New research provides strategic insights for travel brands

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New research has uncovered the true behaviors of travelers, which is particularly valuable for travel brands as they seek to understand their share of the wallet with customers, yet are limited by their own data.

ADARA, travel data co-op and provider of traveler intelligence for travel brands, today announced findings from its newly-published research paper entitled Understanding the secret lives of top tier travelers.” The company found that a significant number of basic and elite loyalty members belong to more than one loyalty program. The data reveals that 17% of all top tier air travelers belong to more than one loyalty program, while 24% of all top tier hotel members belong to more than one loyalty program. Additionally, the report reveals the “share of mind” that hotel and airline brands have with their top tier travelers, and how significantly it is at risk during the planning phase. Most significantly:

  • 40% of top-tier airline travelers searched more than one brand
  • 51% of top-tier hotel travelers searched more than one brand

The research found that 49% of basic airline members also searched more than one brand, compared to 54% of basic hotel members. For airlines the design of their loyalty programs has contributed to a 9% difference (49% vs. 40%) between basic and top tier comparison-shopping. Determining the true impact of loyalty tiers on consumer behavior and evaluating performance relative to the perks represents one of many important opportunities for travel brands as they refine loyalty programs, improve their personalization strategies and plan marketing tactics for 2019 and beyond.

“Travel brands have been at a disadvantage as they have a very limited view of their consumers’ behavior beyond their own brand. To provide the relevance consumers demand, it is critical that brands do as much as they can to understand the entire picture of consumers’ search and booking behavior, and use those insights to improve one-to-one communication,” said Carolyn Corda, CMO at ADARA. “ADARA’s unique research provides new early-warning indicators in shifts in brand affection that reveal opportunities for brands to refine their messaging and approach as they seek an advantage in a competitive market.”

Data was analyzed by ADARA from over 11 million consumers who booked air and hotel travel and are members of at least one loyalty program, between May and July in 2018. The data compares the behaviors of loyalty members as they plan and purchase travel. The company researched “basic” loyalty members, those in the first tier of a loyalty program, and “top tier” members, who have earned a higher tier status with at least one loyalty program.

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