Personalization tips for small travel brands

personalization tips for small travel brands
The personalization rallye is on (c) tracommy

With this article about personalization tips for small travel brands we like to provide you the impuls to bring your communication with your customers up to date and create or refine your data base. Even smaller travel brands with very limited budgets could achieve a high level of personalization in customer communication. A vital tool to enhance customer’s loyalty. DMCs will get more viral recommendations with a solid personalized “post trip” communication. Read how:

The recently published report IBM Marketing Trends 2019 lists “hyper-personalization” as one of the top tech elements to look out for this year (which, of course, requires robust AI like IBM’s Watson technology).

That advice is well and good for a global airline, or even a regional cruise line. For most smaller travel brands, even regular personalization can seem out of reach. But, with a new perspective, personalization is certainly possible.

Starting from a different place

Destination marketers, tourism brands and smaller travel brand marketers are used to feeling like the odd ones out when they hear about trends in travel marketing for many reasons:

Smaller brands usually don’t have a loyalty program

Unlike a global hotel chain, destination marketers like Visit Jacksonville are unlikely to have millions of people signed up for a loyalty program.

This reduces the amount of first-party data that a brand has access to, reduces its ability to contact and interact with travelers and lowers the number of touch points it has with travelers.

Smaller brands can’t afford fancy apps

Not every travel brand has the horsepower to create multimillion-dollar apps with personalized mobile updates like Delta and Marriott.

These mega travel brands have apps that are not only collecting insights, but are also creating brand engagement right on a person’s smartphone.

Smaller brands have smaller budgets

Few local travel and tourism brands can afford a Super Bowl ad, or even a national ad campaign.

With marketing teams of three or four, instead of 30 or 40 (or even 400!), tourism brands are already stretched thin trying to cover a multitude of digital channels across social media, TV, out-of-home, digital and more.

Done with excuses, time to personalize

Even with all of these obstacles, destination marketers and local tourism marketers have plenty of opportunity to personalize. And they must, because consumers really do expect it.

No app? Use the website

Visit California probed Google queries to better understand what travelers were looking for as they planned to visit the state.

With these insights, they revamped their website to be much more specific to these trends.

In order to customize the journey, new sites like theirs are asking travelers to share a bit of information that isn’t too personal but that’s very useful in adding relevance. For example, choosing between sun or snow, shopping or sports.

Other tourism sites are employing automated chat windows to cater to people with questions and surveys about planned trips to suggest destinations, deals and more.

While these experiences aren’t truly personalized, they feel much more personal, and that’s what counts.

Small budgets? Think email

Despite all the talk about influencers, email is the best way to reach millennials (now the largest working generation in the United States).

For many marketers with limited budgets, focusing on building an up-to-date email database is a great, and affordable, way to set the stage of personalization.

Millennials want to know more about the quirky, out-of-the-way, authentic elements of a destination, and what better way to help them discover them than through email?

Nearly half of millennials consider themselves “all-in enthusiasts” of travel compared to only 25% of the rest of the population.

These enthusiastic travelers are very likely to share their preferences through short surveys on ads and in social media, but only if it makes their experience more personalized in the future. Tourism brands can use their responses to tailor email content.

Data disability? Make every insight count

Local operators benefit from understanding how they fit into their travelers’ overall visit and can offer personalized discounts and packages based on segmented trends.

Marketers with limited resources have always been good at getting creative. The beauty of personalization is that it doesn’t require Artificial Intelligence and a seven-figure marketing tech budget to execute.

Travelers ultimately want a relevant experience, and the best way for marketers to provide it is to put personalization first.

More information and assistance
Drop us a note: advisory (at)
We shall be most happy to assist you in defining a strategy and recommend tools to execute.