… and why is it a good idea?
‘Hyperlocal’ was recently lauded by Phocuswire as the ‘new global’ for the travel industry, when it comes to curating experiences for travellers and the act of using informed data to do so. Hyperlocalisation refers to the use of big data and research analytics to engage with consumers in a highly specific, segmented basis, usually informed by factors such as regional preferences, demographics, and personal interests.
When the recommendations reflect an authentic understanding of neighbourhoods and what they offer, we call them ‘hyperlocal.’
Commonly used as marketing strategy to offer personalised marketing to customer segments as a way of increasing the likelihood of securing bookings, hyperlocalisation is something that the travel industry should be moving towards and inhabiting as a strategy as well, considering the benefits that this strategy offers to travel providers and sellers, but also bearing in mind the recent shift in consumer preferences for more meaningful cultural experiences.
As well as ‘discovering their own back garden’ as it were, many travellers are making more thoughtful decisions when it comes to where they’ll go and what they’ll do when they arrive at their destination of choice. A desire for connection at a deeper level with local communities, as a base, is calling for recommendations from travel providers that take into consideration the fact that travellers are increasingly prioritising minimising the harmful impact of their journey on the planet, local communities and themselves.
Therefore, hyperlocalising is a beneficial way of ensuring that as travel providers, you’re offering insightful recommendations that are informed by market data as well as macro and micro economic factors, and environmentalism.
More and more people are expecting hyperlocalisation as standard.
Data from a Google study suggests that online searches without ‘near me’ or location qualifiers (such as postcodes or city names) have grown 150% faster than searches which include these things. Users now more readily expect Google, and therefore other sources of information and recommendations, to automatically take into consideration their location when serving them results.
What does this mean?
Geo-location tracking is something that internet users expect as a standard, in order to serve accurate and relevant recommendations whenever they’re needed. This indicates a massive shift not only in attitudes towards real-time geolocation tracking, but also the relevance and real-time accuracy of the recommendations that customers expect. This relates, therefore, to the accuracy of recommendations they receive when booking travel.
Travel is deeply personal, and for many it has been a chance to create genuine connection to a destination of choice; this is now more true than ever as travellers seek localised experiences, authentic connection with businesses, and informed recommendations from their travel providers.
So, what shape might hyperlocal recommendations take?
Rapidly advancing technology such as machine learning, and real-time insights driven by AI algorithms can be used to personalise the booking process and make recommendations based on traveller preferences, and booking behaviours in a providers’ market.
This approach can not only help to streamline the booking process - for clients and providers alike - but it also improves customer satisfaction. For instance, travel companies can use machine learning algorithms to suggest local activities and restaurants based on a traveller’s past preferences.
Customer data is the driving force in an unprecedented level of customer service, when we think about the hyper-localisation of the marketing industry in particular. Across industries, gathering relevant customer data has been at the forefront of most challenges that marketers in general, not just travel marketers, have faced. Now, with the advancement of technology like AI, and machine learning platforms, this brings a turning point that can allow for the collection, analysis and utilisation of customer data even easier.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the advancement of technology like AI can only go so far - and has only gone so far. The benefits of AI is dependent on the people who shape this technology in the first place. We’ve recently seen first hand that platforms like ChatGPT can bring rise to questions and doubts regarding the legality, and morality of its use. AI is still dependent on the input of human knowledge.
So in this sense, travel experts working in the market, communicating with other sellers and the end traveller are still very much in the driving seat when it comes to how we move forward with providing even more individualised recommendations for travellers.
However, using intuitive booking platforms powered by effective algorithms can ensure that you’re getting the best of both worlds with efficiently ranked hotels influenced by customers’ preferences and specific requirements, and simultaneous access to a vast portfolio of accommodation which allows you to better meet traveller needs from the start.
In fact, our Hotelbeds Booking Engine offers you exclusive access to 300,000 properties across 195 countries worldwide!
Our Booking Engine is an intuitive, powerful booking platform which also:
Doing so is a sure-fire way of opening up those valuable conversations that help you get insight into their specific preferences, so you can provide their perfect trip.
Of course, the importance of personalisation can never be overstated, especially when it comes to really understanding what customers want in order to offer truly hyperlocal recommendations.
Doing extensive research and using big data have become an unspoken part of hyperlocal marketing, as customers become more and more demanding. A recent study by WeTravel found that personalisation was the name of the game when it comes to customer expectations, with around 85% of tour operator respondents suggesting that this demand had led them to offer customisation options and add ons onto their tours.
This notion of personalisation is equally important when you’re considering your offerings, how you’re meeting the needs of your customers, and also your online presence and the content or products that you’re recommending via social media.
Why? Because product recommendations can be put in place in real-time, on many different communication channels all at once to offer personalised recommendations using omni channel marketing. This is one of the key benefits of hyperlocalisation - the act of being at the forefront of a customers’ mind when they search for activities or inspiration in a local area.
Utilising big data, past customer data and current trends can inform your marketing decisions to help strategise in a way that ensures you are the travel provider offering relevant, unique and up to date content to travellers at the moment when they are most likely to be influenced by it.
