Want to Predict When Your Customers are Going to Travel? Try Talking to Them.

Ask the right questions of your customers and a pandora’s box of marketing opportunities opens up before you.


Like in so many other of life’s tasks, timing is important.


Successful retention programmes are dependent on the right offer, at the right time, delivered to the right audience via the right medium with the right execution (it’s that simple…) If you know when they’re going to travel, you’re well on your way to answering the first 2 questions.


But how do you find out? Sophisticated data mining tools to analyse your customer’s past behaviour and extrapolate trends for the future? Nope – I find talking to them alot more reliable.


OK – we’re living in less predictable times. And there’s definitely a trend towards using our annual leave in more bite-size chunks than before.  But we’re still pretty predictable.


I’ve got a pre-school son, so I don’t need to go away in the school holidays, and I’m not going to pay a premium for no reason, so overseas breaks tend to be in May, June and September. Of course, the September after my son turns 4, its school holidays for me – a change in my travel pattern, but highly predictable if you’ve captured the right information (i.e. you’ve asked me my son’s date of birth).


For professionals, even high flyers, they are going to be patterns – quieter times at work, school holidays if they have kids etc.  I remember chatting to a young, high flying banker at a function once – committed to his career, no kids, no ties – surely his breaks would be difficult to predict? Nope. He went away at the same 2 times every year when work eased off and he didn’t have to live in fear of what was awaiting him on his Blackberry. He’d only booked holidays in one of these time periods with the company I was working for – by opening a dialogue, I suddenly had a marketing opportunity.


Some holiday’s are less predictable but create predictable offshoots – those organising honeymoons are going to have hen and stag dos, often abroad, and then they have anniversaries (and if you’re clever, you can base your suggested anniversary trip ideas around the various themes – paper, wood etc) .


It’s all about thinking about each market segment that you serve, briefing your sales team to capture the right data at the time of booking or in a post trip survey, and then marketing in an intelligent way to them subsequently.  Believe me, it works.

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