Skift Take

More brands are learning how to effectively engage travelers across devices, understand the communication needs for different channels, and deliver better experiences for their customers through targeted personalization.

This post comes from Julie Hoffmann, Head of Industry Strategy & Marketing, Travel & Hospitality at Adobe. Earlier this year, Epsilon and Adobe partnered with Skift to create the 2017 Digital Transformation Report. Download the full report for free here.

“U.S. digital marketing spend will near $120 billion by 2021.” With no reduction in sight, personalization takes on a new spin as the driver for efficiency in programmatic advertising.

The model has been flipped on its head creating an even greater demand to move away from Omni-channel marketing to business as usual with 1:1 interactions at scale as the new normal. The ability to track, measure and personalize to audience segments across multiple channels and fluidly act with confidence is now the CMO’s tool of choice to eliminate media waste. It’s also become the opportunity to merge paid, owned and earned channels segments as one continuous journey and identify a customer with multiple devices as one person. The channels have taken a backseat as landscape, while the customer has moved into the forefront of focus. Track the customer and understand the channel vs. track the channel and understand the customer is alive and well in travel and hospitality.

Channel as an Attribute

The channel is now an attribute of the customer’s profile and experience. Like a google map, brands can see all the streets (channels) customers passed on the way to their destination. And appropriate guidance along the journey through personalization is possible with high impact. No longer is the need to spray and pray with hundreds of wasted impressions to provide key information.

And with this change, travel brands are creating efficiencies in their direct channels, reducing higher cost distribution of the traditional call center, while creating reductions in other digital spend like SEM (search engine marketing).

WestJet utilized the Adobe Marketing Cloud to deliver stunning visuals and tailored experiences across the entire customer journey. Where multiple connected devices created media waste for many advertisers worldwide, Adobe’s suite of integrated services is leveling the playing field with connectivity at a customer profile level.

“Campaign reports often don’t tell the whole story,” says Karim Elemam, Senior Digital Analyst at WestJet. “If someone clicks on a link for flights to Toronto but books a flight to New York, we can’t really attribute that booking to the marketing campaign. Adobe Media Optimizer and Adobe Analytics work together to give us true cross-channel data so we know how our campaigns are performing and what we can change for even better returns. We reduced the time to support search engine marketing efforts by 40 per cent, and overall costs dropped for our weekend campaigns by 14 per cent.”

Perishable Inventory creates Innovation

In the past, travel and hospitality brands have struggled with the perishable aspect of travel. It created an urgency that drove and continues to drive entire teams into immediate action. Moving inventory was the core focus of businesses far and wide as yesterday’s inventory could not be sold today. Unlike retailers without this high potential for inventory waste, travel brands live with the knowledge that annual company performance is dependent on this daily, sometimes hourly, sales performance. The spray and pray method met this need, but lacked the ability to gain loyalty, entice customers or create meaningful relationships.

Tracking customers across their journey and customizing the message with awareness of other channels enables Digital Analysts to understand what message worked in which channel and ultimately what led to a better experience through targeted personalization.

“Analyzing customer behaviors is like studying a living process—it’s constantly changing,” explains Jason Wiegand, Manager of Digital Analytics and Optimization at WestJet. “There’s tremendous value in the integrated Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions. Using a unified Adobe platform, we have the tools to capture data streams and devise strategies to share our message of service and savings across channels.”

11 Stats to power your personalization: More and more brands are figuring out how to come to the table and win as personalization becomes table stakes in travel. Here’s the barometer on how you measure up: Can you power personalized experiences at scale across all channels? Are you able to modify communications based on behavior and link offline and online segments?

  1. Spending on programmatic advertising is growing quickly, at ~20% annually, says Business Insider.
  2. Programmatic advertising will grow 31% in 2017, according to MediaPost, faster than all other digital media channels.
  3. Marketing Tech News projects programmatic spend to increase from $19bn in 2016 to $42bn in 2020. 
  4. Forrester reports that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. 
  5. According to an Infosys report, 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decision and that more than 78% of consumers will only engage offers if they have been personalized to their previous interactions with the brand. 
  6. Infosys also reports that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.
  7. A Rapt Media survey found that 63% of consumers say they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant. 
  8. Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%, report Aberdeen.
  9. The ability to segment email lists and individualize email campaign messaging are the most effective personalization tactics for 51% and 50% of marketing influencers respectively, according to Ascend2
  10. 63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly reports Marketo
  11. Skift’s Digital Transformation Survey 2016 found that only 32% of of travel executives rate their company’s personalization abilities as 4 or 5 out of 5 stars.

Read Next: Adobe’s Discover Customer Clues: Solve the Mystery of your Audience. Download the white paper.

This post comes from Julie Hoffmann, Head of Industry Strategy & Marketing, Travel & Hospitality at Adobe. Earlier this year, Epsilon and Adobe partnered with Skift to create the 2017 Digital Transformation Report. Download the full report for free here.

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Tags: adobe, Epsilon, The Digital Transformation Brief

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