Read below for part 2 of our interview with Divya Ramaswamy, VP of Digital Marketing at Wego. This interview is an excerpt from our recently published eBook, Digital Travel Transformation. You can find Part 1 of the interview here

What are some steps or best practices you can share on how marketers can make data a bigger part of what informs their marketing strategy?

There are so many businesses supplying first and third party data, and it’s important that it’s used effectively. It’s necessary to understand how that data is beneficial to you, and in what situations it can be applied.

At Wego, data helps us to make strategic and informed decisions in all our marketing approaches. There are a variety of market segments in the travel business, and we need to know the path in which different travellers take online, and understand why. For instance, business and leisure travel intentions are completely different, along with age groups, target country, and origin. Data provides us with an ability to better understand each of our markets so we can deliver relevant marketing messages to them.

How has technology impacted your digital marketing campaigns?

Improvements in technology, particularly in the media buying and bidding areas, are interesting. Various third party platforms, such as Kenshoo, help in attaining a healthy balance between automation and manual ops. These advancements have the most impact in increasing efficiency and helping marketers spend more time on strategy and analysis, which is where focus should be directed.

What are some of the priorities you think digital marketers in the travel industry should focus on in 2016?

Travel, particularly for pleasure, is an immersive and emotive experience, and it’s important to connect with users at that personal level. Experimenting with different formats, making more use of video, creating compelling content, and combining user generated content with brand messaging should be priorities for online travel marketers.

What’s next for the travel industry? How will this affect your digital marketing strategies?

Online travel is the one space that will continue to grow and expand in scope. Users’ expectations are also changing and evolving. The focus is on unique experiences, with the social and sharing aspects assuming unprecedented importance, and solo travel is becoming popular again.

The travel industry is required to provide more than just booking facilities or act as information providers. Brands need to differentiate themselves, either with value added services, offering the best prices, providing tailored itineraries to suit different preferences, or combining different modes of transport to offer the most cost effective trip. It’s about being creative and providing great service.

Digital marketing however is likely to follow a more personalised route. We now have more understanding of our users through data than ever before, so it follows that we continue to deliver more relevant and useful communications to our users, and efficiently meet their needs.