The role of marketing technology in travel is robust, but so are the challenges that come with marketing technology. The trend is toward greater spend, increased adoption, and positive business outcomes. And the engine that will drive that trend is greater investment, deeper-bench teams and skill sets, and an openness to working with consumers to ensure that martech creates only the most relevant and meaningful experiences, before, during, and after every trip.

As a part of our latest report, The State of Marketing Technology in Travel 2019, a proprietary Skift survey opens vistas onto the state of marketing technology (martech) solutions in the travel industry in 2019. While 72 percent of Skift’s respondents said martech is critical to their competitive edge, significant attention is still required to bring the technology at work into its true and central role. The excerpt below shows part of the results of our survey work.

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Travel Martech Survey: Companies Define Roles, Outcomes, and Next Steps
Across industries, martech adoption is on the rise. In a recent Gartner evaluation of martech trends, the uptick in deployment by marketing teams from 2016 to 2018 increased in categories such as personalization applications, A/B testing, and social-media advertising by 21–28 percentage points. Engaging with martech solutions, as organizations in that survey stated it, has been marked by positive outcomes: from healthcare to financial services industries, more than 50% of respondents said their marketing technology stack is proving effective at meeting business objectives. In the travel sector, the outcomes are even rosier: 86% said martech solutions are driving marketing and business success.

In late 2018, Skift surveyed travel leaders and the results of this research illustrate an industry working diligently to incorporate martech solutions, even as the efforts are met by challenges around building deep benches — i.e. bringing aboard the skillsets that facilitate martech success — and achieving the deep insights that stem from measuring and analyzing martech campaign data.

1. TRAVEL STAKEHOLDERS SAY MARTECH IS CRITICAL: In the survey, 72% of Skift’s respondents said martech is critical to their competitive edge. There is little question that the technology will be embedded in travel’s future. However, as the subsequent findings show, exactly how and at what pace, remain factors of consideration industry-wide.

Exhibit 4: Martech’s Role in Company Success

Source: Skift Research

2. TRAVEL BUSINESSES ARE STILL SEEKING MARTECH SKILL SETS: As shown in the chart below, by weighted average across a 1–5 ranking of agreement (1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree), the majority of Skift’s respondents said martech is still an emerging skill set (the level of agreement ranked 3.6 out of 5) and they also said that martech is harder to deploy and implement than they first anticipated (rank: 3.3 out of 5). This means the martech space is marked by dedication to deployment, but also by a consciousness of needed education — which stakeholders will speak to later in this report as well — and also the need for patience with the learning curves that come with the technology in play.

Exhibit 5: Martech Challenges for Travel Companies

Source: Skift Research

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This is the latest in a series of research reports, analyst sessions, and data sheets aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

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