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Changing consumer habits: Can travel brands stay connected with what customers want? 

An explosion of the “work from anywhere” trend.

“Bleisure” travellers.

A renewed emphasis on health and sustainability, increased digital engagement, and much more focus on budget and spend.

The fact is, consumer habits in the travel industry have changed.

For marketers, this presents new challenges that have led many to lean into personalisation to connect more effectively with customers.

Personalisation isn’t just for marketers

Insights from the 2023 Hilton Global Trends Report suggest that 86% of travellers say they’re looking for personalisation during their travel experiences and interactions.

And this isn’t limited to the marketing team’s role in that travel experience. Post-pandemic, more and more businesses are adopting personalisation techniques to make product and service improvements.

Personalisation enables brands to connect with customers at every step of the journey, helping them to adapt to challenges and changing habits.

How can marketers keep track of shifting habits?

Keeping a pulse on changing consumer patterns is key to connecting with brand audiences. By identifying and understanding what’s important to potential customers, travel businesses can make sure that their audiences are seeing the right messages at the right time in their buying journey.

A brand’s prospective customers don’t all look the same, but those who share these new and changing habits are likely to belong to the same communities that shape their behaviour.

By detecting where these communities exist (through Herdify’s AI tool), brands can really drill into what matters to them, creating marketing campaigns that are more personalised and tailored to their prospective customer base.

The community effect

People are hugely influenced by those in their social groups – their colleagues, their friends, their family, the other parents at the school gate. When habits change, for example when travel consumers start mixing business and leisure trips, these habits are usually spurred on by multiple people in the same community adopting that habit.

What can marketers do to harness this community adoption?

  • Personalise creative to those locations where brand communities exist – eg, “67% of people who live in Marlow think that sustainable travel is important”
  • Target your strongest brand communities with your most inspirational content. In this way, you’ll start to influence the changing trends, because the message will flow quickly through the community via word-of-mouth
  • Focus (even more) on customer service in your community areas. When habits change, brands are more likely to control the narrative and associate themselves with new trends when customers are talking about excellent customer service
  • Use UGC in community hotspots to fuel brand awareness and advocacy. Nothing says that you understand what your audience really wants right now than sharing genuine and authentic content from customers
  • Encourage feedback in your strongest community areas, through social media, email feedback loops or reviews. This is an effective way of keeping tabs on emerging trends, and using this data to inform localised campaigns
Friends in conversation | Herdify

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Ignite your brand power: Why your offline community is the real influencer

“Social communities grow more powerfully offline, yet most marketing tactics tap into the online element. 92% of word-of-mouth – the single biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – happens offline."

~ Ed Barter, Lead data scientist at Herdify

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