Thursday 31 May 2018

NEW FREE REPORT: Understanding the Travel Consumer

We are proud to announce the launch of a band new free report.
Understanding the Travel Consumer looks at how top travel brands are tackling the challenges of profiling, attribution and analytics to get closer to their customers.

When it comes to human behaviour, deciphering the thought process is a messy business. This is especially so when it comes to travel, as consumers switch across devices and build complex itineraries throughout extended research periods. Travel brands are left with an uphill battle to understand their customers, reach them at the right times and give them personalised products. This is why we are putting together a new report series into behavioural analytics that seeks to demystify the process behind understanding the modern traveller through the application of data and analytics.

This is the first report in this series covers attribution, profiling, and best practice in data storage and interpretation, featuring insights from:
  • Hyatt
  • Hertz
  • Expedia
  • Group
  • McKinsey & Co
  • Stena Line

Through this free report we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product.This first report in the series covers the data and analysis groundwork that travel brands need to put in place to understand their customers, including:
  • How to successfully tackle the challenge of attribution.
  • What data to gather on consumers and how to build accurate profiles from this data.
  • How to manage your data so that it is well-constructed, legally compliant, and useful to your whole organization.
  • How to present information effectively.
  • How to build a successful, data-led organization.

Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when the next free reports on improving conversion rates and dynamic, personalized pricing are released. 

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Are You Spending Too Much Marketing Your Travel Brand?

PPC, SEO, content marketing, social media, email marketing, TV ads – it’s easy to watch a travel brand’s marketing budget spiral out of control but it doesn’t have to be that way …

It’s hard to be heard in travel and for many that means spending more and more to try and reach the customer. However, innovative brands in the industry are doing things their way and not only reaching the customer for less but getting them to come back too!

HolidayPirates, a German company started out of a single travel blog, has grown to the stage of having more than 30 million Facebook fans and 20 million visits per month through the power of social media alone. “We don’t invest any money in Google ads, we don’t do TV – no traditional marketing, offline, and so on,” says David Armstrong, CEO of HolidayPirates, who will be speaking at the Eyefortravel’s Europe Summit in London this June. “We only go into social media, our own app of course, but also into messaging.”

He says their recipe for success was based around getting people’s attention on social media and then keeping it through being authentic, transparent, entertaining, relevant and trustworthy.

For HotelTonight, another brand speaking at EyeforTravel Europe that has learnt how to reach customers cost-effectively, they focused on the being relevant to their customers through data-driven operations. “We have hundreds of models running for specific markets, specific days of week, then also for specific segments of users,” said their chief technology officer Sam MacDonnell at EyeforTravel North America. “We dialled in these models to be super accurate. A 90% probability that you’re going to book the results we serve. We have been able to increase our conversion just in the last six months using this system by 15%, and not only for repeat bookers, where we have more data for how they are actually behaving, but also for first time users.”  

They have also focused on their loyalty program, launching a new in-depth rewards system that gives users immediate money-off bookings, with discounts levelling up as consumer spend more. Alongside this they have created a live-chat personal concierge service to cater to customers as they travel. Potential uses include “requests at the hotel itself, so if you want to check-in earlier, check-out later, if you want to have something waiting for you in your room,” says Amir Segall, VP of global supply, up to “local tips about the city, like ‘I want recommendations for a restaurant.” This has created “enormous lift in their engagement says Segall.

Airbnb has also taken a data led approach, using ‘machine learning at almost every step of the user experience,’ says company data scientist Theresa Johnson speaking at EyeforTravel’s Smart Travel Data Summit North America 2018. “So, when a guest comes to search for a place to stay, they are presented with tailored results to them based on our categorizations and collections, based on what we know about them and what we know about the properties, and that is improving all the time.” This has allowed the company to grow to more than 200 million guest arrivals since its founding in 2008 despite a relatively low paid media budget. The company has also announced that it is heading towards a loyalty program, trialling its ‘Superguest’ reward program this Summer.

