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Activating vacation mode: Utilizing AI and machine learning in your travel marketing strategy

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Say the words “dream vacation” and everyone will picture something different. This brings a particular challenge to the modern travel marketer – especially in a world of personalization, when all […]

Say the words “dream vacation” and everyone will picture something different. This brings a particular challenge to the modern travel marketer – especially in a world of personalization, when all travelers are looking for their own unique experiences. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) provides a solution that allows travel marketers to draw upon a variety of sources when researching the best ways to connect with potential audiences.

By utilizing and combining data from user-generated content, transaction history and other online communications, AI and machine-learning (ML) solutions can help to give marketers a customer-centric approach, while successfully accounting for the vast diversity amongst their consumer base.

Tracking the Trends

AI creates significant value for travel brands, which is why 48% of business executives “are likely to invest in AI and automation in customer interactions over the next two years,” according to Deloitte. Using AI and a data-driven travel marketing strategy, you can predict behaviors and proactively market to your ideal customers. There are as many AI solutions in the market as there are questions that require data, so choosing the right one is important.

For example, a limited-memory AI solution can skim a review site, such as TripAdvisor, to determine the most popular destinations around a major travel season, like summertime. Or, a chatbot can speak directly with visitors to your site, and aggregate their data to give brands an idea on what prospective consumers are looking for. Other solutions offer predictive segmentation, which can separate consumers based on their probability of taking action, categorize your leads and share personalized outreach on their primary channels. Delivering personalized recommendations are a major end goal for AI solutions in the travel industry. For example, Booking.com utilizes a consumer’s search history to determine whether they are traveling for business or leisure and provide recommendations accordingly.

A major boon of today’s AI and machine-learning solutions are their ability to monitor and inform users of ongoing behavioral trends. For example, who could have predicted the popularity of hotel “day passes” for remote workers, as little as three years ago? Or the growing consumer desire for sustainable toiletries? Trends change every year— or, more accurately, every waking hour— so, having a tool that can stay ahead of the next biggest thing is essential.

Personalizing and Enhancing Experiences

In an industry where every element of the customers’ experience – travel costs, hotels, activities – is meticulously planned, delivering personalized experiences is critical to maintaining a customer’s interest. Consumers want personalization. As Google reports, 90% of leading marketers indicate that personalization significantly contributes to business profitability.

Particularly in the travel field, where there are as many consumer preferences as there are destinations on a map, personalization is essential in order to gain their attention. AI capabilities can solve common traveler frustrations, further enhancing the consumer experience. Natural language processors can skim through review sites, gathering the generalized sentiment from prior reviews and determining common complaints that may arise. Through these analyses from a range of sources from across a consumer’s journey, you can catch problems before they start.

For travel marketers already dealing with a diverse audience, and with a need for personalization to effectively stand out amongst the competition, AI and ML solutions can effectively help you plan and execute personalized outreach, foster brand loyalty and optimize the consumer experience. With AI working behind the scenes, your customers can look forward to fun in the sun, on the slopes, or wherever their destination may be.

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Janine Pollack is the Executive Director, Growth & Content, and self-appointed Storyteller in Chief at MNI Targeted Media. She leads the brand’s commitment to generating content that informs and inspires. Her scope of work includes strategy and development for Fortune Knowledge Group’s thought leadership programs and launching Fortune’s The Most Powerful Woman podcast. She is proud to have partnered with The Hebrew University on the inaugural Nexus: Israel program, featuring worldwide luminaries. Janine has also written lifetime achievements for Sports Business Journal. She earned her masters from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and B.A. from The American University in Washington D.C.

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