Skift Take

Some day, travel brands will know you better than you know yourself and you won't feel violated because of it. Today is just not that day.

More than 50% of business and leisure travelers don’t want to share their personal information with travel brands or have companies track their locations—yet some of these travelers also expect offers that are location-based and tailored to their interests and needs.

Many travelers still share the view that they’re giving up their personal information rather than sharing it with brands because they don’t see any valuable returns, evident in a marketing report from Boxever, a travel marketing company. The company surveyed more than 500 U.S. business and leisure travelers aged 18 and older, with 74% of respondents aged 35 and older. Leisure travelers also accounted for 81% of respondents.

They feel brands don’t know their interests because they’re not receiving personalized offers in their inboxes or on social media, for example.

About 56% of respondents said they don’t want to share their information with brands even though the same percentage said they want tailored offerings matching their interests. Two-thirds of respondents said they don’t want brands tracking their locations (via a mobile device) but 61% said they want offers targeted to where they are and what they’re doing.

Though beacon technology is still in its infancy and sending geo-targeted and personalized offers isn’t part of every brand’s repertoire just yet, travelers aren’t excusing any of it. But travel brands are also left strategizing how to win travelers’ trust who are reluctant to offer up any information about themselves.

“The reason that customers are largely unwilling to give brands access to their information – even the most seemingly innocuous details such as an email address – is that they don’t trust that brands will use the information to add value,” said Dave O’Flanagan, CEO of Boxever. “As a consumer, it can feel like everyone is out to get your data, but you never see anything of value in return – just spam and inbox clutter. If a travel provider’s number one goal is to collect personal information to build a marketing list, that company is going about it all wrong.”

Travelers Feel Like Strangers to Brands

More than half of the respondents indicated that three out of four travel offers they receive are irrelevant to their needs and preferences. Mirroring this reality, here are responses for what travelers said they likely do when they think a brand isn’t speaking to them directly:

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Source: Boxever

Boxever then asked what makes respondents ignore the brands they regularly engage with and trust and the results paint a picture of travelers who feel brands don’t know them well. Only 2% said they believe brands they frequently engage with know them extremely well:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 3.00.51 PM

Source: Boxever

“Instead of focusing on what’s in it for the organization, travel companies should focus on customer value,” said O’Flanagan. “For example, if asking customers for permission to track their locations, tell them it will result in receiving destination-based coupons for a new restaurant or local event. Or, if asking for access to a social profile, let them know that the data will be used to send more relevant and personalized offers. Of course, if making that promise, you need to fulfill your end of the bargain.”

O’Flanagan opines “there’s no limit to the amount of travel data available,” and said brands have opportunities to collect traveler data from multiple sources that don’t involve bombarding people for their information and still create a profile of their behavior and preferences. These data sources include websites, reservation systems, call center records, loyalty programs, travel manifests, customer-service departments and in-flight records. All footprints left behind by travelers actively demonstrating what they want that brands can intelligently use to their advantages.

Note: Boxever is a partner with Skift on sponsored research products. The study above is independent of this. 


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Tags: beacons, big data, boxever, personalization

Photo credit: Travelers at Terminal 4 at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Dan Peltier / Skift

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