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8 min read

At Tcube’s latest digital event for travel businesses, Personalised Experiences in Hospitality, we found out some interesting new insights about how the pandemic has shaped today’s travellers. According to a study by Google, we are now seeing the rise of the ‘revenge traveller.’ 

After years of having to stay in place, travellers are itching to make up for this lost period with new travel experiences. During the first half of 2022, Singapore received 1.5 million visitors, nearly 12 times more than the same period in 2021. Interestingly, although inflation is a concern for the majority of travellers, over 70% of those from Singapore, Australia and Japan still intend to spend the same or more on travel this year and cut down on other non-essential spending instead. 

So how can Singapore’s travel businesses take advantage of this new opportunity? 

Personalisation will be key. A survey by Epsilon found that around 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with better personalised experiences. In fact, during Tcube’s event, 78% of the audience shared that their organisation has already introduced new personalisation strategies since the pandemic.

With staff shortages and a loss of income in recent years, businesses need to use digital tools to operate more cost-effectively and efficiently. Increasing personalisation helps to improve sustained engagement from your target audience by enhancing the customer experience. 

Here are a few tips to get started:

Provide personalised inspiration

Today’s travellers are ‘dreamers’, meaning they spend more time searching and planning their trip online. According to Google’s research, on average, APAC travellers are spending 56 days ‘dreaming’ about their next trip. 

Additionally, the average length of trips is also increasing from 3.8 days in 2019 to 5 days or longer in 2022 meaning people want to see and do more on vacation. And more APAC travellers are searching for luxury accommodation options than before. All this shows that the new traveller wants to take advantage of this time to treat themselves, making them more willing to spend on great experiences.

Take a closer look at your marketing funnel and consider how you can help today’s ‘dreamers’ find inspiration for their next trip. For travel agencies, this could be something as simple as creating a quiz visitors can use to decide what their ideal vacation spot would be or as sophisticated as building a VR program that allows visitors to experience a trip before booking.

Even after tourists have booked their trip, attractions in particular can really benefit from personalisation tools that help inspire and guide visitors towards activities, exhibitions, and other amenities they might enjoy. 

Last year Disney’s theme park introduced the Genie trip-planning app. Users simply answer a few questions about their interests and Genie creates a custom itinerary with tailored suggestions on which parks and rides to visit, where to eat, and which activities they might enjoy. 

Give your guests the power to personalise their stay

During Tcube’s event, Sarah Somerville, Senior Director for Loyalty and Partnerships for Hilton Asia Pacific shared some insights from a survey the hotel conducted amongst its customers. According to their findings, one of their customer bases’ key motivations for travel after the pandemic was to reconnect with family, friends and loved ones. 

This meant that on-site, family-friendly activities were a priority for travellers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Minimising travel frictions and pre-trip peace of mind was critical for travellers from Singapore, Australia and India. 

Hilton addressed these concerns by launching the Hilton Honors app which gives guests the power to choose their room. This is especially important for family and friends who want to be close to each other in the hotel or business travellers who may want to be further away from colleagues. This includes the possibility to book connecting rooms which is particularly important for families travelling with children. They can also check-in digitally and use the app as a digital key to get into their room and other facilities. 

Although these options may seem small, giving guests more control over their stay helps give them peace of mind. 

In the MICE industry, we are now also experiencing a shift in focus from the wider event perspective towards the individual attendee. Rather than looking at each event audience as a whole, it’s time to go deeper by empowering event-goers with more personalised options. 

For example, networking is one of the key goals for attendees. After the pandemic, they are especially eager to have those inspiring coffee side exchanges and make essential connections that will help the future of their career. However, this is often left to chance encounters. 

To help attendees solve this challenge, many MICE organizers are now adopting AI-based matchmaking apps such as Brella and Jublia. Much like Linkedin, these tools use an algorithm to suggest potential networking partners based on an event-goer’s background and profile. Users can then select the most interesting matches and get in touch directly to schedule a coffee date or meeting during the event. 

Leverage data to get ideas for personalisation strategies

Adopting new smart technologies not only makes everything more convenient and enjoyable for customers, it also allows businesses to build up customer profiles which can be used to personalise future stays. 

During Tcube’s event, Kirti Chandel, Chief Product Officer (In-Room AI Assistants) at SparkleHaze shared:

“Every system in a hotel is a data mine in itself that has its own customer data sitting in there. But many businesses are not utilising it or they’re using it in an isolated manner. If you can bring all of this data together, it can make a huge difference.”

The company’s IoT app, WooHoo allows guests to control and access everything they need, from the heating and lighting of their rooms, to casting their personal Netflix accounts to their in-room TV screens. As part of the Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme, WooHoo piloted with PARKROYAL on Beach Road and found that, in addition to enhancing the customer experience, they were also able to gain better customer insights that can inform future personalisation strategies. 

Many tourism businesses already have access to a treasure trove of customer data, but are unable to utilise it. This is seen prominently in the gap between the online and the offline parts of the business: data collected while customers are browsing online is not accessible to other departments, and offline teams therefore cannot use those insights to improve the customer’s in-person experience. 

Equally, data collected during a customer’s stay or trip is stored separately, and therefore doesn’t inform the personalisation of any subsequent online messaging. A shortage in skills might also mean the company is unable to understand how best to use their existing data to carry out new digital strategies. 

However, processing and analysing information is something that can be automated. Data silos can be eradicated when businesses adopt a centralised management system or customer data platform (CDP). A centralised analytics platform can help a company process, store and aggregate raw, siloed information, which can then be translated into actionable insights for different departments to use. 

Furthermore, companies can also bring in and mesh data from external sources to their own datasets, such as from the STB Singapore Tourism Analytics Network, to identify seasonality and trends to anticipate demands and better manage their resources. Businesses can use these tourism-related insights to inform business decisions, achieve greater personalisation, and improve the customer experience.

For more inspiration for event organisers, check out STB’s Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP). Through our customisation services, we’re helping connect business event organisers with local partners who can provide the sustainable accommodation, activities, and venue options these agents are looking for. The scheme also provides MICE delegates with discounted fares and rates.