Travel Content Should Be 'Me-Shaped' - News UK Travel Chief

People are constantly consuming data and, in reality, downtime doesn't exist – therefore bespoke targeted offers are the only way to really capture consumer attention, delegates were told at the BrightOnTravel conference last week.

Reported by Travolution, head of travel at News UK (the parent company of the Sun and The Times) Vicky Sanders told conference-goers that there was a phenomenon called 'smart boredom,' which means that people are constantly browsing.

She said: "There is no such thing now as dead time. If you're waiting for a bus or the Tube you are always on your mobile. You are looking at something. We have to fight for people's time."

In order to win consumers' attention firms have to interact with them, Sanders continued. She told delegates that customers want bite-sized information, commenting: "They want to be able to read snippets of what you've got so you attract their attention so they will come back to you another time."

She added that the information also has to be tailored for different devices. But the emphasis was on personalisation.

Sanders cited a number of examples, including Starbucks, which offers a click and collect service allowing a customer to order their drink from the most convenient outlet while they're on the go. And an app called 'Drink,' which will order and send tasting notes on a wine that the user has photographed on their device. It also saves preferences and makes recommendations for other types of wine it thinks the user will like.

She said: "We know that we have to be totally bespoke and it's all about the 'me-shaped cut'. We are seeing a transformation in customer expectation and it's all about being me-shaped. We anticipate the future of product and services that are delivered to customers' requirements and that's what we're trying to achieve."

The travel chief also confirmed that News UK has been looking at biometrics - where information is gathered about what a person is feeling via sensors placed on them - which she described as "the next chapter in hyper-personalisation."

Sanders used British Airways as an example; the airline carried out an experiment at 30,000ft which allowed it to gauge customers' satisfaction in different scenarios. As a result, it could potentially offer particular services to keep the customer happy. While Sanders admitted that this was a bit "far-flung," she also told delegates that some travel firms were already leading the way on personalising their offering.