Watch now | OMD and Tourism Ireland launch The Travel Revolution at WTM’s Travel Forward

Tracking consumer need states and propensity to travel will give travel brands a leading edge as we navigate the recovery

OMD took to the virtual stage at yesterday’s WTM Travel Forward event, as speakers Jean-Paul Edwards and Carly Whiteford, launched the agency’s Travel Revolution research, in conversation with client Brian Harte, Head of Customer Engagement & E-Marketing at Tourism Ireland.

The Travel Revolution looks at the behaviours of consumers when it comes to the adoption of AI technologies. From our extensive three-year research, we know that three in five responders already own and use AI weekly, and that booking taxis, ordering food and booking event tickets are the most common uses of ‘voice’. Looking further, we know that most visual searches are around travel touchpoints. For example, potential holidaymakers looking for suggestions on where to vacation, by searching an image of their perfect getaway spot.

Unsurprisingly, one of the main barriers is that of trust. Consumers are worried about how their data is being used, but, the more they are using AI technology and receiving frictionless, personalised results, the more they want it.

Brian shared with the audience, the challenges and opportunities to managing consumer journeys at scale that he has experienced at Tourism Ireland. With 220million consumers in Tourism Ireland’s source market segment, Brian says “the idea that this is a homogenous segment, that these are the same people with the same behaviours and that we just need to target them through one campaign at a point of time is manifestly nonsense. And yet it’s marketing that we have been doing for many years. Every consumer is an individual, they have different need-states at different times, depending on who they are travelling with and so on. There is so much individual about the travel decision, and we need to serve that, but serve that at scale”.

We know people aren’t travelling right now, but we know there is a huge appetite and Brian explains that at Tourism Ireland, they have been using this year to take advantage of the time needed to build out their existing models so they are ready to welcome travellers back, to great success, in 2021. Brian explains that 2019 was about “laying foundations, making connections, building marketing taxonomy, building propensity and Next Best Action”. They have watched travellers arrive on the island of Ireland, and linked those travellers back to website visits, ad placements and have been refining the model to understand what methods work best, to get travellers to Ireland, and at what media investment per visit.

When asked by the audience on how the rise of AI will inform traditional advertising, JP closed the session explaining there there is still a huge role for traditional advertising, but with some technology helping with planning decisions, the coming together of traditional and digital will be the level of success, as they learn to live together.

You can watch ‘The Travel Revolution : Succeeding ‘now’ and ‘next’ in the post-pandemic travel landscape’ in full above.

The Travel Revolution is a point-of-view on how brands in the travel sector can survive ‘now’ and thrive ‘next’, laying out technologies that will aid in building consumer confidence once again and potentially shortening recovery times.

OMD experts can aid in the now of the recovery through our proprietary Fast Start Suite, pulling insights from the Fast Start Dashboard and acting upon data and market signals to advise clients when, how and if to target travel consumers.

As we look to the next we invite you to join us in bespoke ‘innovation agenda’ workshops, identifying the technologies to drive business growth today, and throughout the next five to ten years.

Download your copy of The Travel Revolution here.

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