If you want to hear from these brands and more then attend EyeforTravel’s European Summit. The Summit features many innovative brands who are finding ways to reach the consumer for less and keep them coming back for more, including:
  • Airbnb
  • HolidayPirates
  • Choice Hotels
  • HotelTonight
  • Red Carnation Hotels
  • Hostelworld
  • Rome2Rio

Join four cutting edge travel conference under one roof and change how travel is sold. Get your ticket to the EyeforTravel Europe Summit 2018 today!

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Wyndham Hotel Group, Google, Amazon, United Airlines, Accor Hotels, Skyscanner,, Marriott International, Choice Hotels and more set to convene in Las Vegas for 20th anniversary

Do you work in digital marketing, distribution, data analytics, revenue management, or travel tech?

The EyeforTravel North America Summit will be back at the Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, set to take place on Oct 18 -19 2018.

The overarching theme for this year sees a huge focus on the customer experience and the formula to own the booking: Frictionless CX + Data Driven Customer Insight + Cross Industry Partnerships = Super Charged Travel Sales. 

EyeforTravel are excited about the growth, competition and disruption in the industry and have positioned their next US flagship summit to tackle the burning issues currently facing the online travel sector.

Travel experts confirmed to take the stage include:
·         Michael Almeraris, AR/VR Head of Developer Partnerships, Google
·         Thomas Magnuson, CEO, Magnuson Hotels
·         Heather Richer, Chief Marketing Officer, RedAwning (ex-Kimpton Hotels)
·         Eliot Hamlisch, VP – Worldwide Loyalty & Partnerships, Wyndham Hotel Group
·         Eduardo Erazo, Data Scientist, Amazon
·         Del Ross, Senior Advisor, Mckinsey & Company

·         Ravi Simhambhatla, VP – Commercial Technology & Corporate Systems, United Airlines
·         Adam Hayashi, VP – Revenue Management & Business Intelligence, Accor Hotels
·         Sean Brevick, VP – Marketing and Digital Services, Marriott
·         Emmanuel Arnaud, CEO, GuesttoGuest & HomeExchange
·         Bill Ramsey, Senior Director – Mobile & Emerging Channels, Choice Hotels
·         Mamie Peers, VP – Digital Marketing, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
·         Esteban Velez, VP – Information Technology & Cyber Security, Classic Hotels & Resorts
·         Blake O’Rafferty, Head of Partnerships – Americas,
·         Kathy Halpern, VP – Marketing, Palace Resorts

The summit will tackle keynote topics such as the evolution of technology and the impact on distribution & marketing, managing market share and consolidating with the right partners, the life-time value metric in travel, the impact of GDPR on your strategy, the changing face of P2P travel and much more - this is just the start! In addition, the afternoon of both days will be split into three dedicated conference tracks: Marketing, Commercial and Innovation.
Other leading brands confirmed to speak include Allegiant Air, Mozio, Winding Tree, Air Canada Vacations, Jet Blue Technology Ventures, Hopper, Hotwire, MGM Resorts and more.

EyeforTravel North America is truly the only place you will be able to hear from and meet with the cream of the crop in travel, and more importantly to walk away with insights you can action as soon as you get back to the office.

Contact the team directly at –  
EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.
Renu Kannu
EyeForTravel | Project and Research Director (+ 44 20 7375 7197 |

Ancillaries in Travel Are Being Transformed and You Need to Know About It

Ancillaries are the powerhouse growing travel brand revenues around the world and the industry has only just got started.

Technology is powering a massive growth in partnerships across the travel industry as brands race to enhance their offering to customers and also their bottom lines. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), AI-powered personalization and streamlined booking processes are helping travel brands to cross-sell a growing amount of inventory and make the customer’s journey easier.

Ancillary sales are expanding to cover more and more inventory. From trains, ridesharing and buses, to dining, to an exploding tours and activities sector that has drawn the attention of all the largest online travel players. In TripAdvisor’s latest set of results from Q1 2018, its non-hotel revenues soared 36% and it is banking on tours and activities to push up results further this year. Clearly their strategy of focusing on the area after acquiring Viator, who are speaking at Eyefortravel’s Europe Summit in London this June, is beginning to pay off and indicates the growing importance of new revenue streams.

