Marketing technology continues to be a disruptive force across industries, and many different companies find themselves facing similar challenges as they adapt to its impact. In this 90 with 90, Account Director Kelsey Fielding shares takeaways from the Digital Travel Summit on how travel brands can use targeted marketing technologies to improve the consumer experience without damaging trust.
3 Moral Guidelines for Integrating Marketing Technologies
In early May, 90octane attended the Digital Travel Summit in Las Vegas to learn about the impact of technology on digital marketing in the travel industry. The conference highlighted the importance of marketing technology to enable growth, but also the need to integrate tech properly given its massive impact on the consumer experience. While this event focused on travel, its learnings can be applied across many different industries that face similar challenges adapting to the impact of rapidly evolving marketing technologies. Below are three key guidelines to help brands integrate marketing technology into their consumer experience:
Consumers, especially in travel, look to brands to guide them along the buying journey by providing information, advice on trends and inspiration. But the underlying role of many brands is to serve as an advisor, creating an experience that instills the confidence a consumer needs to make decisions. For example, Kayak’s game-changing buying guide tells consumers the likelihood that ticket prices will increase, giving them confidence that buying now is the smart choice.
Personalization is one way to be helpful, providing tailored experiences that speak directly to consumers’ travel priorities. Colleen Coulter, Travel Industry Manager at Facebook, noted that 75% of consumers will pay more for personalization because they feel it improves the overall experience.
As technology continues to permeate all elements of travelers’ lives, expectations are heightened for it to remove friction and solve tangible problems. Brands have an opportunity to build trust by demonstrating that they understand consumers’ pain points and introducing new solutions to alleviate them. For example, many travelers regard the need to check in for flights online as inconvenient and unnecessary, no matter how quick the process may be. With this in mind, Delta Airlines has developed an automatic check-in feature on its app. Brands need to explore consumer frustrations and how they can be eased with technology.
Travel brands should leverage technology to enhance the experience for consumers, but it is also important to maintain a human touch, as too much automation can cause travelers to feel isolated. Tech experts advise caution specifically regarding the role of artificial intelligence (AI); the founder of Trip Tuner, an online travel inspiration site, argued that the only way for AI to be successful in an emotionally-charged space like travel is if it is credible, trustworthy and inspirational (all very human traits). The travel industry is built on excitement and meaningful experiences, so it’s crucial that travel brands inspire consumers with stories of human connection—for examples of companies that do this well, check out marketing from Airbnb and Disney.
BONUS: HONOR THE RELATIONSHIP
Most consumers understand that their behavior is being tracked by advertisers, and many appreciate the relevant information that is served to them as a result. This exchange is crucial to building a trusting relationship with consumers, and brands must take care not to violate that trust by being intrusive, manipulating consumers or making them feel harassed. Always be transparent with consumers regarding why information is collected and how it will be used, and never take the connection for granted. A good rule of thumb is that the consumer should see how they benefit from a brand having their information, rather than regret having provided it.
Marketing and data technologies are powerful tools that can help brands optimize interactions with consumers, but adhering to best practices for implementation and usage will maximize results.
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About the Author
Kelsey is an Account Director for Globus and shares the client’s passion for travel. With 8+ years of marketing and agency experience, she has spent the last several years working abroad in both Beijing and London.