Regardless of whether it is e-mail messages or visuals on a website, your product recommendations to existing or new customers should always be unique and up to date with what your audience’s expectations are at the time. This means you need to be able to control which recommendations a customer sees or is served, based on their past behaviours - utilising advanced data touchpoints to tailor your online marketing to do so is a must in this digital era, when customer loyalty depends so much on personalisation from the start.
At the heart of it, hyperlocalisation is as much about exploring that which is within, or near to, a travellers’ familiar area as it is getting into the ‘nitty gritty’ of a destination abroad.
So, with this in mind, it’s important to consider how as travel providers you’re also able to accommodate domestic experiences, with a particular focus on businesses and suppliers which are locally owned.
A recent study suggests that around 68% of global travellers plan to stay more within their own region in the coming months, and 35% have suggested that they plan to take more weekend trips - which indicates an increasing need for hyperlocal travel experiences.
One way to offer hyperlocal recommendations - while also minimising negative impact on the local communities, which is key for many travellers today - is to focus on experiences, tours, transfers and hotels which are locally owned that resonate with the specific prferences and tastes of your travellers. Not only does this boost the local economy in the area, but it also offers travellers a chance to meaningfully connect with the people in their destination of choice.
A key instance of focusing on locally run tours and experiences is that of tour operator Destinate Travel, which gives visitors to South Africa the chance to learn and share skills from locals across this vast region.
With a focus on ‘connecting travellers to the places, experiences and people that will guarantee holidays of a lifetime’, this is a key business model that is excelling within today’s era of conscious travel, and effortlessly incorporates the idea of hyperlocal travel.
Feeding into the idea of the importance of locally owned businesses and ‘staycations’, many hotels and travel companies began promoting this type of travel after the massive impact of the pandemic on customer behaviours and the preference to stay closer to home. And although international travel is in demand again, these behaviours are still very much prevalent within the travel industry.
Whether a traveller is simply looking to explore their home region in more depth, or is perhaps embarking on a workcation, within their own home town or region, many travellers are more likely to have access to a personal bank of knowledge about the area, where to go, safety information, and personal associations which will inform their choices.
But this does not mean that there will not be consistent demand to learn more about even the places they are familiar with, supported by the fact that domestic travel has remained popular even after global borders opened and international travel was more readily available.
In this sense, it’s important that travel providers are able to offer emotionally resonant personalisation to travellers, and with this a unique chance for a traveller to connect more deeply with a region they may or may not already know and love.
By using technology that offers real-time safety data, as an example, and combining this with a powerful Booking Engine can supplement recommendations made to travellers with data-rich insights at a granular level. This is where peak customer satisfaction lives!
Explore the benefits of our exclusive Booking Engine today by signing up as one of our clients, and begin accessing an expansive global network of properties that form perfect base points from which your clients can explore their chosen destination.
It’s beneficial to understand how hotels, whether global chains or boutiques, are accommodating to the shift in traveller preference for locally-focused recommendations.
In other areas of the travel industry, hotels should consider what data-led, human-informed hyperlocal insights can do for them as providers. Real-time safety data is invaluable for everything from concierge recommendations to pricing models and elasticity.
In this case, as with any recommendations that are offered to travellers, the depth of offering and the sincerity of the experience are key. Douglas McHugh, of London’s Bankside Hotel suggests that ‘guests want to feel a connection to the area in which they are staying, but not in a contrived way.’
This is important to remember when providing recommendations for travellers, even if these are part of a wider portfolio offered during self-booking processes. Tailoring the booking process to each customer is vital, to boost the chances of travellers securing those bookings with you, and not another provider who is offering more tailored experiences to their specific requirements.
From partnering with neighbourhood gyms or wellness coaches, offering exhibition spaces for local artists to display their work, to using local insider knowledge to influence bar, restaurant and experience recommendations to guests, or even having hotel designs that reflect the culture of the surrounding area, hotels are diving deep into the understanding that travellers want their stay to be more connected to the local area than ever and are finding innovative ways of incorporating that into their every day business structure.
There’s no reason that, as travel providers, you can’t do the same!
In today’s digital age, technology has reached a point where through the use of mobiles, wearable tech and other devices, there is a far greater degree of hyperlocality that can be identified than ever before. The use of this data to inform and inspire travellers with refined, location-specific data that has crucial details about the local communities and safety, for example, is something that can change the game of travel completely. Travel providers, car rentals, hotels, and the tourism industry at large can harness this technological power.
Apps like Google maps offer more hyperlocalised, real-time data than ever, and if the tourism industry and technology firms across the world worked in tandem, then travellers can be reliably encouraged to explore beyond their closest, most familiar destinations - incentivising and supporting the growth of local communities in a way that is sustainable, and far-reaching.
The combination of advanced data and the expertise of travel providers is where peak customer satisfaction lives; because after all, algorithms don’t consider the uniquely specific needs of a four-person family planning their trip to the same destination as a solo traveller. This is where travel providers and your use of customer data and localised data from geo-location apps like Google maps, can create customer experiences that go beyond what they could receive if they planned their trip alone, and it’s where the key value of travel experts lies!
Of course, it’s important that you’re supported by a vast global network of properties to offer your travellers - which is exactly what we offer at Hotelbeds!
Our clients get exclusive access to 300,000 properties in trending destinations worldwide, in an intuitive, powerful platform that is designed to: