It may be quite tempting to promote a travel product and leave it up to the travelling public to decide if your offering mostly matches their interests and requirements. If you’re the gambling sort, that is. If you’re still labouring under the illusion that it’s a seller’s market out there. If you’re ready to risk losing out to the competition… You love your product – in fact, you probably think it’s the best in the world. Newsflash: It’s not about your product!

Love thy client

In the year of the Experience, it’s imperative that you invest in a generous dosage of tender loving care to show travellers you have their interests, desires and preferences at heart. It requires an understanding of who your target markets are, what motivates them to travel and where, what their likes and dislikes are. And how do you get this information? By asking them, by following their discussions on social sharing sites, by getting stuck in some big data. Personalised travel experiences can be defined as tailored experiences based on personal data from prospective or repeat clients.

Personalisation…entails creating offers and information built on travellers’ preferences, which can ultimately lead to cost saving… ASATA

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Understanding Why

An Ipsos MORI (UK research company) study depicts the travel motivations that influence a traveller’s decision-making.14 5

Understanding why people travel empowers you to customise experiences, both in how you sell your product and market it. Perhaps you have the right product, but the traveller viewing your product can’t recognise their compatibility from the content you present on your website or wherever else you promote your product. Check your content, engage better with it and ensure you showcase your product optimally and digitally. Perhaps your product is the perfect match to a prospective client, but because your content isn’t available in their native language, the client chooses to look elsewhere.

A study by Common Sense Advisory…found that 75% of buyers prefer to buy products in their native language.


So strongly consider having your content translated into the languages spoken by your main target markets and eliminate a very real, increasingly important pain point for your clients.

14 6Remember the power of the visual. The images you use, videos and text as well, contribute significantly to whether or not, and how someone relates to your product.

Click the images above and below.

Simply using the words ‘relax’, ‘pamper’ and ‘tranquil’ for example to describe an experience related to your product goes a long way to appealing directly to the traveller motivated by harmony, especially if accompanied by atmospheric images in cool, muted colours. Or possibly using words like ‘learn’, ‘interesting’, ‘experience’ and ‘observe’ in conjunction with images of people participating in relevant activities in bright, vibrant colours, to appeal to the traveller wanting an enhanced perspective.

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Know thy client

Profiling your target markets only takes you part of the way. Your next most valuable resource is your Analytics, digitally-derived data abundantly generated by consumer interaction with your digital sales and marketing tools, website and SM platforms. It’s the power of the mouse click! And your content is the cheese 🙂 Remember you can always swap your gouda for some emmental if the mouse doesn’t like it and ignores it.

Track and monitor the popularity (among demographic, geographic or language groups) of the various elements of your product and test the combinations of your diversified travel components. Perhaps tweak and A/B test some more until you’re satisfied you’re getting the kind of engagement with your product and brand that you want.

Wow thy client

Keeping track with the latest trends and demands? Or do you prefer to exceed general expectations – give the traveller what they need and more?

14 8There are some staple services that are almost obligatory at this stage, such as the point-to-point service, matching supplementary in-destination experiences with the traveller’s preferences.

Perhaps you’ve combined a private yoga session on a secluded part of the beach with a hot air balloon/accommodation Special, including airport transfers, to offer to an Australian client.

Perfectly tailored, based on personal data.

Something new and innovative worth looking at is the sort of digital conveniences offered by SALTO’s JustIN mobile technology: it’s a 24 hour check-in service.

…that allows users to use their smartphone to access doors…a flexible solution that gives the guest the choice to open doors, elevators (etc.)…


The traveller scores back some of their holiday time – no hanging around a reception area waiting to be checked in. No scurrying around to meet check-in or check-out times. Sounds awesome to me.

Convenience is one thing though. Diversifying presents a different challenge and opportunity. Partnerships with other service providers work well if the combined offering continues to match client preferences. Diversifying could also mean your adding other travel components like the Belmond Group does, for example.

After a period of recent consolidation, Belmond is now offering ‘some of the greatest journeys in the world’, which incorporate stays at its landmark hotels and its iconic Oriental Express trains.


35 hotels + 6 tourist trains + 3 river cruises = genius! We can’t all copy Belmond, but the concept has so much potential, it’s well worth investigating how your company could diversify to offer the traveller that unforgettable holiday.

14 9Connect with thy traveller

Your role in the Travel Buyer Journey is two-fold. As much as your traveller is tech-savvy, the human touch is still paramount to their journey, especially when it comes to crisis management and the special touches you’re likely to provide to reinforce that loyalty to your brand.

Today’s era of travel is being labelled as ‘The Age of Connection’ as technology and human guidance continue to merge together to personalise a travel experience.


While tech empowers you through analytics, it’s also expected to make travel purchasing easier for travellers. Effective travel tech is the sort that is efficient at making accurate, current content easily and quickly accessible at any time of day, anywhere, on- or offline. It offers live availability, secure booking and payment options, and convenient access to travel documents and maps. It enables direct contact between client and agent/consultant.

These are all ideal components of the Travel Buyer Journey – the traveller wants it because it makes them feel secure and taken care of, like you put them first. And what would it cost you to invest in some TLC? I prefer to think of what it would earn you. But don’t just take my word for it, ask them yourself. They’ll gladly tell you so.

The holiday of a lifetime to Brazil a few years ago included a side-trip to an island down south.

14 10My friend and I only had accommodation booked but were otherwise unprepared.. We could’ve used a bit of help getting around the island and accessing the sites on the other side, instead of sprinting along 5 kilometers of beach to cross over some dangerous boulders cropping out into the sea before sunset. We would’ve enjoyed a boat ride to view the dolphins inhabiting the coastline. We would’ve enjoyed a capoeira demonstration on the beach or even a lesson in the martial arts..

A personalised experience was all we needed.

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