Personalizing travel search: How data leads to happier travelers
An overdue evolution is happening in travel search, especially in the hotel sector.
NB: This is an analysis by Margaret Ady, vice president of marketing at TrustYou.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine how travelers tolerated the rudimentary search capabilities that have been available to them up to now.
Doesn’t searching for a “hotel in downtown Miami” seem archaic when the travel industry has so much more information to work with?
For instance, it’s entirely possible to search for qualities like “excellent service” or for London accommodations that are similar to the Molitor in Paris, where you stayed last month.
With this kind of search functionality, I imagine a world full of much happier travelers who are able to find exactly what they want in their accommodations with great ease.
So how can both intermediaries and hotels encourage travelers to book the best accommodation for their needs?
The answer is to put the reins back in the travelers’ hands; give them the opportunity to dictate what they want.
At TrustYou, this means collecting, structuring and semantically analyzing review data so that it’s possible for businesses to build and provide personalized search results for travelers.
This can look very different depending on what a company wants to offer, but ultimately it boils down to data customization – and not only is it very possible, it will be essential in order for travel intermediaries and hotels to compete in the coming years.
The great thing about this personalization is that it benefits everyone, from travelers to intermediaries to hotels.
First and foremost, personalized search provides an opportunity for travelers to quickly and easily find the right hotel fit for their needs.
It makes the travel planning experience better.
Furthermore, custom search results that are based on structured review data allow travelers to discover new hotels and brands that may fit their needs, but may not yet be on their radar.
To put it simply, personalized search equates to higher conversion rates.
When sites begin offering travelers the opportunity to quickly get exactly the types of hotels that they want, intermediaries will see increased conversion rates.
Even better, maybe travelers quit trawling a dozen websites, because they need only visit the one that allows them to get the custom results they want.
Personalized, customized search based on review data ensures a good match between the guest and the hotel.
A good match means happier travelers, which in turn increases the likelihood of repeat travelers and higher review scores.
And higher review scores unlock the potential for higher room rates.
A recent TrustYou study shows that travelers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with a higher review score when prices are the same, and 76% of travelers were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores.
The future of travel is personalization: delivering content in a way that travelers wants to receive it.
It means gathering insights from traveler reviews and making this data searchable on a completely new level.
Today’s traveler wants easier planning. They’re tired of lengthy search processes and reading review after review.
For intermediaries and the hotels they represent, giving guests control is the traveler-led path to a happy stay.
TrustYou aggregates millions of online reviews, social mentions and other user generated content and boils this data into usable, actionable insights that allow hotels, restaurants, destinations and intermediaries to improve their services and positively influence travelers’ decisions.
NB2: Happy traveler image via Shutterstock.
Margaret Ady serves as vice president of marketing at TrustYou, a big data and online reputation management company specializing in the hospitality industry.
She graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in Economics and Psychology, and where she was awarded the Annenberg Communications Pathway Grant for her research in new technology and its impact on healthcare decision-making.
Previously, Margaret served in leadership positions at The Walt Disney Company and The Oprah Winfrey Network and has provided research, branding and consulting services to 20th Television (Fox), Nielsen and many other companies in FMCG/Entertainment/IT industries.