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travel experience personalization

Personalization in Travel & Hospitality

The Post-Pandemic Rise in Different Experience Types and Evolving Travel Personas Spurs Companies to Dig Deeper into Personalization

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The travel & hospitality segment is ripe for personalization solutions to improve CX. Consumers want more tailored options, and travel-focused companies can use personalization to deepen and expand purchasing behaviors, increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, and provide those moments of delight during a travel experience that a customer may, in turn, share with others.

Even pre-pandemic, travelers were warm to personalization across their experiences, from receiving an on-target excursion recommendation to having a certain type of pillow on their bed at a hotel. The pandemic has caused many to reassess the type of travel that feels safe and “worth it.” This desire has heightened, resulting in a wider range of travel personas. Traveling domestically, focusing on environmentally friendly experiences, combining business and leisure (bleisure) and luxury travel are just a few of the trends that have been evolving during the pandemic.

An American Express travel survey, the Global Travel Trends Report reported that 81% of those surveyed believe personalized experiences are the most desired luxury amenity. People are willing to pay for add-ons, which lends itself well to travel & hospitality companies investing in personalization and optimization technologies to determine what these features are, and develop more targeted offerings. Efforts are also being made to create more personalized support experiences during travel, as well as pushing personalization down to the research stage, leveraging artificial intelligence to present customized travel itineraries.

At the recent Adobe Summit, there were two presentations centered on how Marriott was working to scale and deepen brand loyalty as well as provide a more “white glove” digital experience akin to the white glove service customers are used to receiving on property. How? Personalization techniques and technologies.

Marriott is working towards customer micro-segmentation to scale lifelong brand loyalty, and its Digital Experience Center of Excellence is conducting more multivariate testing and iteration to dig into the elements that affect behavior and satisfy guests.  

Even though customers want personalization, and the benefits of using personalization are numerous, for the travel segment as a whole there is a sizeable maturity gap. Julie Hoffmann, Head of Industry Strategy & Marketing – Travel & Hospitality, Adobe Systems, referred to 2021 research performed by Adobe and Incisiv that showed personalization maturity in the travel segment is still low, with only 31% of travel companies personalizing more than half of their shopper journey.

It has been difficult for companies to implement personalization at scale. Similar to other parts of the CX ecosystem, it seems the technology available is sometimes outpacing the operational ability of the companies implementing it. According to Hoffman, automation will be key to moving the needle, which makes sense with the continued labor issues the hospitality industry is facing. According to the Adobe research, reaching a high maturity level can result in an 8x-10x increase in conversion, revenue, and average order value, which make moving up the personalization maturity scale a worthy goal for travel companies looking to satisfy and retain guests as they return to travel.

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