The Disenchanted Traveler: Untargeted Marketing Weakens Ties Between Travel Brands & Their Customers

By Dave O’Flanagan, CEO and co-founder, Boxever

Travel is an extremely personal and highly emotional activity; from the type of experience desired to the actual means by which its executed, travelers want the lowest hassle experience, at a cost-value ratio that they feel comfortable with, and that is memorable or unremarkable (whether traveling for leisure or business). However, travel brands don’t always hold up their end in helping travelers achieve this goal – even in their marketing, as a recent survey from Boxever uncovered.

The survey found that travel companies contribute to the rising digital noise consumers experience: 55% of leisure travelers and 58% of business travelers reported that 3 out of 4 travel offers they receive are irrelevant to their needs and preferences.

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But beyond simply being a nuisance, these irrelevant and mismatched offers and messages actually damage the relationship between travelers and travel brands:

  • 59% of respondents said they would unsubscribe from that company’s content
    • Younger travelers are quicker to pull the trigger after negative engagements with brands: compared to the general population, millennials are 13% more likely to unsubscribe from a company’s content
  • 5% are less likely to open the next offer
  • 8% of the survey respondents deliberately stated they’d be less likely to buy from a company who sends them multiple communications that are irrelevant and don’t meet their needs

Where are travel brands going wrong? Essentially, it comes down to a mismatch around sharing data: travelers want brands to treat them in a more personalized manner but at the same time, are reluctant to share the information that would enable travel brands to do so.

As a result, travelers feel like the travel brand doesn’t know who they are. The study revealed that only 2% of consumers believe that the brands they frequent and patronize know them extremely well. Nearly 40% of business travelers said the brands they patronize don’t know anything about them, and 38% of business travelers believe that the brands they follow only know the basics – birthday, gender, etc. Specifically, the respondents said offers and communications they receive from travel brands:

  • Don’t correspond with where they are and what they are doing (62%)
  • Aren’t tailored to their needs and interests (43%)
  • Make them feel like the brand doesn’t know them (29%)
  • Don’t distinguish between their work, personal, and family needs (20%)

So, there is truly an opportunity to improve how well travelers perceive travel companies know them – and we believe there are 5 things travel brands can do to better understand their customers, and thus communicate with more relevance:

  1. Invest in real customer intelligence.
  2. Prioritize contextual marketing.
  3. Make everything about the value.
  4. Leverage data to create better experiences.
  5. Build and maintain customer trust.

Learn more about how to activate these recommendations and get the complete survey findings by downloading the full report.

Boxever is a customer intelligence and predictive marketing platform designed specifically for travel retailers. Companies like Air New Zealand, Ryanair, eDreams ODIGEO, and more increase conversion, drive revenue, and improve loyalty using Boxever’s cloud-based solution. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @Boxever.