Companies divide their customer groups into different sub-groups, considering for example gender, age, origin, place of living or other factors, this is called data-segmentation. The purpose is to find the right marketing tools and ways to approach customers (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). Carrying out extensive data segmentation is vital for any kind of business (Ringvee, 2017). In many cases, a data segmentation based on general information is not enough and a more all-encompassing research on the customer base needs to be done. Segmenting the customers by applying personas is a great tool for travel agencies to meet their customers’ needs and enrichen the relationship with them.
Personas generally are artificial persons that represent a certain segment of the customers. They embody the needs, wants and wishes of a certain target market and help the company developing a clearer picture of their clients and reinforce the empathy within the company (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). A persona can for example be a middle-aged couple with two children, their needs and wants will differ from a young, single successful man.
No holiday is like another and thus getting a structured segmentation in the customer base is crucial for a travel agency to understand their customers and enabling a long-lasting and deep relationship with them. The reason relationships between the travel agency and customer can grow with the use of personas is that a customer will feel treated on a more personal and closer basis; they will be addresses with choice of words that feel right for them and will be offered to use the channels that they want to use.
There are four general types of travellers that any travel agency can use as a start for their segmentation process, those are escapist, learners, planners, dreamers (Miller, 2015). Differentiating the customers by their interests will simplify the offers that customers are being presented. Every travel agency can create their own persona’s, by undertaking customer surveys or interviews (Havice, 2017). Marketing strategies, communication channels and the form of speaking to customers is differentiated for each persona. Using well carried out and researched persona’s will help the travel agency to find the right offers for the right people, a persona’s therefore will for example include the income range, somebody is in, the number of kids, their favourite activities etc.
When looking at the advertisement of big travel agencies like TUI or Expedia, the different personas can be recognized. Even though, no company uses the exact persona they communicate internally in their communication with customers, the choice of wording, photos and advertising channel are fitting with the data they have gathered about their customers.
Even though, applying personas to the business concept of travel agencies will require a lot of time and work in the beginning, it will later pay off when processes and contact with customers are getting simplified and a travel agency can distinguish better, which of their personas is looking for what so that the offers can be perfected and the likelihood of sales and satisfied customers increases.
Bloodworth, A. (2017). Persona Format.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson Education Benelux.
Miller, M. (2015). 4 Starter Personas for Tourism & Travel Content Marketing. Retrieved September 22, 2017, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-starter-personas-tourism-travel-content-marketing-miranda-miller
Pansari, A., & Kumar, V. (2017). Customer engagement: the construct, antecedents, and consequences. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45(3), 294–311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-016-0485-6
Chathoth, P. K., Ungson, G. R., Harrington, R. J., & Chan, E. S. W. (2016). Co-creation and higher order customer engagement in hospitality and tourism services. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(2), 222–245. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-10-2014-0526