A Case Study on Personalization, as Told by a Millennial
For me, there really is no greater feeling than traveling. As a self-proclaimed wanderluster, something awakens within me every time I find myself on the road. And this year in particular, I’ve done a lot of traveling. With four weddings, weekend getaways, work trips and a special Iceland retreat, I often hear my colleagues jokingly say, “where are you going this weekend?”
The thing about traveling is that, while I love adventure and spontaneity, I like familiarity and comfort. And with each trip, a series of brands accompany my journey. From my skincare products to the brands I select for air travel, lodging and car rentals, I carefully choose each one based on my prior experiences, my friend’s stories or a perfectly timed ad capturing my attention.
I carefully choose each one based on my prior experiences, my friend’s stories or a perfectly timed ad capturing my attention.
With the profound amount of data collection platforms and services offered, every brand I interact with has the unique ability to watch my story with their brand as I choose to write it. As brands begin to piece my story together, they’ll be able to serve exceptional, rave-worthy experiences uniquely customized to even my most subtle preferences.
Each and every single activity paints a picture of who I am and my preferences along the way.
As I reflect on my recent trip to Iceland, it was my first time taking WOW Air. On the surface, they probably didn’t capture much about me, but let’s review what they know for sure:
- I’m a 29-year-old male living in Cleveland, Ohio
- I booked the itinerary with another person, who is also a 29-year-old male from Ohio
- We paid extra to sit next to each other
- We paid extra for one checked bag each
- We booked our flight for one week
- We’re both leaving and returning on a Sunday
- We did not order anything extra on the flight when asked for drinks/food
This might not seem like much, but it begins to start a profile of who I am. Booking with another person and paying extra to sit next to them might indicate that I like to travel with others (perhaps a spouse, significant other, family member or friend). Or, it might indicate that I don’t like flying alone. The fact that I didn’t order any food might indicate I didn’t find anything appealing, or maybe (because it was a redeye), that I wanted to sleep the entire flight.
Depending on how good their tech monitoring is onboard, they also might be able to tell I used their USB port the entire time to charge my device. While they didn’t have Wi-Fi, if they had they could have tracked how I spent my time browsing during the flight to tie it back to my profile. Each and every single activity paints a picture of who I am and my preferences along the way.
5 Tips For Starting Your Data Strategy In The Travel Industry
The point of having a data strategy is to help achieve a larger corporate goal – increased profits, stronger customer satisfaction, stronger personalization in digital interactions or a better customer experience to name a few. As you think about your data strategy, here are five quick tips to keep in mind:
- Identify Your Single Source of Truth: Before you can even begin, you have to determine where you’re going to store all of your data. This should become your single source of truth. With multiple datasets coming in from all over, you have to have a centralized location where all pieces of data can flow into for easy storage and accessibility.
- Look at Your Customer Touchpoints: When traveling with WOW Air on my Iceland trip, he had a lot of touchpoints. My journey began by reading an article that they were offering a discount out of Cleveland from news source. Then he navigated to their website and browsed dates. As he entered my contact information, he started to get newsletters with pricing updates. As he got closer to my trip, he checked flight status from my mobile device. Once arriving at the airport, he interacted with their gate agents and flight attendants. Each interaction gives them a better opportunity to collect more data and understand my preferences just a little bit better, but only if they have a way to centrally store it.
- Segment and Analyze Your Data: The reason you’re collecting all this data is do something with it. Ideally, you’ll start to uncover new tidbits of information along the way. You might uncover that, based on my browsing history, I’m always searching for weekend trips under $500 out of Cleveland. You may even peg me as an explorer, since I tend to leave my destination city blank in hopes to uncovering outstanding flight deals. The idea is to uncover trends by taking a deeper dive into data to uncover deeper patterns and use that to give me a stronger, more personalized experience.
- Willingness To Execute New Ideas: Even with data insights, you have to be willing to execute your ideas. You can begin with small pilots to test out your theories to see if your insights are worth scaling. It’s so easy to sit on a mound of data and never do anything with it, instead of trying new ideas. In many ways, what you uncover not only helps create a personalized experience, but also allows for stronger product innovation.
- Be Customer Obsessed: Unlike ever before, customers have a lot of choices when it comes to their travel needs. With the ability to quickly search for their exact needs online and find them instantly, brands need to think about the experience they’re giving customers. How complex is it to book a flight? Once he get to the airport is it difficult to find my ticket? Is the gate agent happy? Does the flight attendant seem annoyed when he ask for something? When it comes to travel, there are so many hiccups that can occur, so every consistent moment gives me a feeling of comfort. By being customer obsessed, you’re going to win.
And this is just the beginning. As you begin to develop your holistic data strategy, think about what you’re trying to accomplish and set a plan in place to in order to get there. Your data is key to your competitive advantage. For more information on how to put together your data strategy, please reach out to us.