Know me, show me: What Australians now want from travel experiences

Woman looking into the foreground holding a phon

Personalised experiences are becoming a feature of the travel industry.

For airlines like Delta, it’s flight attendants carrying handheld devices with personal data about customers. Hotel chains like Virgin have programs to personalise your stay, such as a bespoke stocked mini fridges and pillow choices.

As the travel industry returns to its former self following the pandemic, this personalisation is even more crucial. Travel companies are faced with a new consumer – one who interacts through a screen more than ever before. The post-pandemic consumer travels with a greater degree of uncertainty and red tape, and widespread industry staffing shortages which leave them more vulnerable to unfavourable experiences such as lost luggage.

Personalisation is now not only a ‘nice to have’ – it’s essential. According to research recently conducted by Adobe, 67% of Asia-Pacific consumers will develop a negative perception of a brand that interacts with them based on broad or inaccurate assumptions.

This research was commissioned by Adobe, conducted by Forrester Consulting and surveyed 5,000 consumers across APAC on their expectations and preferences around what makes a good, or a bad, brand experience.

The results reveal the emergence of a new traveller, one who refuses to be stereotyped. In fact, 86% of APAC consumers agreed that they want to be seen and treated as an individual by the brands they interact with.

For travel brands, it’s also worth noting how quickly their preferences change – 40% see themselves differently compared to their pre-pandemic selves, and 54% try or give up new things every three months.

What today’s travellers really want

Broad brush approaches are no longer relevant. Travellers don’t want to be labelled by their generation or age, and instead expect to be treated as individuals.

With this in mind, travel brands need to think about how to tailor content to engage and add genuine value for today’s traveller.

Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents said they want to be understood as a complete person, in different areas of their lives and interests. This indicates there is room to do better at providing meaningful experiences at every stage of the customer journey; from personalised content as they’re dreaming of their next holiday and tailored recommendations to create a great experience during planning and booking, to using preferences to make them feel like important individuals throughout their travels. For example, when a customer receives a text about a flight delay, a brand gives them a free lounge pass and secure Wi-Fi access so the traveller can be productive while delayed.

Travel companies need to be showing customers real-time content, and content that’s tailored to them. This is important to more than half of consumers (51% and 57%). Travel companies might consider targeting using customer behaviour, geotargeting and even other factors such as weather-based data.

At the same time, this effort needs to be consistent – four times as many consumers across the region would rather get regular thoughtful gestures based on their preferences than one-off gestures that make them feel special (61% vs 14%).

Last but not least, our APAC Trust Research revealed that consumers will stop buying immediately if a brand uses data without their permission (68%), has a data breach (67%) or disrespects their data preferences (68%). Data breaches have caused reputational damage to brands including booking sites, travel agents and airlines. It’s crucial to be aware that while personalisation builds trust, trust can easily be broken.

Capturing the travel moments that matter

Travel brands must provide experiences that are relevant to their customers as individuals at that time, are consistent, provide value and are based on a strong foundation of trust. Those that don’t have the most up-to-date information will struggle to build trust with their customers.

The next challenge is not just to personalise for the individual, but do it at scale. Brands are already doing this by using data platforms to make data-driven decisions about their customers’ preferences and interests.

At Adobe, we’re helping brands enhance their customers’ experiences through our Real-Time CDP. We draw from multiple data sources – while respecting privacy and preferences – to form the only customer data platform with streaming segmentation, using real-time insights to build personalisation-at-scale.

Download Personalisation At Scale: Bring Forth The Customer And Business Benefits Of Experience Excellence to learn more about benefits and best practices of delivering personalised experiences during every step of your customer’s journeys.