Elsewhere, rail travel is becoming one of the biggest focuses in travel, with digital giants like Expedia jumping in with their acquisition of SilverRail Technologies, Skyscanner launching a train booking feature for mobiles (both brands are speaking at EyeforTravel Europe), and major existing players stepping up their online presence.

As Cameron Jones, chief commercial officer at SilverRail, who will be speaking in London, puts it: “Rail’s time is now. Expedia, Rail Europe, Rome2Rio, Trainline, GoEuro and more are raising the profile and relevance of rail as a key product line in a comprehensive retailing strategy. Rail gives travellers greater choice and flexibility when trip planning and, being a high frequency product, drives traffic and loyalty enabling retailers to lower their customer acquisition costs. And Skyscanner/Ctrip’s recent move into rail in Europe highlights the momentum.”

The growing realm of potential partnerships means that travel brands can cater to more aspects of the customer’s journey, even if they are only a small player – both generating more revenues and greater customer satisfaction.

If you would like to find out more about the expanding role of partnerships across the industry, there’s only one place to go – the EyeforTravel Europe Summit 2018.

The Summit features a host of speakers from across the spectrum who can help to transform the ancillaries you sell from a variety of diverse sectors, such as tours and activities, ride sharing, transportation. These include
  • Viator
  • The Trainline
  • Blablacar
  • Eatwith
  • Withlocals
  • SilverRail Technologies
  • Hertz
  • Amadeus
  • routeRank
  • Eurail
  • Rail Europe
  • Insight Guides
  • Urban Adventures
  • TripCreator
  • Livn

Join four cutting edge travel conference under one roof and change how travel is sold. Get your ticket to the EyeforTravel Europe Summit 2018 today!

Monday 7 May 2018

The four moments travel brands must connect with their mobile customers

Huge global smartphone adoption across the globe presents a massive opportunity for travel brands to reach consumers but where should they be focusing their efforts to maximise returns?

EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect’s new Driving Intelligent, Interconnected Mobile Engagement Throughout the Travel Journey report, which is free to download now, identifies the four key areas where travel brands need to target mobile consumers:

1. Awareness
It is becoming increasingly critical to create inspiring content that will work on mobile as consumers are most likely to be using their mobile devices early on in travel research. As more detailed, late-stage research is undertaken, most consumers in major markets move over to larger screens on desktops and laptops. Consumers therefore need to be engaged with content and made aware of the travel options and offers available. This is the first stage of influencing the buyer journey and a key mobile phase.

2. Purchase decision
Despite desktops and laptops being the main booking devices for travel purchases generally, some markets such as China are mobile-first throughout, and overall it is increasingly an omnichannel experience. Mobile is also growing globally. J.D. Power found that 25% of hotel online reservations were made using mobile in 2017, up from 14% in 2014. EyeforTravel’s 2018 research similarly finds that the median share of mobile bookings reported by travel brands is between 10% to 19%, with 58% reporting more than 10% of bookings come through mobile. Customers now expect a relatively seamless transition and look for consistency across platforms as they move down the purchase funnel.

This purchase funnel is broadening, with new channels and communication services growing. Although mobile bookings are still largely through web browsers, leading to 45% of travel brands focusing on the mobile web compared to the 22.5% focusing on apps, brands will need to shift and widen their focus. For the modern traveler, alongside established SMS, web and email channels, social media services, such as WeChat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, are increasingly important. Not only can they now allow bookings but they are also great touch points to help the consumer get more information for their purchase journey and help them feel safe about their purchase. However, just 29% of travel brands currently have instant messaging capabilities and this will need to increase as consumer tastes change and travel brands chase low-cost distribution routes.

Improving a brand’s ability to use these emerging mobile channels can also help to address the main issues that exist with mobile booking for consumers. Key among these is security. The channels mentioned above can be used for two-factor authentication (2FA), sending security codes to approve payment, access secure pages and complete bookings. This helps drive consumer confidence in making online purchases and therefore mobile conversion rates, which are far lower in the travel industry than for desktop and laptop visitors.

