Although hotels, airlines and other tourism businesses worldwide are working closely with loyalty programmes in order to trigger loyalty and get consumers to return to the destination, hotel or tourism business. However, not even elite consumers are showing signs of being particular loyal to particular brands. This can be a problem for the tourism industry, as young consumers are increasingly becoming important in tourism and cannot be overlooked as hotel guests or travellers. For a hotel winning a booking, it is essential that hotel managers come to the conclusion that smarter approaches with regards to loyalty programmes are needed and also the use of big data in tourism needs to be leveraged for these purposes (Skift 2013).
MILLENNIALS AS HOTEL GUESTS
Interestingly, hotel guests are becoming younger as well, making it necessary to take into consideration travellers aged between 24-36 and their overall booking behaviour with regards to hotels. Younger hotel guests are not necessarily loyal to hotel brands and base their decision to book a hotel mainly on research on mobile devices. This means that hoteliers need to remember the importance of getting a message across through mobile at the right time, in order not to loose out on bookings.
Hoteliers advertising on mobile understand the importance of using mobile and other channels as tools to encourage room bookings. Travellers are influenced by ads when researching and booking hotels, and with big travel agencies being quite influential due to their large marketing budgets, hoteliers need to ensure that travellers do consider their hotel.
US TRAVELLERS AND HOTEL RESEARCH
Adara’s infographic on US leisure travellers indicates that 123,3million travellers will research hotels online in 2013 and out of those 92% will book reservations online. This is very interesting along with the fact that 33% go all hotel guests aged between 24-36 are actually outnumbering the baby boomers. 83% of the Gen Y consumers are carrying a smartphone with them and will book through the device as well. Very often, young consumer are researching a hotel outside of a loyalty programme. However, if hotel programme members who have reviewed a hotel property are actually 2.5 times more likely to take action if they see online ads. Distributing online ads is a good way for hoteliers to increase bookings, as 30% of travellers base their booking on an ad campaign. This means that travellers even from another hotel loyalty programme will make the booking based on a hotel ad campaign rather than a loyalty programme.
HOW TO TARGET TRAVELLERS
Young travellers respond best to ad campaigns, when these are personalised. This means that when a number of customer data points are being added, the ad campaign performs about 9 times better than without using customer data points. Geo targeting, previous purchase history, pat visits and recency of visits are all very important. Hoteliers should take advantage of using this data to make the ads relevant for travellers. It is also very important to ensure the content is engaging. Photos are most important with 75%, followed by 69% of written content and 48% of video.!
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