The travel industry is among the most volatile when it comes to customer loyalty. From booking flights to finding a place to stay after a long trek, engaging travelers is a constant point of focus for airlines, hotels, and any brand with a stake in the travel industry. A recent report from CrowdTap explores engagement opportunities in the vertical and how they continue to shift according to customer preferences.
The report demonstrates, above all else, the need for user-generated content (UGC) in engaging increasingly tech-savvy travelers. According to the data, 75 percent of millennial travelers look to UGC like reviews and blog posts as opposed to travel advertisements when booking a trip. This number only serves to underscore the significance of sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor in further crowdsourcing the travel review space.
Specifically, when it comes to getting around the destination, travelers have made it clear that they prefer to find their own way: 39 percent rent a car as opposed to using taxis or ridesharing apps, while another 22 percent simply prefer to hoof it, either walking or riding a bike. This paints a clear window of opportunity for the rental car industry to engage these walkers, potentially tapping into an entirely new market segment
“With holiday travel on the horizon, travel brands and marketers need to keep their ears to the streets, or in this case, the web, to best engage today’s travelers,” says Peter Storck, SVP of research and analytics at Crowdtap. “Our research shows now, more than ever, consumers are relying on UGC and word of mouth to ensure their travel experiences are successful, reliable, and authentic. Brands and marketers should take the time to truly understand the conversations happening across social and blogs to implement the most influential campaigns.”
The tendency for customers to blaze their own trails extends beyond transportation: 65 percent also noted preferring adventurous outdoor activities. While airlines and hospitality chains are the obvious benefactors of increased millennial travel, local businesses that may have previously been overlooked also stand to profit from these adventure-seeking travelers.
Brand loyalty, at least in the travel industry, continues to move further away from traditionally accepted methods like advertising and promotional discounts. Travelers, as seen by the CrowdTap research, continue to show a preference for user reviews, placing the onus on these brands to advertise through exceptional customer experience and positive content from previous guests.

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