How travel brands can overcome the problem with automation and personalisation

Personalisation may well be touted as the future of the travel industry but when it comes to blending it with automation and the Internet of Things (IoT), it appears that travellers have some reservations about how their data might be handled. According to new research by Boxever, consumer attitudes towards IoT automation could present a number of problems for marketers in the future - walking the line of creating personalisation without face-to-face interaction will become more vital for travel businesses than ever.

The research revealed that an overwhelming majority of consumers (83%) doubt that IoT automation will make their lives better. Yet therein lies the problem for travel businesses - to create effective personalisation, a business needs data; without personalisation, automation can be clunky and ineffective.

Fortunately, travellers demonstrated that when it comes to travel, they are willing to make major purchases without human interaction. Nearly three-quarters (72%) are willing to book hotels this way and roughly the same amount (73%) would choose to do the same for flights. In other sectors, consumers tended to prefer to make larger purchases from a person as opposed to automated service - less than a quarter (20%) would consider buying a car without human interaction and this was one of the higher percentages.

The key for travel brands is to focus on building trust with their customers with the right level of personalisation to provide satisfaction consistently. But just how easy is it to strike this delicate balance? What exactly do consumers want?

Boxever examined the preferences of those who felt the IoT could make their lives better and the good news for travel brands is that they align well with the services they can offer. More than half (56%) thought the IoT might help them make smarter data-based purchasing decisions whilst 63% expected better recommendations as a result of the IoT.

When it comes to what they don't want, the research found that, unsurprisingly, irrelevant offers were likely to raise the hackles of customers and invade their 'digital comfort zone'. Fears around the sharing of data included the belief it is an invasion of privacy (83%) and that brands would misuse the data (68%), bringing the issue back to trust. To gain and retain this trust, travel brands must make it a priority to prove to customers that the collection of personal data is necessary and will be used effectively to improve their experience.

At Digital Trip, we don't just create travel websites, we can provide all that you need to perfect your online offering. This includes specialist marketing solutions and strategies, tailored to the specific requirements of your business and designed to win the customers you want to target. For more information, drop us a line today.