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Travel Insights: Using Social Intelligence To Understand How and Why People Book

By Derek Franks  •  March 12, 2018

See how travel brands can build stronger connections with travelers by using data to understand their audiences

Travel Insights: Using Social Intelligence To Understand How and Why People Book

Posted by: Derek Franks on March 12, 2018

People spent a combined $1.6 trillion on global travel in 2017. It’s no secret: globetrotting is a lucrative business.

And one thing is for certain: the popularity of travel is not going to drop anytime soon. According to Deloitte, the number of global international departures increased from 600 million to 1.3 billion in the last two decades. And the trend is expected to continue to rise in 2018.

With so many people taking off for new destinations, travel brands have their work cut out for them on figuring out when, where, how and why people travel.  

If you work on a team for a travel brand, you’re constantly looking to solve the challenges about consumer’s travel habits and what drives those habits. What motivates people to travel, to choose their destinations, to decide who they book with, and how they feel towards certain brands? With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we crunched the numbers in our latest industry report:social listening insights for the travel industryto paint a picture of travelers, their thoughts and emotions toward travel brands, factors that inspire and motivate them to travel, their income and buying power and more.

Before you go over to get your free download of that report, we’ll briefly cover the importance of using better data-driven strategies for travel marketers, advertisers and researchers in order to answer these questions.We’ll also preview some key findings from our report and finally, we’ll discuss how travel brands can implement the data used in the report in their strategies.

So, how can travel brands better understand who their customers and potential customers are and what drives them to book their travel? Let’s take a look:

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Understand What Factors Drive People to Book

There are a seemingly endless number of factors influencing how and why people travel. What motivates people to book? What brands are they most favorable to? What emotional drivers influence how people travel and where they go?

By getting an accurate read on how people interact with your brand and your services, you can better align yourself with the people who you are trying to reach. For instance, knowing that people have an affinity for companies who are located somewhere nearby could give you a clue as to who your audience is and how to reach them. Our report found that airline brands resonated best with people in the region where their hubs are located. Delta, headquartered in Atlanta, drives the highest share of voice and sentiment from people in the Southeast United States.

Another great indicator might be affluence. People with higher incomes were more likely to use Expedia to book their trips than any other booking site, according to our analysis:

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These kinds of insights can help you better understand your target audiences, know your customers and potential customers’ pain points, and predict how people will behave or if they will purchase from you.

If your airline brand gets the most attention because of your quality customer experience and in-flight service, as the analysis in our report finds for one brand, you have an opportunity there waiting for you to showcase that you shouldn’t pass up.


Build Real-Time Personas For The Brand

One useful way to implement your audience research is to apply it to your target personas. Travel brands have an interesting challenge when reaching their target audiences because anyone could be a traveler, as opposed to beer drinkers, who make up a more specific segment of people who enjoy drinking beer.

But artificial intelligence is capable of sifting through the many online conversations to help you build great reports and compile your audience personas more accurately.

Here’s an example of a travel brand’s persona that is included in travel industry report:

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Building accurate audience personas using this kind of data will help you better understand your your buyer’s behaviors, demographics, interests and other vital information.


How Travel Marketers Can Use Online Consumer Data

The question that motivated our research into travel customers was: why do people do what they do when it comes to booking travel?

People have different reasons driving how and why they book their trips. There are tons of options, from the plethora of booking sites available to travelers, to booking directly with different airlines or brands they trust and are loyal to. Of course, many times the reasoning behind certain purchase paths is financial or fitting into their schedules. If American Airlines has a better deal on the flight for a specific date than United, it becomes an easier choice.  

Our research found that those drives-to-purchase are not the only ones. It’s clear people have personal preferences and are more favorable to specific brands. This is crucial to know because, at the very least, if the offer is the same, people will go with the brand they know and trust.

Sometimes, people will go with the brand they’re loyal to regardless.

Researching and collecting the online consumer data relevant to your travel brand is essential to understanding your target audiences’ interests, passions and preferences. Identifying the trends and discovering key insights about your audiences will enable your team to understand who buys, how they buy, and why. Brands in the travel industry have a loud, passionate, vocal community who provide us with unsolicited, valuable user-generated information constantly. Take this info, analyze it, and craft your message around it.

Getting to know your audience backwards and forwards, with the the help of data, will be invaluable in meeting that goal.

Topics: social listening, consumer research, social listening data, travel

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