It’s no surprise to marketers that the more targeted and personal they can get with their communications and experiences, the more they’ll convert consumers into buyers – and, better yet, build customer loyalty. In a highly competitive marketplace, such as travel, loyalty is like gold. Unfortunately, even with all the data and technology available to travel marketers, many still struggle with how to use a visitor’s context to effectively personalize communications and offers at differing phases of the travel buyer’s journey.

Last week, more than two hundred digital marketing experts gathered in Las Vegas for the second annual Digital Travel Summit. Personalisation was one of the hot topics during the event. However, not all travel companies are delivering the kind of personalisation their customers want or that’s required to drive a winning customer experience and a strong, positive change in conversion.

For example, while at the Digital Travel Summit, one of my Webtrends colleagues received an email from a provider she used to book her hotel room for the event. Clearly that company knew she was out of town—either for business or leisure—since she booked the trip with them and the email subject line acknowledged she was on a trip. Unfortunately, the email was a pitch for 15 percent off more hotel rooms—not something she really needed as she was obviously already staying in a hotel room.

Personalized marketing is about more than just knowing someone’s name, geography or some other generic segmentation attributes. It is about delivering the right message, at the right time, in the right channel and with the right offer that resonates with the recipient. It’s also an effort where results can be easily measured and evaluated. At Webtrends, we call this contextual personalisation—the combination of historical and real-time data to gain relevant context-sensitive insights about customers.

So how could that travel provider deliver more contextual personalisation? Instead of pitching more hotel stays, the company could have suggested great attractions or complementary services while she was in Las Vegas—especially insights based on past purchases or her lifestyle. They could have also added images related to her destination. Heck, at the most basic level they could have just asked how her stay was going or to rate her hotel/experience. To get her (or me!) to buy again, it would be beneficial to send emails at the appropriate time during the travel buyer’s journey.

As one of our clients, KLM, has said, “In the travel industry, timing and knowing your customer’s intentions is key to be able to hold an advantage over competitors.” KLM uses Webtrends, integrated with a third-party email system, for boosting customer experience and the results of their email campaigns. The marketing team at KLM has been able to boost their conversion rates as high as 400 percent in some markets using the strong, robust capabilities Webtrends technology enables.

Using contextual personalisation, companies have the opportunity to create customer messaging and experiences that are not just relevant, but appreciated.