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MarTech strategy for travel: AI to support the Travel sector

Giuliano Maria Fabbri

After the setback caused by the pandemic, the travel industry has rebounded at a great speed, thanks to consumers’ desire to travel again, in Italy and around the world. 

Many dynamics have changed in the meantime, with users increasingly aware, fluid, and ready to make their own arrangements to seek the most authentic experience closest to how they feel. 

The most popular routes are changing, and new trends are emerging, while Tourism players must adapt to ever-changing challenges and critical issues. But what are they, and what are the opportunities offered by technology?


Tourism today, main challenges

The first challenge is certainly the high competition, in two directions: 

on the one hand, the presence of “giants” that are difficult to overcome, such as Booking, AirBnb, Expedia, Hotels.com, large players that monopolize the digital scene of the Travel market and beyond;

on the other, verticals, with a global market that has increasingly fragmented demand, generating even small and specialized players that move by satisfying precise niches and working on omnichannel experiences.

Second, increasingly cutting-edge technologies create potential but also complexity within “traditional” business structures that are not yet ready to fully embrace digitization. Two main, interrelated critical issues fit into this theme: 

  • data management, understood as the ability to harness its potential and pool it across departments within the company; 
  • privacy-side compliance. 

Strong competition and growing consumer demands are forcing companies to equip themselves with solutions that can quickly read their status and opportunities.

Becoming more accurate in these analyses allows companies to take a more proactive stance toward their target market, that is, being able to understand consumer needs even before they arise. 

Adopting machine learning solutions and AI-based tools is now within the reach of all companies to begin a journey of truly effective data analysis, management and activation.


Opportunities thanks to AI and MarTech 

From detecting online trends to “reconnecting” with customers who haven’t interacted in a while, the process of activating data-driven marketing strategy potentially goes end-to-end, from acquisition to retention.

In an industry that is strongly and necessarily tied to seasonality, understanding what keywords users are searching for online, what destinations are becoming the most popular, and at what time consumers are taking action to book their next trip…is, ça va sans dire, essential. 

There are particular research trends that a Tourism Company might not know or consider, but which can provide insights for improving strategies. Mapping them with ad hoc tools, such as our Trend AI, is simple.

A strong trend of summer 2022, for example, was the search for the “most Instagrammable destinations”: a new type of user need, not related to the specific hospitality of an area nor to its food and wine goodness, but to the presence of impactful viewpoints for the “social” snapshot. 

The operators and destinations that have been able to re-invent themselves and position themselves in this sense have benefited from a trend-perhaps circumscribed and momentary, but the data will tell us-bridging it at the right time. 

Another essential theme is that of Retention: tour operators and airlines have nourished db of customers profiled with all kinds of behavioral, socio-demographic, interest data etc. But how to re-engage a potential good customer who has not purchased a cruise or flight in quite some time? 

Retention AI is our proprietary tool that serves precisely to connect companies’ data with advertising and email marketing platforms, but not before properly classifying and segmenting them to obtain homogeneous audiences, to be re-engaged on the right channels, with the right message, at the right time.