The key principle of customer engagement is to engage and involve people as individuals to your company (Marketo, 2015). Customers expect extremely personalized communication and do not want to be one of the thousands of people who receive the same offers and special deals. In order to be able to personalize your marketing strategy, you will need all details about the clients purchase history and preferences as well as the relation with your company. Based on this data, the identity of the clients becomes clear and a customer profile could be created. However, more data is needed in order to make the marketing even more personal and to enroll the 1:1 marketing strategies (Peelen & Beltman, 2013; Marketo, 2015). One way of doing so, is to understand the context-based events of your customers. What are they planning to do and which events will result in a potential purchase? Tour operators absolutely need the use of these customer profiles in combination with the context-based events in order to market the perfect holiday on an individual and personal level.
Knowing your customer is essential for customer engagement. To get to know the customer, specific data should be collected in order to make the so-called customer profiles. In previous blogs and literature has been explained how a customer profile should be created and which steps one should take to create the best profiles with valuable customer information. But why is it so important to unravel the identity of the customer and to use the customer profiles as the fundament for the marketing strategies? Knowing the customer makes it possible to tailor the marketing strategy and to approach the customer on an individual level, which in called 1:1 marketing according to Marketo (2015). However, in order to be able to tailor the marketing, it is also important to understand the context in which the customer operates. As human behavior is often context-driven, decisions and actions are based on the context in which one is placed (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). To understand this context, it is important to know which events are happening to the customer. According to Peelen and Beltman (2013), events could be defined as “the occurrence of something leading to a change in the situation and needs of the customer”.
In terms of events that can happen to the customers of tour operators, these events are mainly based on the need for holidays. This for example when preparing a wedding, people will look for a honeymoon and they will have specific needs and wants for this event. Another example could be a student who is about to graduate and is looking for a holiday after the exam period. All these specific events that could happen to a customer, are important to understand to be able to apply 1:1 marketing. In this case, Internet plays a significant role for collecting all data and to identify which events take place and when (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). Both websites and social media are the sources to gather the information from. When someone suddenly searches for a city trip to Valencia for example, there might be the chance that this customer is about to book a holiday in the nearby future. Tour operators can adapt their personal marketing strategies based on this information and come up with personal offers and tips for that specific customer. These offers should include all information gathered about the customer, such as the accommodation preferences, activities to do and personal interests. Besides, the preferred travel period could be identified, based on the searches one has done online and the relation to the events of the customer. The preferred travel period could be useful, in order to give the best prices and availability over that specific period, or a discount code valid for that period could be send to the customer. All these specific factors will lead to the best deal for the individual customer and is it most likely that they will book a holiday with your tour operator (Marketo, 2015).
An example of customized marketing on Facebook has been done by several tour operators already. Last week, I looked for the best travel period to the Azores online and the next time I opened Facebook after that, an advertisement from TUI about their trips to the Azores. Another example is from Footprint Travel, who advertised after a search for responsible tour operators. This illustrates how tour operators try to engage potential customers to their brand and products. However, it should be noted that this is not 1:1 marketing, as these advertisements of Facebook are shown to everyone who did similar searches in Google. A tour operator that does apply 1:1 marketing better is Djoser. They send news letters to their customers based on their searches online and offer trips to your searched destinations.
Source: screen shots personal Facebook page, September 2016
Marketo (2015). The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing. Retrieved from http://uk.marketo.com/ebooks/elements-of-engagement-marketing
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. Chapter 5, Customer knowledge strategy. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (Vol. 2, pp. 93 – 116). United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.