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How geofencing can boost mobile?s influence on travel sector

NEW YORK ? Digital marketing executives at the Mobile Media Summit Upfront at Internet Week 2015 conference suggested that geofencing could be an optimal solution to enhance mobile?s influence on the travel sector, as location-based targeting takes off and more resorts become comfortable with sending personalized deals to consumers in the vicinity.

During the ?Audience Intelligence and Travel in Mobile session,? the executives discussed how their clients are using geofencing, a strategy that is experiencing lifts in spend for participating marketers, and agreed that the travel sector is one of the most forward-thinking industries when it comes to mobile. Consumers? increasing tendencies to book last-minute vacations or business trips on mobile has also boosted the sector, which is expected to become even more digitally inclined as wearables take off.

?We?re able to see globally what?s happening with travelers,? said Elizabeth Harz, president of media at Adara, New York. ?We?ve done geofencing around the world, and we?re able to show the actual bookings that happen as a result of campaigns.

?I think it?s fantastic you?re focusing on [travel] because there?s such ability with so many bookings happening online and on mobile.?

Leveraging data
Location-based targeting is able to alert consumers of new tourist areas or resorts they may not have previously heard of, while marketers are able to benefit from the data it offers them. An executive from Adweek discussed a campaign in which consumers in ski areas across the Midwest were targeted with beautiful photos of Montana, a ski-friendly state.

The campaign saw a $6.1 million dollar lift in spend for the state, which was able to attract more visitors interested in exploring its snowy activities.

The location data from these types of campaigns, as well as from travel brands? loyalty platforms, is able to significantly affect and benefit future marketing efforts.

?One of the greatest advantages that we have is loyalty program data,? Ms. Harz said. ?Outside of the big guys like Facebook and Google, it?s difficult to piece together consumer behavior across all devices.

?There are great opportunities throughout the whole travel life cycle to message and do interesting advertising. We?re able to talk to the consumer across those devices with the right creative.?

Personalized mobile service
The panel also tapped more personalized service on mobile as a feature that consumers can expect to see more prominently in the coming months. Several hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in Seattle, have already rolled out two-way SMS platforms that function as a digital concierge and enable consumers to text hotel employees with any requests they may have (see story).

When asked if mobile applications can replace customer service for travelers, one executive said she thinks they can, particularly for a certain demographic.

?When we look at silent travelers, it?s usually millennials and they do not want human interaction when it comes to travel,? said Asli Hamamci, managing director and senior partner at Mindshare, New York. ?A lot of luxury brands are allowing you to order breakfast before you get to the hotel, through the app.

?In the future, looking forward five years, we?ll be able to go into an app and select our room temperature or the type of bed,? she said. ?It will be super personalized for the traveler.

?The hotel brands and travel brands will be able to tap into that data and use it for their media strategies.?

The growing development of the Internet of Things will also contribute to the mobile-enhanced world of travel. Marketers will be able to more easily tap into users? preferences and leverage that data to offer a better customer experience in general.

?This larger conversation about the Internet of Things is so important for travel,? Adara's Ms. Harz said. ?There?s such an opportunity to use this kind of data to really delight travelers.

?There?s still that moment of anticipation, and when travel brands get it right, you?re almost as delighted on a business trip as you are when you?re on a vacation,? she said. ?You?re able to relax more because the brand?s got it right.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York