Brands are spending hundreds of millions of dollars integrating software like Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce without realising the full potential of better data management, especially when it comes to personalised marketing, according to Adara’s chief marketing officer.
Carolyn Corda said marketing is being “left behind” in the drive to deliver more personalised experiences for customers, despite the fact that the data is already there in troves.
“[When brands plug into our platform] we can tell them when someone is an infrequent traveller and is about to book, it's then up to the client to activate the personalised landing page, image, offer and message,” she said.
Personalised marketing requires brands to have a sophisticated decision engine and content management system, Corda said. But travel brands often have this capability built into their systems already, to set dynamic prices based on seat or room availability and time of purchase.
Moreover, Corda said brands are using expensive cloud-computing software to build personalised customer service products, without considering the full customer journey.
“I see a lot of clients that have spent tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on Adobe or Salesforce or Oracle technology, and use it to create an app so that I can order towels,” she said. “They should use it to really personalise my stay and my purchasing experience.”
In a 2017 Epsilon study, 87% of respondents said they were more likely to do business with travel websites/apps that offered personalised experiences, but added that only 64% said those businesses were currently doing so.
“The expectations keep going up and we're still working hard in the industry to catch up,” Corda said.
Adara is a travel data co-op that pools first party data from more than 200 travel brands — including airlines and hotels — to help them build more comprehensive audience segments, and understand the path to purchase.
Individual brands can choose to share their data across the ecosystem, or limit the data sharing to only non-competing brands. Airlines are more likely to share their data with hotel brands or with airlines operating in different geographies, for example.
The platform also integrates data from intermediaries such as online travel agents and price comparison websites to build a more complete picture of purchase behaviours. It does this by partnering with intermediaries, as well as asking airlines and hotel brands to upload any additional data they get from travel agents into the platform.
It collects search, booking, and loyalty data. The data collection is automated by placing a pixel on the brand’s website, mobile site and app.
Adara claims it records more than 14 billion searches a year and is able to generate 850 million unique traveler profiles a month from its data partners.
“That combination of being able to see people from the search to the booking is really powerful because now we're seeing patterns of behavior,” Corda said.
“We can begin to, without violating PII (personally identifiable information), resolve those searches to individual profiles. So when our clients want to be able to run a campaign, whether it's media or CRM, it's very predictive and effective.”
Collaboration versus walled gardens
Adara is one of many data co-ops around the world looking to prove the value of collaboration to future-proof against competition.
As well as providing richer audience segments, it is also an ancillary revenue stream for brands, as brands that choose to share their data for retargeting purposes are compensated.
“Airlines, hotels are all looking for ancillary revenue with baggage fees, wifi fees, upgrade fees. They tell us the check they get from Adara is the easiest ancillary revenue they ever earned,” Corda said.
Airlines have understood the value of partnering up for many years with the creation of alliances such as Star Alliance, OneWorld and SkyTeam.
However, as competition becomes more intense, Adara is seeing an increase in the creation of private data co-ops between brands.
"We have created private data co-ops between complementary partners, like hotels and airlines, which is essentially your own walled garden if there’s only certain partners you want to share with," Corda said. "That is something that we expect to see more of in the future."