CRM in the Travel Industry: A Survey on Data Capture

Posted: March 15, 2016

Victoria Cattan – Development Manager

Why don’t two thirds of travel brands even know I’m female?

A holiday is a considered, high value lifestyle buy, with a long purchase cycle. So, a key step to keeping customers loyal whilst building towards a sale is relevant communication. Taking eCRM as a channel, one simple step towards relevant communication is the email preference centre. In short, ask people want they want to hear about, and give it to them.

I signed up to the newsletters of 40 travel brands, and collected stats on how many had implemented a preference centre, and what questions they were asking. The overall trend is very, very little! Take a look at the results below:

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So, in other words, 28% of travel companies didn’t ask me for my name, so I will henceforth and forever be ‘Hi Subscriber’. What’s more, 70% don’t know I’m a girl.

If we are talking holidays and breaks, location is pretty important really. I’m hardly going to be up for a 1 night seaside break in Cornwall if I live in Newcastle, but if I lived in Somerset the offer would be more appealing. But 40% of brands don’t know where I am based geographically, so they could never get distinctions like this right.

When it comes to what I want to do on holiday, 64% don’t even know something as simple as whether I’m looking for family breaks or couples retreats. Indeed, only one company (that was Rocco Forte Hotels, who are a great example of a simple and uncomplicated preference centre), asked how often I would like to hear from them.

Some brands do execute the preference centre beautifully, using highly visual and engaging Myers-Briggs style ‘personality quizzes’ with which to collect demographic, product, and lifestyle based data. Feel Unique and Last Minute are great examples of this.

Of course, it has not escaped me that Feelunique are not a travel brand, but the learnings we can take from their example are transferrable across industries, travel certainly being one. They link new email sign-ups to their ‘Some kind of beautiful’ survey under the guise of profiling by skin and hair types. From there, they intersperse other useful questions for segmentation including age, marital status, employment level, and myriad lifestyle questions from which they can gain insight about the customer’s motivations and values.

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This example is a highly sophisticated execution, but if you’re at the beginning of your data capture journey, a valuable and implementable starting point can be as simple as thinking of a creative and engaging way to illicit one data point from a database. Like Lee jeans, who wished everyone a ‘Happy Birthday!’, and then said ‘hey, did we get that wrong?’ with the aim of collecting the right date.

We’ll be discussing preference centres and where to start on a personalisation journey at our free masterclass on Personalisation at The Ivy this Friday 18th March. If you’d like to attend, we’d love to see you there, so please get in touch.