Appnovation, a global digital consultancy, has revealed that the travel is more data-driven than ever and why companies should use data to be more customer-centered and to better understand travellers’ needs and desires.
In a recent Reuter Events Travel webinar, Anton Morrison, Vice President of User Experience and Design, Appnovation revealed the results of its survey, highlighting that “often personalisation fails for companies when they have led with technology. In other words, they will try to implement a personalisation platform without first defining the strategy – and where the data and content will come from to drive it. At Appnovation, we see technology as the hidden enabler of experience. We lead with the experience and the user in mind. That is where human-centered design methodologies become essential.”
During the pandemic, global digital consultancy Appnovation uncovered important insights. For one, destination marketers had to shift focus from attracting international travellers to helping residents travel locally. New touch points and new travellers also required new understanding of consumers’ thoughts and feelings.
“With data, brands are much better equipped to understand these shifts, and use their marketing tools more effectively. In short, you can’t innovate properly until you innovate on your internal processes,” stressed Anton Morrison during Reuters webinar.
Putting the human back at the centre of data analytics
Whether they are planning, booking or experiencing a vacation, today’s travellers are more cautious than ever. According to the recent consumer research done on feelings and expectations of potential tourists, Appnovation found that people are showing a desire to get back to travel. However, they are clear limits to their travel desire. For example, 41% cited a readiness to travel out of state or province, while only 19% were ready for international trips. At the same time, almost half of Americans (49%) said they are more likely to travel out of state or internationally (24%) than Canadians (32% and 14% respectively).
As a result, travel consumers are taking more time to research their plans and this is where digital tools come into force. But digital content can be deceiving according to Appnovation’s survey.
Appnovation found in fact that just 19% of travellers viewed their experience of booking platforms as “excellent”, proving that there is room for improvement. The results of a snap webinar poll indicated that the industry is taking this onboard, with more than half stating that personalized digital experiences were the biggest opportunity for travel.
When asked what are the biggest opportunities for the travel and tourism industry in the future, more than half the audience of Reuters Travel Webinar was looking to improve on personalization.
A. Embracing new technologies – 24%
B. Leveraging data to create personalized digital experiences – 52%
C. Human-centered design methodologies – 24%
As an advocate of human-centered methodologies, Appnovation’s Morrison was not surprised by the result.
Local and international experience at a similar level
Lynn Carpenter, Vice President of Marketing at Visit California confirmed that the definition of personalization was being “stretched” and “amplified”. It was no longer enough to think about right time or right place, but rather how a customer might feel about getting on a plane or walking into a hotel lobby. This, Carpenter stressed, required “a really different message”. This translates into a completely different level of personalization.
Working in partnership with Appnovation, Visit California took its website from being an inspiration portal to one that quickly became a useful resource for travellers. “It may come as a surprise,“ Carpenter stated, but in the past 12 to 18 months, the number one landing page on Visit California’s website has been the aggregation of travel and safety policies of partners.”
According to Appnovation’s Morrison, the role of the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is then not just beyond its borders, but can also play a significant role closer to home. This became clear as local travel restrictions eased during the pandemic, when people were looking for inspiration closer to home as well as relevant, up-to-the-minute information. Visit California was able to deliver value where it mattered most. Looking to the future, DMO that adopt a vibrant, outward- looking, platform-based models will be those that build strong ties at all levels -locally or internationally.