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‘Surprise Me’: A User Engagement Guide For Travel Hospitality Brands

User Engagement Guide For Travel & Hospitality Brands
User Engagement Guide For Travel & Hospitality Brands
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With every season comes enthusiastic travelers and experienced globetrotters—and this comes with a buzzline for airlines, hotels, and OTAs.

How, then, can travel and hospitality brands make the most of every user that comes in contact with their brands? Ensuring every user’s first time leaves a memory that keeps them coming back is achievable. If your focus is increasing ROl for your business, then you shouldn’t be sleeping on hyper-personalized recommendations.

Imagine this:
A potential user visits your website hoping to find and book a flight with set filters, only to be told that their desired flight is sold out.

User Facing sold-out pop-up

What does this mean for your travel company?

  • Your users are likely abandoning the booking process, causing an increase in drop-off rates.
  • Your users are becoming unsatisfied with the flight search results, and they leave unhappy.
  • You are most likely losing these users to competitors who use real-time recommendations to suggest alternatives

Whether your users are dropping off because of high demand, limited capacity, scheduling conflicts, or the unavailability of preferred flights, you can stop the frustration and potential drop-offs in your booking process using automation.

How about showing your user the next best possible option for their search in real-time? You can achieve this with a recommendation and catalog engine.

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to use real-time recommendations to reduce churn for your airline, hotel, and OTA users.

Explaining Catalogs and Real-Time Recommendations

For modern travel companies, implementing the use of marketing automation is one way for your business to stay one step ahead of the competition and get better customer retention and satisfaction.

Catalogs and Real-Time Recommendations

Catalogs let you keep all your product info in one place and leverage that info to send communications only to the user. An example would be getting the latest discounted price for a flight/hotel room from a catalog instead of the standard price.

The Recommendation Engine lets you hyper-personalize your messaging and make recommendations based on your users’ actions. For example, if a flight/hotel room is unavailable, you can use our recommendation engine to draw information from the Catalog to suggest alternatives that match the users’ search criteria.

How does it work?

It’s simple, analyzing every user activity and communication enables the recommendation engine to provide real-time suggestions to the user.

For example, if a user purchases a flight ticket to their destination, the recommendation engine can recommend a cab service to/from the source/destination airport.

Companies use recommendations not just for website visits but also as a key role in leveraging marketing campaigns as well.

You can learn more about how our recommendation engine works here.

Applications of Real-time Recommendations for Travel and Hospitality Companies

Manan Bajoria Quote

The integration of real-time recommendations for better user experience is constantly helping travel companies level up their customer retention. Here’s how you can tap into this resource by having access to practical use cases.

TravelTriangle, a leading OTA, witnessed a reduction of up to 10% in drop-offs and a 30% drop in remarketing costs by studying and identifying user behavior and sending action-based communications. Learn how they achieved that with WebEngage here.


  • Personalizing Flight Suggestions

User Engagement: Personalizing Flight Suggestions

By leveraging the user’s journey, interests and interactions, real-time recommendations can offer suggestions based on factors such as price, amenities, ratings & reviews—instead of only relying on past bookings or history.

Travelers want to get the best flight deals. Using the available data, companies can target users and show them recommendations based on their needs instead of generic offers. For example, cheaper flight routes and non-stop flight suggestions based on users’ destinations.

  • Tailoring Supplementary Offers

WhatsApp push notifications

Airlines can harness sending recommendations to suggest relevant additional service offers to make the user more comfortable. Offers like seat upgrades, in-flight amenities, or travel insurance could pop up during their booking process.

The tailored suggestions not only align with individual preferences but also fulfill unexpressed needs and foster a sense of personalization throughout the travel experience.

A good place to implement this is on a mobile app. Real-time push notifications and WhatsApp texts can be sent to users based on recent and current activities on the app while tracking necessary metrics for user retention.


For hotels, real-time recommendations can come in the form of

  • User Room Suggestions

User Room Suggestions

Hotels can suggest rooms based on guest preferences. This can be a part of their booking process—a few questions to get them started and serve them better. Using their responses, hotels could use the catalog & recommendation engine to suggest different rooms and suites based on prices, reviews, preferences, or ratings.

The options can also go beyond present activities to leverage their past interaction with the hotel. For example, if user X visited your hotel once and enjoyed their stay, you can recommend the same room to them during another visit or give them better suggestions based on past stays.

  • Custom Amenities Recommendations

Both first-time and constant travelers strive for the best experience everywhere, especially when it comes to the hotels they stay in. This desire can be used as a win-win for both the user and the company.

Let’s say User X travels to a new country, and to access the internet they need to either get a sim card–a long process or use WiFi–a shorter option.

pop-up encouraging the user to upgrade to a room with WiFi

By analyzing previous users’ accommodation histories and preferences in context, your hotel can generate personalized recommendations for rooms that offer free WiFi.

It will make a lot of sense because that’s precisely what the users need. This makes the traveler’s experience much more customer-centric.

Online Travel Aggregators(OTAs)

Travel agencies are not left behind. How can real-time recommendations improve a traveler’s experience?

  • Personalized Travel Alerts and Notifications

As a first-time traveler, imagine an OTA sending prompt alerts about your trip every step of the way via push notifications and WhatsApp to ensure a hassle-free journey.

Image showing a notification alert containing the words “Since you’re in The City Palace, you can visit:

    • Govindam for food
    • Albert Hall for Indian Art
    • Diwan -i- Khas for ambience

User Engagement: Personalized Travel Alerts and Notifications

As an OTA, you too can provide recommendations for your users, using real-time data like ticket prices, departure times, and train times to guide them more efficiently while delivering personalized messages that align with their interests.

Using Journeys, Yatra, the second-largest OTA in India, could automate personalized retargeting and increase its gross hotel bookings by 3.2%.

Read the full impact story here.

      • Customized Travel Packages

Analyzing user preferences, interactions, and past bookings can help OTAs suggest comprehensive packages for their users.

Use personalized travel packages that go beyond destination recommendations, giving travelers the feeling of a home away from home.

User Engagement: Customized Travel Packages

Getting details about users’ preferred activities, accommodation styles, and food options in real time comes together in curating packages travelers will benefit from.

MrBilit, one of the biggest upcoming Online Travel Aggregators (OTA) in the MENA Region was looking to increase user retention and correctly target search abandonment.

Read how WebEngage increased their flight search abandonment retention by 19%.

Want some advanced use cases beyond just recommendations? Read this to revolutionize operations and maximize revenue for your travel and hospitality brand.

What’s next?

You can’t set aside real-time recommendations as a travel and hospitality company trying to thrive in this current age.

With WebEngage, you can provide contextual and real-time options that come closest to the needs and interests of the user. You can use details like user behavior, attributes, engagement history, and order history available on the WebEngage dashboard for hyper-personalized recommendations.

If your travel company is looking to improve customer retention and lean into personalizing its customer experience, you should book a demo with WebEngage to go beyond catalog & recommendations and see what else is in store for you because there is.


Freelance Content Writer, 

B2B SaaS, B2C

Inioluwa is a freelance content writer with a passion for words and everything marketing. She has worked closely with B2B SaaS and B2C e-commerce brands crafting product-led content. She loves to read fiction and would describe herself as an introverted nerd who desires to travel around the world. She currently doing that with her words till she can with her eyes.

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