As we adapt to the new reality, destinations need to stimulate and capture the little demand that currently exists, and be ready to capitalize on pent up demand as things return to “new normal.”
Messages and promotions will, therefore, need to be relevant, given the behavior that specific consumers have developed during the pandemic. Has a traveler flown yet? Stayed in a hotel yet? Left their home state yet? Are they nervous to do so? What are their biggest concerns?
Despite consumers saying that they are concerned about the privacy of their personal data, there is plenty of evidence that they are very willing to trade personal information for benefits or rewards — particularly monetary compensation, promotion incentives, and discounts based on their interests, and convenience and speed in using services.
Personalized marketing technology has advanced rapidly in recent year and many brands — from Amazon29 to Target30 — have used behavioral targeting and predictive modelling to take marketing to a whole new level.
Travel and tourism industry examples of data tools to help personalize marketing, target sales, and/or enhance customer service, include:
- London Heathrow Airport’s Connected Spaces project, which enables the airport to better identify, understand, and engage with customers across all touchpoints of the airport.
- Virgin Hotel’s Customer Wi-Fi and Business Intelligence platform, which allows the hotel to acquire new customers, target sales offers, build loyalty with personalized communications, create campaigns based on contextual data, understand customers better through new insights, and refine audience segmentation.
- Singapore National Research Foundation’s Virtual Singapore software, which can analyze visitor movements, with multiple applications for destination management.
- Lufthansa’s Big Data Engine, which allows the airline to offer personal services, as well as upsell to customers.
From our experience, very few cities or DMOs have the resources or know how to imitate leading retail or tourism players.
Fortunately, there are specialist tourism, ad-tech agencies, such as California’s Sojern and Adara, which offer digital travel marketing solutions and can deliver tourism marketing campaigns which microsegment audiences at scale.
Some DMOs, however, do have ambitions to become truly data-driven organizations, by building data solutions specifically for their destinations.
Bloomberg Associates has provided past advice to governments and DMOs which are seeking to understand each visitor — their behaviors and expectations — in order to provide a personalized experience.
It has been our experience that they have often struggled to progress these goals beyond individual marketing campaigns which offer personalize content. This is largely due to aversion to risk, limited technical skills, and/or legacy technology stacks.
Cities and DMOs should, therefore, approach this topic with their eyes open.
Below, we share some principles for DMOs that are thinking to build destination data platforms, which are drawn from our own consulting experience. We have also included, at Appendix 3, an infographic, which shows what an end-to-end data management platform solution could look like.