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Digital Marketing: Optimization Challenges and Tactics for the Travel and Entertainment Industry

optimost blog.jpgA few weeks ago, my husband and I took our eight month old son on his first trip to the beach.  Before our trip, the most water Jacob had ever seen was during baths in the kitchen sink, so I really wanted to make this holiday something special.   I began researching travel options and soon realized that I was shopping for more than a budget-friendly condo, that I was researching restaurants that offered more than highchairs and patient wait staff. 


I was planning memories: those moments I’d look back on with that warm fuzzy feeling that meant I’d given my baby boy a really great experience.  Of course, it’s silly to think Jacob will remember the trip when he gets older, but that didn’t make much of a difference.  I wanted to plan a beach vacation that would be absolutely perfect for our little family.


Selling a travel experience

That’s the real trick for travel and entertainment companies:  more than just a product, they’re selling an experience.  To prosper, they need to make people fall in love with the idea of their perfect escape. 


Travel and entertainment brands’ digital experiences play a key role in selling that ideal retreat to each and every person that visits their site.  More than ever, marketers rely on data to help drive results.  But in a sea of data that continues to grow in volume and complexity, how do you decide what to look for or identify what’s valuable? 


I talked about the need for marketers to fully leverage all available data sources to get the most complete picture of their audience in my previous blog post, so I won’t rehash that today.  Instead, let’s talk about some of the finer points in that challenge and how to overcome them.


Challenge #1: Unstructured data

In the enterprise, the volume of unstructured data is rising three times faster than the classic structured sort.  Unstructured data includes things like social media, rich media, email and contact center communications, and so on.  In short, it includes anything that doesn’t fit prettily into rows and columns.


For T&E companies, figuring out the most effective way to wrangle with this human-friendly data is of particular importance, because travelers heavily rely on things like customer reviews, photos, and social media content when researching holidays and outings. 


For example, one of our HP Optimost customers offers an online hotel booking service.  Site visitors can search for results based on name, location, and price range.  Before Optimost, their site had been sorting search results based on an algorithm that only took into account distance from a defined landmark.  But after running a multivariate test (MVT) with HP Optimost, they discovered that incorporating customer reviews into their sorting algorithm—the higher the customer rating, the higher a result would be placed on the list—significantly increased the number of hotel bookings.  People place an almost absurd amount of trust in what other people think. (By the way, you can listen to Roger Brooks, CTO for Applications here at HP Autonomy, talk about the phenomenon of social trust here.  Roger led the team that developed the HP Digital Marketing Hub’s smart segmentation capabilities.)


Challenge #2: How to deploy your optimization solution

Marketers who leverage unstructured data—helping them understand their audience and optimize their content—give themselves a massive advantage.  But assuming you get your data under control, both the structured and unstructured sort, most brands’ next big challenge in deploying an optimization solution is exactly that:  how to deploy the solution.


That’s where HP Optimost really shines.  Our customers run the gamut from fully self-service (those A/B and MVT gurus who already know their stuff) to those who recognize the value of optimizing content but just don’t have the resources, time, or expertise.  Our team of optimization experts offers a flexible approach that helps you figure out what content really resonates with your audience.  That might mean we help you train a dream team with the statistical, analytical, product, and industry experience to uncover the insights you need or that we handle all of the tough stuff for you.  None of our customers have exactly the same needs, but we’re always enthusiastic about helping every brand we work with reach its full potential.


And here’s another common deployment challenge we hear about:  some optimization solutions require a lot of work upfront, increasing implementation lead time.  They require brands to essentially crowbar their software into the IT team’s development queue, which means it’s probably not going to make an impact on the next marketing campaign you’re planning.


That doesn’t have to be the case.  HP Optimost makes a concerted effort to avoid that scenario.  Whether you take advantage of our newly released VisualTest module or rely on Optimost’s team of experts, we’ve created an optimization solution that’s easy to deploy so you can start optimizing your content and driving lifts in conversion as quickly as possible.


Whether it’s the vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months or just a night out on the town, with the power of HP’s marketing optimization solutions, the world’s top travel and entertainment brands are serving up digital content that sparks that overwhelmingly satisfying feeling customers get when they discover exactly the experience they desired. 


Want to learn more?  Talk to us today.




You might also like:

Digital Marketing: Why are you ignoring the best part of your MVT data?

Digital Marketing: “Smarter segments” and the Next Gen Marketer

Digital Marketing: WhichTestWon Awards HP Optimost Customers for Testing Excellence

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About the Author
Jenny Ryan is a Director of Product Marketing at HP Autonomy. She’s devoted to helping brands learn to love their data, understand their au...

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