100 Years of Advancing Destinations

The Changing Travel Landscape

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The following article is section of DMAI’s e-book The Evolving Role of DMOs in a Shifting Marketplace. To read the entire e-book, click here


Understanding today's traveler has never been more challenging. When Amadeus IT Group published its “Future Traveller Tribes 2020” research in 2007, the paper outlined four evolving "tribes" of travel customers: Active Seniors, Global Clans (families), Cosmopolitan Commuters (busy urbanites) and Global Executives. The common thread among all of those was based on demographic characteristics categorized by age, occupation and other objective attributes. 

Whereas, in the Future Traveller Tribes 2030 research report launched in April 2015, Amadeus shifted its overview of next generation traveler profiles into six psychographic frameworks: Simplicity Searchers, Cultural Purists, Social Capital Seekers, Reward Hunters, Obligation Meeters and Ethical Travelers. These are all derived from value-based needs, behaviors and motivations.

The 2015 report reads: "We do not present these tribes as mutually exclusive and distinct silos into which consumer groups can be neatly placed, and we understand that consumers probably will identify with more than one group over time depending on the situation or context. We have designed the tribes as provocative caricatures designed to inspire conversation amongst travel brands about how to best cater to tomorrow's global traveler base."

The growing sophistication of business intelligence available in the tourism sector provides DMOs with hard data to develop new strategies to engage these new profiles. Social media analytics, source market intelligence, online search trends, purchase method analysis, and customer behavior tracking are just some of the metrics that data providers are collecting to help DMOs better understand shifting decision patterns among travel consumers.

"This is something that’s going to become absolutely critical," says Pascal Clement, head of travel intelligence at Amadeus IT Group. "The more the travel industry can understand the traveler, the more they can provide a better offering." 

So DMOs are relying on data companies such as Nashville-based nSight, which aggregates 80 million “looks and books” daily from a network of 5,000 third party travel websites. That data provides benchmarks for DMOs to measure themselves against their competitive set through sophisticated online dashboards and reporting platforms.

Data can be sliced and diced to highlight very specific insights, so travel companies can apply this consumer shopping intelligence to improve decision-making, improve marketing ROI, increase online bookings and grow share over competitors. 

Through advanced analytics, nSight also enhances consumer search and booking data with offline demographic and psychographic data, along with web behavioral data. This provides a view of what the consumer looks like behind every search and booking, benchmarked into 10 unique persona categories.

“Predictive analytics from nSight put our hotels and attractions ahead of the curve in terms of planning and execution on all levels,” says Paul Phipps, chief marketing officer at VISIT FLORIDA. “Better visibility into our global opportunities advance our goal of higher visitation from international markets, and helps grow revenue for local businesses.”

DMOs leverage nSight travel intelligence for a range of activities including revenue management, visitor acquisition and real-time marketing, as well as long-term planning and asset management. “The days of one-size-fits-all marketing are over, and nSight is the newest way we’re developing our understanding of how to reach people, influence their travel decisions and close the deal,” says Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia. “They help us identify the types of people thinking about a trip to Philadelphia and the markets we should consider for our media plans.”

In a case study provided by nSight that illustrates the business ROI of big data, it shows how a range of comprehensive feeder market data identifies growth trends and emerging markets based on inbound airline traffic. For example, upward trending travel booking patterns can be used to support negotiations for expanded airline routes, or help build co-op advertising programs with alliance partners to maximize marketing spend and manage the risk of new route development.

“These organizations are innovators with breakout marketing and best-in-class advocacy for their member hotels, attractions and local businesses,” says Richard Maradik, chairman of nSight. “Their focus on international growth reflects the increasing demand of global DMOs for data-driven marketing, monetization of traveler insights, and solutions that enable all levels of their organizations.”