What can the travel industry learn from World Cup customer data?

The smart travel brands and businesses during the World Cup will be those that choose to collect data on their journeys their customers take to come to them and make bookings, and turn it into insights that will ultimately help them to make better marketing decisions going forward.
Whether it’s hotel bookings or flights the travel industry is booming at the moment with the World Cup. Smart brands and businesses will be using this time as a huge opportunity to learn about their customers. By following their customers’ journeys across different media, not only will businesses be able to target their advertising more effectively going forward but also improve their customer experience by making sure they receive the right information at the right touch points along the way. 
Customer behaviour: Planners vs. Doers
There will be a large number of people who will have made their travel plans a long time before the tournament began, having carefully researched via Google, stumbling upon various brand websites and booking sites before making their reservations online or over the phone with an agent.
By comparison there are lots of people, even now, who are planning spontaneous trips, as a result of their countries success as we move into the final stages of the World Cup, looking for flights and places to stay at very short notice.
The interesting thing we find at Freespee, is that depending on the time a customer has available their customer journey will really differ from person to person. Those who have more time on their hands may spend days or even weeks researching and monitoring prices to find the best deals and may exchange emails to ask questions with agents to learn more about the location in which they might staying and the hotel amenities for instance.
By comparison, those booking at the last minute have no time to waste and the fastest way to make arrangements is often by picking up the phone and getting the agent to do the work for you, cutting out the time wasted on waiting for replies and browsing around frantically to see what might be free.
Business Insights: Data and Strategy
What’s important to recognise and understand here is that just knowing which bookings were made online or over the phone is not enough any more.  The questions brands and business should be asking themselves are:
‘How did they find us?’
‘What were they looking for?’
‘Was it a good user experience for them?’
‘How many times did they interact with us before deciding to book or not?’
Brands and businesses need to put measures in place to monitor the customer journey from first discovery, right through to the way the choice is made to book, and then join up the dots between the data collected via the web and the phone by analysing the insights. Those insights can then be used to inform the future marketing strategy, the staffing needed at the contact centre, even things as simple as adding a phone number to your ad online to give your customers the information they need to pick up the phone and talk to you directly rather than having to trawl through your website to find the right number to reach you on.
The World Cup: A key time to travel and learn
While there is always seasonality in travel, there are only ever a few occasions each year that capture the attention of people globally to come to one single destination: the World Cup and the Olympics to name a few.
Gathering insights from different nations around their purchasing behaviour, their intentions to buy and their preferred ways of communicating along the customer journey will make brands and businesses much smarter in both the short and long term.
A huge advantage that hotels and airlines will gain from doing this is the ability to compete with third party booking agents and concentrating on building stronger and more long-term relationships with their customers. The smarter and more in tune with a customer staff appear, the more trust the customer will have in the business and the more likely they would be to recommend it their friends and family or use them again themselves.
Getting smarter, faster: How to kick things off
The task of gathering data on this scale may sound daunting at first but with the right tools in place it’s actually a really easy to activate and the bigger and better the data you have the more accurate your insights will be. At Freespee, we have a wealth of experience and expertise in this field and we’ve learnt that with the right data, advertising is just math.