People are complicated: how TWIP is helping travel brands understand their consumers’ behaviour

Dec 4, 2019

On day two of STAY WYSE Miami, we welcomed Lauren Koenig, Co-Founder and CEO of TWIP, to the stage. Short for ‘Travel With Interesting People’, TWIP is a loyalty software that uses artificial intelligence and psychographic data to predict travel behaviour.

People love to travel; the travel and tourism industry is valued at close to USD 8 trillion. But understanding why people travel and what makes them tick is not as easy as you may think. In fact, people can be so perplexing that as Lauren put it, she should have named the company ‘Travel With Complicated People’. So how can we tap into our consumers and use this information to generate personalised experiences and brand loyalty?

Lauren highlighted the potential for using AI in predicting traveller behaviour as a way of objectively eliminating marketer bias. ¨Travel marketers let bias get in the way when talking to their customers,¨ she explained. ¨As humans, we make decisions based on our own emotions, knowledge and experience.¨ This is where classic buyer personas used in marketing are flawed; they do not explain why a person acts upon a motivation. Fuelled by this and as a way to assess consumer behaviour, TWIP introduced the concept of ‘Travalanities’ – or ten travel personalities that explain why people travel once you remove time, price and destination. A user can be a percentage of one Travanality or a mix of all. By identifying a consumer’s travanality, and thus understanding their travel behaviour, a brand can offer a personalised travel experience.

Why does personalisation matter in travel?

Lauren touched on the sociology of tourism and travel, citing sociologist Cohen who, back in 1972, grouped travellers into five categories: recreational, diversionary, experiential, experimental and existential. This was a first foray into identifying different types of tourists and predicting traveller behaviour, allowing travel companies to tailor their products, services and messaging to different audience types and create more personalised experiences. And personalised experiences engender brand loyalty, which in turn results in increased sales.

To create personalised customer journeys, it is imperative to understand the buyer persona, the demographics and the psychographics.¨You can’t map customer journey without data driven personas,¨explained Lauren. Brands can go further than the simple buyer persona and create psychographic personas by using these four steps:

  1. Decide on the messaging and imagery that will resonate with the persona
  2. Localise your content based on the consumer location
  3. Present dynamic content based on the consumer IP address, e.g., flights leaving from their location
  4. Test, refine, launch, repeat

Tips and best practices

Start with the user interface: make sure potential customers can access the product or service immediately on the website, within as few clicks as possible. Easy search options should be available, avoid unnecessary data fields to fill in and check out should be reachable in one click. Match messaging to what will resonate with the particular persona. Understand how to map out the user experience of your website.

In short, give your consumers what they want and make it easy to get. As summarised by Lauren, ¨the Golden Rule is garbage: stop treating people the way that you want to be treated and treat them the way that they want to be treated.¨