How Brands Can Reach Travelers This Summer

To successfully reach travelers this season, brands must recognize and respect consumer data, diversify how they interact with consumers and personalize each experience.
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Summer travel plans are in full swing as Americans are itching to spend more time outdoors and away from home. The U.S. travel industry has already hit a new pandemic high of $101 billion in travel spending for the month of May - above April’s $100 billion - and we can only expect this number to increase through the summer on the heels of July 4th weekend.

Still, the uptick in travelers this season, combined with rising transportation costs due to inflation and fuel prices, are posing a challenge for brands to cut through the saturated space to not only target their customers but also increase transactions. As the industry continues to see increased online activity, understanding traveler preference and reaching consumers via the right channel has never been more important.

With online transactions crossing border lines, companies must also follow the varying privacy laws that protect consumer data. To successfully reach travelers this season, brands must recognize and respect consumer data, diversify how they interact with consumers and personalize each experience.

Sourcing and Respecting Consumer Data

Today’s technology has advanced in recent years as content management platforms now have the ability to source data, create consumer profiles and provide a personalized experience to each and every interaction. Brands that invest in this type of technology and place value in gathering knowledge about consumer preference and experience are at an advantage in today’s noisy digital world.

Online activities raise a number of new questions around consumer data privacy evidenced by new laws in five U.S. states that aim to address these issues. Data privacy remains top of mind for consumers, particularly on travel and hospitality platforms, as the sector is known for participating in data-sharing activities. Brands are ultimately responsible for being transparent with how the data will be used, and customers are more likely to return to a company’s website if they understand what data is being collected and where it will be stored. Some travel companies have found success providing incentives - like 10% off airline tickets - for customers to share their data. With these opt-in agreements to share information, the user is acknowledging that their data is being collected and the brand is obtaining the information they need to reach the right audience.

For those that are traveling overseas, the lack of  privacy laws coupled with the EU and other countries having specific legislations is creating a minefield of regulations for brands to follow. Clarity around privacy and how to manage compliance will be key for companies to deliver successful and effective marketing campaigns. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has the strictest guidelines, so travel brands reaching consumers on an international level should consider following these rules and incorporating that model across all countries.

Diversify and Personalize Experiences

Digital interactions continue to increase every season as the demand for travel rises. With the launch of new social media platforms like TikTok, brands also find themselves choosing from different channels to reach customers, but the key to success is diversifying those mediums. Brands see the most success when they use a combination of channels as consumers are constantly shifting from one app to the next in a matter of seconds. Marketers also need to keep track of consumer movement and compile this data to ensure they are reaching customers through the appropriate channels. The challenge will continue as new channels grow in popularity and companies will look to target consumers via those platforms.

Brands around the world are also competing with one another across different channels to reach travelers -  and all looking to offer the best price and service. Even if one company has the best deal, a consumer might still not respond if the experience is not personalized. The digital space is filled with distractions and made up of individuals who respond and engage with content in various ways. Companies need to recognize these differences and adapt accordingly via the right channel, messaging and experience.  

Focus on Transparency

Consumer data should not be taken for granted. Once data is secured, a company is responsible for safeguarding it and placing the user first. If travel and hospitality brands prioritize transparency about where they gather data and what they own, these companies can create a personalized experience across various channels, ultimately reaching the right audience and achieving successful results during the busy summer travel season.