The message is clear: brands who embrace the Engagement Economy will thrive and those that don’t will falter.
Our mobile culture has fostered an assumption and expectation of connectedness. While we're used to staying connected with friends, family, colleagues and contacts, increasingly brands and businesses need to meet consumer expectations of connectedness. This is what we now call the Engagement Economy.
Brands which succeed in finding the balance of connectedness and usefulness will create sustained, competitive advantage and a loyal customer following. Those that are proactive in the Engagement Economy will develop more valuable and longer term customer relationships leading to higher revenues, profitability and loyalty.
Mobile’s influence on travel decision-making
Today’s travel consumer is hyper-connected and open to suggestions of anything that might take the stress out of their travel experience. Brands immersed in the Engagement Economy are already seeing it as an opportunity to deliver excellent customer service and also capitalise on key moments to sell ancillaries. Offering additional products, services and support to the traveller when and where they are needed and relevant is the main benefit of the Engagement Economy.
Statista estimates that there are approximately 2.1 billion smartphones on the planet, with that number set to rise to 2.87 billion by 2020. However, before mobile and widespread wifi made instant communication viable, travelers would have to call airline advisors on the phone or consult with them at kiosks in the airport. Failing that, they could pay to access the internet in one of the stationary desktops at the airport terminal. With mobile, airlines can create additional touchpoints beyond the traditional half dozen or so identifiable points in the traveller journey.
Mobile provides travellers and travel companies with seemingly limitless ways to interact. End-to-end journey push, email and SMS campaigns are just some examples of how assertive airlines can be with mobile.
Why the Engagement Economy matters
Nowadays, the onus is on airlines and travel companies to deliver authentic, personalized experiences straight to the palm of their customers’ hand via mobile. Customers expect the brands they do business with to be fully operational and reciprocal in their engagement. But knowing how - and when - to engage is the real challenge in the Engagement Economy.
The modern consumer is more informed, savvy, and selective about which brands they give their business to. Increasingly they are choosing companies whose services fit seamlessly with their busy schedules. Consumers seek out brands that demonstrate they understand ”me” and can engage at a personal level. They are looking for a level of sophistication that translates as understanding: interactions have to be meaningful, not simply an excuse to make a profit.
That said, research bears out on the fact modern consumers will happily pay for something that makes their lives easier. Data on customers can lead to greater personalization and is subsequently a primary driver of revenue and sales in the Engagement Economy. For example, remembering known preferences from previous transactions offers airlines a competitive advantage and increased customer loyalty.
The core challenge for brands in a mobile-first world is to gain the attention and loyalty of consumers. Understanding how, when and why travellers want to be engaged is key to successful participation in the Engagement Economy.
What to know more about the Engagement Economy and touchpoints along the travel journey? Download the our new eBook "The Engagement Economy in Travel".