travellers' motivations
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What to do when your clients aren’t completely rational.

More than any other professional, travel agents know that clients are not always the most rational people.

In one of our previous blogs, Kenyan-based consultant Ali Abdallah Abuu received a special request from a passenger who told him: “I am a business class ticket holder and I must be given priorities. Kindly could I ask the pilot to stop the aircraft while in the air so I can take selfies with the clouds.”

Every travel agent has at least one story of a strange request from a client. Although sometimes these requests stem from the fact that the client is slightly eccentric, this is not always the case.

The reality is that emotions play a big role in the travel purchasing process, explains Anna Kofoed, Vice President Travel Content Sourcing, Travel Channels, Amadeus IT Group, in the Amadeus whitepaper, The importance of understanding travellers’ motivation.

Clients will base their travel decisions on a number of ‘rational’ criteria at the time of booking. They’ll look at the price, the dates of travel and will take into consideration whether they’re travelling for leisure or business.

However, there are also a number of far less tangible motivations that will drive travellers’ decisions. They will, for example, be influenced by the subjective feedback from their friends or family regarding the destination. Their mood at the time they research their travel options, as well as their environment (are they at work or at home?) and the time of day can all play a significant role in the decision-making process.

Travellers can’t be defined by algorithms alone

In recent decades, technology has unlocked a deeper understanding of how people search, book and experience travel. Big data analytics and machine learning are allowing the industry to absorb and utilise more data than ever before. The ability to ‘anticipate’ and ‘predict’ what travellers want is now a reality.

However, insights based on algorithms and the assumption that travellers are solely rational, are insights flawed with limitations, according to Kofoed. Travellers have individual idiosyncrasies and subtle personal motivations that need to be carefully understood if travel companies are to foster deep, lasting and authentic customer relationships.  

It’s important to keep in mind that we operate in an industry that is incredibly personal, emotional and complex. The challenge for the industry is to understand the importance of the underlying travel motivations in order to offer their clients the fully personalised dream experience they are looking for.

Read more about understanding your travellers’ motivations, in the Amadeus whitepaper. This whitepaper will provide you with a number of insightful recommendations to ensure personalisation and therefore the full relevance of the offers to your travellers.