June 13, 2022

Achieving the Three E’s of Travel & Hospitality with Adobe

What do customers want in a travel experience? Across the board, it comes down to the 3 E’s: effortless, enjoyable and exceeds expectations. To reach this nirvana state of customer experience, travel and hospitality brands must put as much care and attention into what the customer sees, as what they do not see.

Personalizing the customer experience is only achieved if you truly know your customers—and that requires the behind-the-scenes combined power of customer data and testing to deliver a personalized, 3 E’s experience to every customer, every time.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Drive Decisions with Data

Data is a powerful tool in understanding the customer experience and improving it. But to get data that will deliver these insights, brands must overcome challenges with siloed data, legacy technology, and change management around processes.

One way to do this is by encouraging more cross-collaboration. At Marriott, which uses Adobe solutions to integrate data, update technology, and adjust processes, different teams still own various technology solutions, but they now collaborate around common goals using technology to make communication and change management easier. “We are starting to integrate, which has been a very difficult problem for the teams to solve,” says Susan Bloomberg, vice president of personalization and product performance at Marriott.

For example, when Marriott wanted to adjust links on its website’s global navigation, one team questioned how the changes might limit opportunities for other parts of the business. By looking at the data to understand how clicks from the global navigation flowed into other parts of the website, Marriott could better see how to structure navigation for all customers and lines of business.

Don’t Guess, Test

Testing customer experiences can highlight which experience will best convert customers and reveal what’s working and what is not.

A solution like Adobe Target allows you to test different content formats and layouts to determine which converts best. It also helps take the complexity out of the testing process, not just on your website but across all digital channels. Adobe Target can also deliver personalized recommendations based on customers’ past behaviors. For example, if a customer had previously searched for flight dates in March, the recommendation engine might show discount airfares for that month from their local airport when they return to the site a few days later.

Marriott’s, culture of testing, has a huge impact on customer and business strategy. “Sometimes learning what our customers don’t want from us is just as, if not more, impactful than learning where we got it right,” says Bloomberg.

Think Like Your Customers

Even with data and testing in place, you need to be able to put yourself in your guests’ shoes. At Marriott, this has meant considering the experience their guests are having at that moment. For instance, customers may be tired from a day of business travel or looking to recharge after exploring the streets of a new city when they arrive to check-in.

This mindset can ensure that you offer experiences that align closely with what the customer cares about most. In Marriott’s case, they’ve used this mindset to test different features
and functionality that guests might want across hotel amenities, local dining options, transportation or local attractions.

They can then use the data to figure out if the experience is working. Are people using the feature? If yes, the data can also provide deeper insight into what customers do and don’t like about a feature, so they can continue to refine a feature’s functionality.

Enjoy the Journey, Not Just the Destination

The journey is made much more enjoyable and friction-free when you have a powerful integrated martech stack like Adobe Experience Cloud that combines customer data, analytics, segmentation, testing and optimization, and content management and delivery into one powerful platform.

Combining customer data with testing can lead you down new paths regarding what features or experiences customers might want from your brand. Being open to asking questions about the data, testing hypotheses and experimenting is part of the journey of delivering an incredible experience to your guests.

How to Put Testing Into Action

Ready to put testing to work in your marketing? First, create the variation you want to test, such as a new call-to-action wording or button placement. Then, specify the pages or apply the variation to all similar pages across your website. Be sure to test the same offer in different places across different pages, so you can see if you’re getting the same results across the board.

Instead of testing a variation of content on your website, you can also test one experience across multiple audience segments. For example, you can create a banner ad for a 20% booking discount with imagery variations based on the demographics of the customers (single adults, families, seniors, etc.). You can then see how different audiences respond to the promotion and incorporate those insights to continue to create experiences that are effortless, enjoyable and exceed expectations.