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Global Consumer Communications in Travel Retail

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” – global consumer communications in travel retail.

September 2015 | by Julia Padgett, Marketing and Communications Director

Almost every person and business across the globe has the ability to communicate directly with you right this very second.

Some may send you an email, others may mention you in a social media status and a few may even send you a text message. They will all come through to your inbox, yet your choice to read them or not puts the success of the communication in your control.

Just because the technology works, doesn’t mean that it will work on you.

More than delivering information

This year’s Trinity Forum puts the consumer at the heart of all industry stakeholder collaborations. Research suggests that quality, collaborative communication influences overall consumer satisfaction rates and is crucial to long-term customer centricity*. As industry commentators have referenced at the Trinity Forum, the fears that the analogue world of travel retail could become obsolete are not unreal.

Travel retail has some way to go in providing the traveller with a true digitial offer. Some technology is utilised, in the knowledge that 80% of travellers will have an electronic device on them during their journey, and a limited number airport retailers have already begun to use smartphone applications combined with geo-location technology to improve the airport travel experience. But there is some way to go in embracing digital fully and developing the path to purchase to reinforce the importance of the airport stores.

As tomorrow’s innovations overtake today’s technology at an accelerated pace, it’s evident the industry isn’t currently optimising most of the digital communications available, and simply operating at a minimum standard. With such a frequent introduction of new products in the face of growing consumer demands, monitoring the success and ROI of multi-channel technologies can be a bit of an unknown.

To uncover the value in digital technology, it’s worth considering the very content that the communication contains – because it’s this that will help ensure travel retail’s vast consumer base is served in the best and most collaborative ways possible.

What’s next?

Our research indicates that multi-channel technology can be optimised by communicating to consumers in more meaningful and personalised ways.

Facebook has recently improved its communications to boost business and consumer interaction** – particularly on phones. There are over 45 million SMEs with a Facebook page that can now interact more effectively with their target audience and create strategic, ongoing relationships.

Social media is an excellent way to monitor and identify content of interest to specific consumer segments*. The consumer is in complete control of their own communication in this channel, so building trust via interaction in this way maximises the chance of the communication being well-received – which should then impact positively across other channels.

Advances in technology enable the travel retail industry to extend beyond its physical realms and offer added value to the consumer. For example, as 80% of consumers are willing to use digital and remote channels for tasks and transactions***, there is an opportunity here at each stage of the traveller’s journey: perhaps they would like to be reassured on the way to the airport that their flight is on time; maybe, when they’re in-store, they’d like to know that their favourite fragrance is on offer – and, once they’ve reached their destination, they would like some local tips and travel recommendations.

Digital technology has the increased ability to cater for different types of passenger profiles and personal preferences. If the consumer feels the communication is speaking to them, they are more likely to engage in a conversation with the individual, company or brand.

Anything is possible in the rapidly progressing world of digital technology. For travel retail, it will be a case of implementing the advances to improve the quality of the traveller experience. After all, communicative technology is ultimately powered by people.

  

Sources:

* http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-2014-global-customer-insurance-survey/$FILE/ey-global-customer-insurance-survey.pdf

**  http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2015/sep/08/facebook-unveils-updates-businesses-customers

*** https://www.whatech.com/market-research/telecommunications/90532-discover-the-global-next-generation-communication-technologies-market-asia-pacific-expected-to-dominate-the-market-in-coming-future

Image: https://www.alepo.com

If unspecified: CiR database.