Digitization brings more complexity and possibilities for the travel industry than ever before. In the tourism industry, where it can often take people weeks or months to book their perfect trip, many marketers feel overwhelmed by the possibilities.

When searching for a variety of topics, from “cheap flights Munich Mallorca” to “booking a ski holiday with children online”, travelers can come into contact with hundreds of different digital touchpoints when researching an upcoming trip. For other travel topics such as “Winter Holidays Austria” there can be even more touchpoints.

Fortunately, machine learning and automation offer travel brands the ability to control the digital chaos – not just to make things easier, but also to generate measurable sales growth.

The number of channels through which travel companies can reach their customers has multiplied. As a result, the approach to using data must fundamentally change. Travel marketers should work to understand the real benefits machine learning can bring to their business, and how to use it consistently.

These are three questions every marketer should ask themselves

Have you standardized your data sources?

Compared to other industries, travel marketers have the opportunity to develop a deeper connection with their customers because they know more precisely who their customers are based on data: How many business trips has someone taken in the past year? How many children do you have? Do you decide on a certain type of room or a certain equipment in a hotel? How do the preferences of regular customers differ from those of new customers?

The connection of your data will help you to gain valuable knowledge about your customers and thus to better respond to their needs.

Align your internal data sources (such as e-mail campaigns and loyalty programs) and then integrate relevant data from third-party providers (e.g. target group signals from Google search or from YouTube videos) into your systems. It’s not an easy task, but the right insights can help you get more impactful messages and content across to your (potential) customers at the right time.

Basically, the more customer data sources you can coordinate, the better.

Do you measure what really matters?

Base your marketing goals on business growth. So you can concentrate on the really important key figures.

Travel companies should have a performance metric for every marketing initiative. Aligning the KPI targets at C-Level – such as number of bookings, sales, gross margin, or profit – ensures that internal teams have a common goal and do not work with independent performance indicators and incentives.

Try to focus on creating and using the metrics that are real to your business. Some metrics lose relevance over time and can change based on your business goals. Check your metrics regularly to identify two things: 1. Does it have a direct impact on your sales or bottom line? and 2. Does she help her customers?

If a metric does not meet either of these two requirements, it is not relevant.

Automate with machine learning

Once you get a feel for the dates and goals that matter to your business, machine learning can help you find the most profitable audience. Some customers are more valuable to your company than others.

Automation can help you attract the most profitable customers as cheaply as possible. Most travel marketers now believe that machine learning can help create new business opportunities for their companies, but so far they are not consistently putting this knowledge into practice.

Traveler behavior and the travel industry will continue to evolve. If you accept change and incorporate machine learning into your decisions, you have every opportunity to develop your marketing as an important growth driver in your company.