Last updated: 04:49 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

Report: How to Market to Tomorrow's Traveler

Travel Technology | Amadeus North America | Ryan Rudnansky | June 08, 2015

Report: How to Market to Tomorrow's Traveler

A new report commissioned by Amadeus called “Future Traveller Tribes: Building a more rewarding journey” outlines how the airline industry and beyond can market effectively to the travelers of tomorrow.

Building on a previous report, “Future Traveller Tribes 2030: Understanding tomorrow’s traveller,” the new report further examines the six “traveller tribes” and how the travel experience will change moving forward due to growing traveler data, new technologies and the expansive range of various sales channels.

The report details 10 different stages of the “trip cycle,” and how to address them from a marketing standpoint. The stages include: inspire (position the airline’s flight options and services); Shop (the personalization and discovery stage, where holography and augmented and virtual reality will make an increasing impact); book (a focus on mobile channels, store preferences and biometrics); 24-48 hours after booking (decreasing in importance, based on the increase in access to customers throughout the journey); 48-24 hours before departure (a “critical” stage where marketers should enhance the traveler journey, upgrades and offers); on way to the airport and check-in (travelers more comfortable making purchases on way to airport, a decreasing importance of physical check-in given mobile capabilities); at airport (less time needed at the airport given technology’s imprint), on trip (new phase facilitated by roaming SIMs and widespread connectivity, personalized offers delivered at “extremely relevant times”) and post-trip (an “underutilized stage” where airlines can further engage the customer and build a stronger relationship).

The increased utilization of big data analytics will also allow airlines to personalize travel bundles in real time moving forward, according to the report.

But while it’s a major advantage for airlines and travel companies to be able to communicate with the traveler 24/7, this also means that marketers run the risk of bombarding travelers—and travelers effectively tuning out—more than ever.

In this sense, it’s more important than ever for airlines to market efficiently and in a way that causes the least amount of irritation. That includes smartwatch apps only alerting the traveler with extremely time-sensitive information and using light, less intrusive vibration. That also includes service robots (and, yes, they are coming) only offering services the traveler says he or she needs.

Making purchases should continue to become easier for the traveler; at least that’s the whole idea. User interface optimization, promotions and third-party offers should be more effective. Video should spice up the booking process. Smartphones, wearables and digital wallets should make the payment process quicker. Seat upgrades will be available with the single tap of a smartwatch.

But…all of this won’t matter if airlines and travel marketers a) give travelers irrelevant offers or b) aren’t transparent when customers sign up for services.

In this regard, it will be vital to market the right way to each traveler type (or tribe), again with the goal of being more relevant and less—for the lack of a better word—annoying to the traveler.

For example, Obligation Meeters (similar to business travelers) generally are most influenced by marketers during the shopping and booking stages, according to the report. They prefer a “very high” degree of personalization, bundle offers, a medium level of contact, information over inspiration, and experiences based on productivity.

Cultural Purists, on the other hand, are more apt to be influenced as they physically come in contact with other things. They generally like to book the basics first, and then will tack on other items as they go along. And, in contrast with Obligation Meeters, they prefer a “very low” degree of personalization, a la carte offers, a low level of contact, inspiration over information, and local experiences.

FYI, there are sales channels that are more designed to inspire (the discovery stage), and there are sales channels more designed to inform (the purchase), per the report. Inspiration channels include the smartphone, the PC, the tablet and the virtual reality headset. Information channels include the smartwatch, augmented reality glasses (evolved Google Glass-like spectacles) and advanced robots.

Encompassing everything, the smartphone will be the most important digital display for the next 10 years, according to the report, and will not be replaced by the smartwatch (although the smartwatch will still have an important role in the airline industry). Augmented reality glasses should be fine as long as they are miniaturized and solve some of the privacy issues that dogged Google Glass.

Virtual reality will allow travelers to recreate past trips (the “re-experience” market will be one of the largest travel markets by 2030).  

And, for all of you robot enthusiasts out there, you’ll be happy to know that they are expected to show improvements in vision and language in the coming years, enabling them to better communicate and interact with us humans. By 2030, they will have exceeded human-like vision and be able to understand a customer’s health and emotional state, according to the report.

For the full report, written by Frost & Sullivan, click here.


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