into what individual travelers are doing, where they are going and what they may need. This way you can deliver only the most desirable offers, on the right channel at the time they are most likely to purchase.
Benefits of data-driven contextual selling and marketing that focuses on the needs of the customer include:
- Increased average size of order
- Value-added relationship with customer
- Improved cross-sell and upsell opportunity
- Increased customer retention
Like a friendly concierge who only has the travelers’ needs in mind, the offering of relevant ancillaries needs to make customers feel appreciated throughout the post booking and pre-travel experience. This includes travel related merchandise and services that customers need, want and wish for about their trip.
Communications should function more like a practical checklist of relevant reminders than a sales pitch and add value to every step of the customers’ journey.
CMOs, brands, and travel companies must look to next-generation solutions to ensure that customer communications are targeted, accurate, and provide an excellent customer experience – regardless of channel.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com™, got it right when he said “If I have 2 million customers on the Web, I should have 2 million stores on the Web.”
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Bojan Jokic, Epteca’s CEO and Co-Founder will be hosting a Technology and Strategy Roundtable at the 13th annual Global Aviation Festival, on September 8th in London.