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Journera claims a superior marketing ROI with data tool JourneyAware, generating more bookings and revenue than alternative tools that largely rely on online search or shopping data.

As a growing number of travelers dip their toes back into trip planning, technology company Journera is hoping to help airlines, hospitality providers and other suppliers attract new business.

Journera, the brainchild of Orbitz founding CEO Jeff Katz, recently launched JourneyAware, a tool that identifies consumers who have made a reservation for a portion of a future trip. Those details are then sent to Journera client companies that may want to sell other components of the trip to that traveler.

“Especially in today’s pandemic world, someone may have booked a hotel, but hasn’t booked air yet,” explained Katz, Journera’s founder and CEO. “JourneyAware lets the airline know somebody’s booked a hotel reservation in Chicago for certain days. And they can then reach out to that person and say, ‘Hey, we know you’re traveling. Would you like to make a quick booking?'”

Katz added that any targeted communications or advertising to travelers — whether via social media, email or a loyalty membership platform — can be “as detailed as [a supplier’s] privacy policy allows.”

According to Katz, Journera’s booking data is all “original source,” coming straight from participating airlines, hotel companies and other operators. Notably, the company claims that all its collected data is anonymized and lacks any personal identifiers.

“For example, a parking lot operator could both be a user of our insights as well as a provider of insights,” Katz said. “But we don’t share the name and ID of somebody who parks in a lot in L.A. with an airline operator. It doesn’t work that way. It’s all encrypted.”

Journera’s current partner list already comprises many of the industry’s largest players, including United and American in aviation and hospitality mainstays Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Hyatt, among others. 

In addition to booking and loyalty data sourced directly from partner suppliers, JourneyAware further builds out a traveler’s booking profile using artificial intelligence. 

As a result, the company claims a superior marketing ROI, generating more bookings and revenue than alternative tools that largely rely on online search or shopping data.

“We’re working off more firm information, which is that [a traveler] has at least one reservation, but not all the reservations needed for their journey,” Katz said. “So, our opportunity for travel brands is much more firm than typical shopping data.”

Max Starkov, a hospitality and travel technology expert and adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, agreed that the core concept behind Journera’s JourneyAware product “is very smart” and fills a key need within the fragmented travel sector.

“Let’s face it, there are silos in the travel industry,” said Starkov. “That’s why I always say there’s no such thing as a travel industry — there’s an airline industry, hotel industry, car rental industry, etc. But it’s the same traveler that books a hotel, buys airline tickets, buys tours and activities. So, they should all talk to each other.”

Still, Starkov acknowledged that his primary reservation about the tool centers on privacy concerns, and how it maintains compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, the California Privacy Rights Act and other data protection laws. 

As always, the devil’s in the details.

“I think that Journera has to really examine all of those privacy regulations and come up with a much clearer, more detailed message than they currently have,” said Starkov. “If you look at their website, press releases and posts, they kind of nicely [sum things up], but I do think they should provide a much clearer picture on what they do and how they abide by all of those regulations.”

Still, Starkov predicts companies like Journera will take on an increasingly important role in a digital landscape where third-party cookies — which have long been used to collect data across websites — are rapidly becoming obsolete. He cited Google’s recent announcement that it would eliminate tracking cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022, following in the footsteps of browsers like Apple’s Safari.

As a result, first-party data, collected directly from sources, has become increasingly valuable.

“The monetization of the first-party cookies has been around for a while, but now that will increase, because when the third-party cookies are removed, first-party becomes an even more precious commodity,” Starkov said. “Some advertisers are at a major disadvantage with the disappearance of third-party cookies. So, Journera does provide some of these companies with an important tool.”

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