Merchandising experiential moments for travelers

With the recession a distant memory, both leisure and business travelers are opening their wallets and driving revenues in the travel sector to new heights. While this is generally good news for travel suppliers, the growth in spending is accompanied by an increase in competition as brands have expanded and new entrants joined the market. Moreover, today’s travelers are more discerning than ever and not surprisingly, their brand affection and loyalty is waning as they exhibit a greater willingness to switch.

To keep their allegiance, consumers insist that your brand understands their travel needs, can interact in real-time regardless of channel, and that you use their data wisely to make their experiences and offers more meaningful and relevant. In addition to demands for greater personalization, consumers are craving more authentic and exclusive travel experiences.

Travelers today seek out transformational experiences—ones that inspire or change them, that are uniquely tailored and relevant to their needs. Travel companies have embraced this trend as evidenced by Starwood’s “Moments” program (a VIP event auction), Expedia’s “Find yours” campaign and Princess’ “Come Back New” ads targeted to travelers seeking enriching and cultural experiences.

According to Carolyn Corda, Epsilon’s Vice President of Industry Strategy, Travel & Hospitality, “Companies that are winning in this new environment are employing more robust offer design and communication strategies. They are delivering value in an authentic way by creating one-of-a-kind experiential moments throughout the trip cycle that appeal to consumers’ needs for convenience and control, and tap into their desire for exclusive activities that confer bragging rights they can share on Facebook or
Instagram.” With this approach, leading brands are nurturing customer relationships, engendering loyalty and increasing their bottom line.

Our industry gurus reveal the strategies and tactics that will inspire you to bring your consumers' travel dreams to life.