Driving Relevance and the Endless Creation of Content - A Challenge for Travel Brands

Feb 20, 2018

Tony Evans, Head of Planning | BJL , United Kingdom | tony.evans@bjl.co.uk

Does all this content and transparency erode the magic of travel?

Data provides the information needed for travel brands to drive relevance in both the experiences they offer as well as the way they are communicated. It allows for unprecedented levels of personalisation, particularly for repeat customers.

Consumers - todays increasingly savvy and demanding travellers and holidaymakers - expect to be able to find content about the destinations or experiences they are contemplating.

However, as the data gets more granular and sophisticated, does that then put too much pressure on generating customised or niche content? At what point does the drive to relevance and personalisation become uneconomical and inefficient?

And does the volume of material being created bring down its quality and its creativity – which then affects its impact and memorability? What is the balance to strike?

Moreover, does all this content and transparency erode the magic of travel? Does it take away from the joy of discovery that travel at its best offers? How do services and destinations create new and original experiences to delight their customers?

So what?

An article appeared in Campaign earlier this year, written by Adam & Eve/DDB’s David Golding entitled: The big adland divide: culture vs. collateral. The thrust of this argument is that the advertising industry is split between those using data to deliver better-targeted and relevant content (‘collateral’) to people at the right time, and those who were applying their creativity to create culture, fame and ‘talkability’ for a brand’s benefit.

In some respects this divide reflects the fundamental one faced by marketers of travel brands. It appears that for many of those brands the pressure to sell inventory has led to an increasing reliance on data-led approach to sharpen marketing activity and, as Golding describes it, ‘nudge people along the purchase journey’. Arguably, the ability to instantly and accurately measure the impact of such activity has added to its appeal.

As more and more brands adopt this way of working, so more and more content is created, but, according to Golding, that’s often at the expense of creativity. He asks: “How much of that content do we remember?” Data led marketing isn’t really creating brand fame. And as more money and time is invested in it, so less remains for the kind of creative brand activity that does – the type of work that moves brands and causes forward effectively and makes them famous by capturing people’s imaginations and inspiring them.

Our view is that this needn’t be a choice, but instead is a quest for balance. How can the two approaches co-exist to move brand awareness, appeal and consideration forward as well as making it easy for people to choose and to transact?

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