Cross-device marketing: why travel sites need to embrace it

Mobile has exploded at a rate that was previously unfathomable, and has altered the way we engage with (and advertise to) consumers forever.

The modern traveller turns to numerous devices when planning their trip; from doing their homework to booking the trip, and then keeping up-to-date while on-the-move.

But which devices are used for specific activities? And how do you ensure you connect with the traveller throughout the entire process?

According to eMarketer, more than three fifths (61%) of travellers will use their smartphone to research and look up information prior to their trip – this represents 47.4% of all digital travel research. By 2016, this figure is set to increase to 54.6%. Although desktop remains the main device for the actual booking process, various screens are used along the way.

In order to create and maintain a consistent, seamless brand experience, you need to be able to engage with the consumer every step of the way, regardless of the device they are using.

Tnooz gives the following example: A traveller decides to book a break. She researches beach holidays on her phone whilst commuting to work. On her lunch break, she uses her work computer to check for travel deals. Later that evening, she looks at these deals again on her tablet whilst watching TV at home. The next morning, she buys the holiday package via her laptop.

The marketer of the past would use a siloed approach; viewing this person as five separate people – a persona per device – rather than one individual using multiple devices. When a person uses several browsers – Safari, Chrome or Firefox – it gets even more complicated, and can actually lead to an inconsistent brand experience for the user.

So how can you reach the always-on consumer of the modern world?

Firstly, says Tnooz, travel brands need to move away from the "spray-n-pray" approach, where you shower a campaign across various channels and keep your fingers crossed that one will be effective. Instead, they need to adopt the "connect-n-effect" tactic, whereby they seamlessly personalise the traveller's exposure to the brand across devices in a targeted way.

This cross-device marketing shows the path to purchase in its entirety. Using the scenario mentioned above, the technology and tools are now there for marketers to know that the advertisement the traveller saw on their tablet led them to the website on their laptop, and ultimately led to them booking the trip. Before these tools, it would be impossible to know that the tablet impression caused the conversion.

So, what methods have you put in place to deliver a relevant, unified and valuable experience?