3. Throughout the trip itself
Being able to reach consumers with key information as and when they need it is becoming a core competency for travel brands that want to drive a relationship and build loyalty with their customer. Among US consumers, 87% report that they find travel notifications useful and travel brands that can reach a traveler in a moment of crisis can win over a consumer for life.

Becoming the trusted source of information to the consumer as they travel is a way to wrest control of the traveler and their journey from third parties and reposition the travel brand at the core of the journey. Customer satisfaction rates are higher when they have been actively reached out to by a travel brand with relevant messaging or if they have downloaded a brand’s app.

Travel brands and technology players need to provide channels that are truly global and not just accessible in the home country or continent of the consumer. The channel has to have the presence to reach the traveler throughout their journey, especially when disruptions happen, such as a delay or change in flight.

4. Post travel
It is extremely important to get the voice of the traveler as feedback. One single bad review can influence future purchase decisions, and travel brands need to use technologies to interact and strike when they happen. Emotions run very high most recent to a bad experience and if you are able to address that then you can calm a situation and possibly turn a negative into a positive. Encourage positive reviews and social interaction post-travel to not only influence other buyers, but to also engender brand loyalty with your traveler.

Among travel brands that had automated messaging capabilities, 47% reported that they sent out satisfaction questionnaires and 37% sent out post-stay marketing. This shows that travel brands are awakening to the potential of using mobile in the post-travel period but they still have a long way to go to make the most out of this time.

Get ahead of the competition now and download this completely free mobile market report to access:

  • A major industry survey of all travel verticals uncovering their mobile strategies and technology deployments.
  • Analysis of how consumers are using the mobile channel.
  • Projections for mobile’s growth across travel.
  • Where you should be investing to reach the mobile consumer.
  • How you can ensure mobile-focused communications are effective.
  • An overview of how you should be measuring and overseeing an m-commerce operation.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Search and social dominate travel brands’ mobile marketing

Search engine and social marketing are the priority spending categories for 67% of travel brands’ mobile marketing budgets finds new research.

New research from EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect, which surveyed nearly 300 travel industry professionals on the topic of mobile has found that search and social have a stranglehold over mobile marketing, likely reflecting the dominance of Google and Facebook in the digital marketing sphere.

When respondents were asked what is the largest component of their mobile marketing budgets, 35% selected search and 32% social, according to EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect’s new Driving Intelligent, Interconnected Mobile Engagement Throughout the Travel Journey report, which is free to download now.

Search spending was even higher among hospitality and accommodation brands, where it was the most important category for 45.3% of brands. This preponderance is a result of the way in which consumers search for hotels, with mobile still a last-minute channel when it comes to booking and at that stage consumers are looking mainly for specific locations, largely through search engines. However, it may also indicate an over-focus on the latter stages of consumers booking journey and an acquisition-driven strategy that doesn’t fully take into account the role of mobile in inspiration and initial research phases.

One area where travel brands might look to expand spending and make the most of mobile’s role at the inspiration stage is video marketing, which was rated as most important in just 4.4% of budgets.

The small role of video marketing currently would seem to be a major missed opportunity for travel brands given the growth of mobile video consumption in recent years. A multi-country study by AOL estimated that 57% of consumers watch videos through their mobile every day and Zenith estimated that there was 20% growth in global video consumption in 2017.

Get ahead of the competition now and download this completely free mobile market report to access:
  • A major industry survey of all travel verticals uncovering their mobile strategies and technology deployments.
  • Analysis of how consumers are using the mobile channel.
  • Projections for mobile’s growth across travel.
  • Where you should be investing to reach the mobile consumer.
  • How you can ensure mobile-focused communications are effective.
  • An overview of how you should be measuring and overseeing an m-commerce operation.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Three travel mobile marketing trends in 2018

How will mobile change the travel industry in 2018? A new mobile market report investigates.

Mobile is a growth category for the travel industry as established markets experience rising usage and emerging markets add millions of consumers who look and book with their smartphones. It is even more vital tool for in-trip engagement as the majority of travelers globally report that they use their smartphone as their main conduit for information and communications as they travel.  It is therefore an area that travel brands must address in 2018 in order to maximise their return on investment and avoid falling behind competitors.  

Based on EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect’s new Driving Intelligent, Interconnected Mobile Engagement Throughout the Travel Journey report, here are three key ways in which mobile will influence the travel marketing in 2018.

1.      Getting to customers through their smartphones as they travel is going to be key in building a relationship
Smartphones are used most during the actual trip itself, presenting a golden time to reach them through this medium. For 67% of British, French and German consumers, the smartphone is their key device during their trip and 98% of Chinese international travelers report that they use their smartphone whilst abroad, with 65% reporting that they use their smartphone to search for restaurants or to use navigation tools.

What’s more there are more ways than ever to reach the consumer through their smartphone, none of which are being fully exploited by travel brands so far. First and foremost there are apps. Although these are difficult to get installed on a user’s device, they have excellent engagement rates and allow owners to send push notifications, which were found to be the most effective form of in-app advertising by our research. However, just a third of travel brands currently have an app. Beyond this, consumers can receive or request messages from travel brands through SMS, used by 24% of travel brands, MMS (8%), QR codes (16%), and instant messaging services (29% of travel brands). The latter of these could be key, as IHS Markit predicts that there will be 7.5 billion messaging and communication app accounts by 2020, giving unrivalled reach.

2.      Automated outreach is going to go wider and get a whole lot more effective
In order to get relevant and engaging messages to consumers, travel brands will need to automate the process through data analysis and AI-enabled services. We found that among the 41% of travel brands that have automated mobile outreach, 83% report that is effective at driving satisfaction. These services can be used to build loyalty and drive revenues through a variety of services that give the consumer key pieces of information that makes their journey easier and upsell and marketing messages. Currently, 78.4% of travel brands that have an automated messaging service report that they can send booking confirmations and reminders but just 37% can send post-stay marketing messages and 35% emergency notifications. We can expect the number of travel brands with automated outreach to grow in 2018 alongside the type and content of their messages. Brands will take on a multichannel strategy with their messaging, using the most appropriate format for the customer based on where they are in the journey. For example, SMS for a change in gate, or push notifications from an app for excursions at the destination.  

3.      Mobile sites will become better at grabbing the last-minute booking
Although mobile is a fast-growing channel when it comes to the booking itself, desktops and laptops still rule the roost when it comes to share and even more so when it comes to spending. Instead, mobile appears to still be a last-minute channel, especially for hotels. Just under 65% of respondents from all verticals in the survey say that mobile lead times are either much shorter or slightly shorter than desktop bookings, with 40% answering that they are much shorter. Nearly double the rate of respondents from the accommodation group report that mobile lead times are much shorter – 59% to 31%.

This makes the mobile web experience critical, as smaller screens and a need for swift information will make relevancy and presentation critical. In our survey 39% of brands reported that they were prioritizing the mobile web and a further 6%, said they were shifting to mobile web, far above those who said they were prioritizing apps. We can expect the number of travel brands who have a responsive or adaptive website to rise from the 58% who currently do.

Optimizing this experience will be driven by growing abilities to personalize landing pages and streamlining the moments from arrival on the site to the check-out based off growing data analysis capabilities and A/B testing. Furthermore, advances in revenue management and yield maximization techniques will increase the profitability of last-minute mobile bookings.

To access the research and get ahead of the competition, download this completely free mobile market report to access:
  • A major industry survey of all travel verticals uncovering their mobile strategies and technology deployments.
  • Analysis of how consumers are using the mobile channel.
  • Projections for mobile’s growth across travel.
  • Where you should be investing to reach the mobile consumer.
  • How you can ensure mobile-focused communications are effective.
  • An overview of how you should be measuring and overseeing an m-commerce operation.