Transforming Your Travel Business’ Digital Marketing with AI

November 22, 2023
Kathryn Foley (she/her)
3 min read

The key to leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to support your travel business’s digital marketing is finding tools to super-power personalization, creating a tailored customer journey that fosters a sense of connection with travelers. 

WeTravel’s upcoming 2024 Travel Trends Report notes that despite the industry’s ongoing AI buzz, more than half of multi-day travel businesses are reluctant to integrate AI into their operations. With the technology’s benefits now widely acknowledged - from improving efficiency to powering creativity - where has this disconnect in the travel space come from? 

One notable concern has been businesses’ hesitation to replace a human touch and lived experience with machines. And despite the buzz of trip planning using AI systems from ChatGPT to’s own tool, travelers are indeed still looking for a human touch. 

A recent consumer travel study by Persado revealed that 25% of travelers are motivated to take a trip following recommendations by family and friends, while only 6% are driven to book following an email promotion or sponsored social media promotion respectively. So can using more ‘un-human’ technology really boost marketing and drive sales? 

Where does AI fit into travel businesses' digital marketing strategy? 

While no technology could ever truly replace human connection, it can help nurture certain elements of it. The connection that travelers seek - whether that’s connecting with people or place - could be understood, in part, as the desire to have their personal preferences understood. 

By any other name, listening to traveler preferences and creating a bespoke customer journey to reflect this, is personalization - one of this year’s most important travel consumer trends. So, while AI can’t replace human connection, it can certainly power personalization - and do it more efficiently and effectively than any travel professional could. 

grandfather booking a trip

Traditionally, businesses may have thought of connection as being something that’s created with the traveler once they’re on their trip. This perspective assumes that the connection is either cultivated by the travelers themselves, for example with the destination that they visit, or with the people they meet there - whether that’s fellow travelers, the local community, or their tour guides. 

But we now know that cultivating connection begins the moment a prospective traveler engages with a travel business. The key difference between digital marketing efforts that succeed and those that don’t is how personalized you can make that first encounter. 

A personalized customer journey relies heavily on the ability to analyze large volumes of data, which simply wouldn’t be possible without AI. But by utilizing a variety of AI-powered tools to understand each traveler's preferences, and then building a digital marketing strategy to reflect this, a world of possibilities reveals itself.

Making content creation more than a stab in the dark 

As any travel business owner knows, content creation is an incredibly important, but also incredibly time-consuming part of any digital marketing strategy. From writing blog articles to social media posts, creating videos to drafting copy for paid ads, the volume of work can feel relentless. And this is without considering a personalized content journey for different groups of travelers. Enter AI. 

Not only can AI produce large volumes of creative content to support digital marketing strategies, but it can also analyze vast amounts of traveler data to understand what resonates with a business’s target market - the key to creating highly personalized content. Through an understanding of what descriptions, phrases or images would attract potential customers, AI has the ability to significantly enhance click-through and conversion rates, ultimately boosting sales and improving customer satisfaction. 

digital marketers working for travel company

What’s next for personalized content? 

Creating personalized content to support a digital marketing strategy is only half of the battle. The other half relates to delivering the content to the right audience, at the right time. This is where AI-optimized email and social media marketing strategies come in. 

Rather than simply guessing when the optimal time to send emails might be, through analyzing user data and behavior, AI enables businesses to send targeted and relevant recommendations to potential travelers relating to where they are in the booking cycle, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion. Not only this but through analyzing historical data and performance metrics, AI tools can identify patterns and trends that lead to higher open rates and click-through rates. 

Similarly, by combing through huge quantities of data from social media platforms, AI tools are able to gain insights into traveler preferences, behaviors, and trends - in seconds. Just as for email marketing campaigns, this information can then be used to create targeted and personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with the audience. For example, AI algorithms can identify patterns in customer interactions and recommend the most effective content or advertisements to be shown to specific segments of the target market.

The other major benefit is that AI can automate the entire process, which maximizes efficiency and saves money, freeing up vast amounts of time and resources for businesses to focus on the operations that require a human touch. 

The travel businesses that succeed through integrating AI into their operations will not be those that use the technology to replace the wealth of knowledge that their staff or on-the-ground suppliers have. Those who get ahead using AI will leverage the ability to personalize the customer journey for every single traveler. By personalizing the customer journey, businesses can drive more meaningful engagement and create a positive experience for each customer, sparking the beginning of a journey of connection that all travelers seek.