Insights Article

Segmenting Travel Audiences: Understanding Your Customers
11th April 2023
customer segmentation

Our previous article covered some general insights into how UK consumers are responding to travel and holidaymaking post-pandemic, but mid cost-of-living crisis. Here, we explore the importance of customer segmentation in gaining insights into diverse travel audiences, and how it can help travel companies effectively reach their target consumers. We’ll delve into key differences in behaviours and preferences across age groups, social media usage, holiday types, and accommodation preferences, providing a roadmap for creating effective marketing strategies that drive business growth.

Why is segmentation important in the travel industry?

All tourists are not the same. Travelling means, and looks like, different things to different people – some travellers want 5* luxury on a secluded beach, whilst others want to trek across the Atacama desert and enjoy the star-studded night skies. Segmenting your audience is important in gaining a clearer picture of this diverse group and understanding where to reach them, supporting you as you create products and messages that are effective in speaking to your target consumer.

Differences between travel segments are evident when looking across the different age groups, and this is most applicable when looking at social media usage. Aspirational travel accounts and sponsored influencer trips have been a fixture on social media, especially on Instagram, for a number of years now, and with good reason. Our recent survey found that 68% of 18–39 year-olds have used social media for travel inspiration. A third of this age group say they have booked a holiday destination or activity after seeing it on social media.

These figures are reversed for consumers aged 40-65, where 65% state that they don’t use social media for holiday inspiration, and only 13% have made a booking after seeing social media content. Typically, consumers over 40 are more likely to engage with Facebook or YouTube rather than Instagram. They’re also less likely to be represented in standard social media campaigns on Instagram, so therefore they may dismiss the channel when planning or booking their holidays.

There are other key differences in the types of holidays that are popular with different age segments. Beach holidays, family holidays and city breaks were the most popular choices overall but those aged 18-39 were more likely to select adventurous holidays including skiing, road trips and romantic getaways. Compared to women, more men said they would be making solo trips, going camping or on safari.

Segmenting Audiences Based on Behaviours

While it can be useful to look at your customers from a broader demographic perspective, such as where they live, their age or gender, it is important to remember that there are distinct differences in behaviours for people who belong to the same broader demographic groups. This is why we focus on segmenting audiences based on their mindsets and behaviours instead, using our purpose-built audience segmentation tool to identify similarities within larger audiences, grouping them based on their motivations, attitudes, and preferences.

This offers a new level of insight beyond age and gender differences. For instance, half of our respondents have children under 18 in their household but only 53% of those would describe themselves as ‘family travellers’ who prioritise the needs of the children when planning a holiday: illustrating that simply having children is not sufficient to define this segment.

Additionally, 16% of our respondents identified as ‘UK holidayers’ but do not belong to any specific age group, location or gender. However, they still display distinct behavioural patterns. For example, UK holidayers prefer to stay closer to home and are twice as likely to be considering camping or caravans as their preferred accommodation. But if we were to segment our audiences based only on broader demographic data, we may have not identified this group of potential consumers.

A full segmentation of your customer base will provide new dimensions to your understanding of who your customer is. Audience segmentation helps you to gain a better understanding of what consumers value the most, what they feel like they’re missing and how best to reach them. Ultimately, identifying opportunities to build a marketing strategy that effectively resonates with your target consumer and helps to deliver business growth.

To learn more, browse our website or get in touch today for help with segmenting your audience.

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