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It is no big news that contemporary travelers make increasingly use of mobile devices to plan and book their trips. However there is a growing segment of travelers that uses multiple devices, and moreover switches in-between  different devices within their planning, decision making and purchasing process. This segment has been known as the “Digital Elite” traveler.  Entrance criteria for this high flying club is making use of at least 2 devices when planning and booking, and spending significantly more time in total on the devices than the average traveller. The Digital Elite traveler is on the rise, as the group has grown 60% last year alone. Therefore, digital marketing consultancy Monetate has studied this breed of travelers in detail (Monetate, 2013)

ONLINE IS NOT ENOUGH

The digital elite traveler owns at least two digital devices, and the number of people who own for instance a smartphone and a tablet has grown during the past two years from a mere 5% to 33%. In general 40% of consumers state that they plan their on one of these devices and it is no surprise that the using the internet for making travel arrangements has become mainstream (78% of global consumers use the internet). But offering an online presence is not enough for convincing the digital elite. Fuelled by their online experiences, this group has high expectations on the online experience: 84% state that a positive website experience is important or very important when booking. Thus they are picky: Monetate reports they 22 websites on average before choosing a destination. To win them over providing a website is not enough. Reaching for the digital traveler requires personalising the customer experience to be local, memorable and seamless across devices.

IT'S WORTH IT

Digital elite travelers are often bargain hunters, who download coupons for savings on airfare, hotel rooms, vacation packages or rental cars. In total 65% of people belonging to this segment actively seek voucher and discount coupons. At the same time they have no hesitation to use their mobile devices to convert booking and make payments. The number of travelers using a tablet to make a purchase has risen from 7% in 2001 to 43% in 2013, with an average value of $636  of bookings per traveler that uses a tablet. But most importantly the hyper-connected traveler spends 30% more than less connected travelers, and the gap is only expected to get wider

3 STEPS TO WIN THE DIGITAL ELITE

What do businesses need to offer to tap into this highly profitable market segment? Firstly the entire booking experience has to be straight forward across the different devices. Secondly, there needs to be a consistency across all channels. For instance visual ads need to be consistent with the feel and message of the landing page. And lastly the experience has to be relevant to the individual. Make use of data about previous behaviours and preferences, and use them to personalise the touchpoint experiences (e.g. seat preferences, favourite destinations, etc)

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