The holidays of the future will be awash with targeted advertising sent at timely moments throughout your stay to encourage you to spend more at your hotel and the surrounding destination.
This was the vision put forward by members of the travel industry during a seminar at Travel Technology Europe, a major industry event held in London last week.
At present, holidaymakers already receive targeted advertising prior to their departure, but there are many services, such as restaurant bookings and activities, that the majority of people prefer to leave until they have actually arrived at their hotel.
“Leisure travel is about the experience people have when they’re there,” explained Richard Singer, holiday deal site Travelzoo’s managing director for Europe.
“I don’t know how many people get excited about the economy class lounge at the airport. Destinations really are about the place, but there’s so much more than can be done.”
As a result, the industry is looking into the development of “in-destination” advertising, designed to arrive in the form of a text message, push notification or smart TV notification that recommends particular locations and services at times when you are likely to be considering something similar.
The key to making such a service work is “relevancy and timing”, according to Al Tredinnick, business development manager for travel technology company 15below.
He said that companies would need to send the right message at the right time, so that the service felt like helpful, timely advice rather than adverts, a view echoed by other participants in the seminar.
“Certain brands do it well. But it’s about relevance and usefulness of that brand to you,” agreed Singer.
A key part of this would be the feeling that a real person is contacting you, rather than a bot.
“I think the future of this is that you should be able to pass the customer service Turing Test,” Tredinnick added. “It should feel like someone has reached out to you personally.”
He suggested that it could also be useful in situations where travel plans have to be changed, such as during adverse weather, giving the example of the volcanic eruption in 2010 that left flights across Europe grounded.
In this instance, he suggested that customers could be contacted to encourage them to book further nights in the hotel they were staying in.
Effective technology is clearly a key part of making this approach successful, and is something that the industry is very aware of.
Although many travellers bring their smartphones with them, some turn off data roaming to avoid exorbitant costs.
As a result, although hotel-specific apps are increasingly popular, other solutions are also being explored.
Among these are the placement of hotel-owned smartphones in rooms. These come with free calls and can be taken out and about, making them a pretty appealing option for holidaymakers, but also provide push notifications from the hotel about additional products and services.
Images courtesy of Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen.