Travel: where familiar trumps exciting
Generally consumers want brands that exude excitement. Excitement breeds engagement, and with both come a willingness to pay higher prices. Across four of the industries we looked at, that logic holds true. But Travel bucks the trend, and we see that both excitement and overall levels of Brand Participation play a much smaller role.
Automotive, Consumer Tech, Snacking, and Retail rely heavily on excitement to generate higher prices. Overall Participation is a strong predictor of consumers’ willingness to pay more in these areas. But the Travel brands we looked at play by different rules. generating excitement amongst their audience had almost no measurable effect. So what does drive choice and premium for travel brands? Familiarity. The data suggests there are no shortcuts – the brands commanding higher premiums, Hilton, American Airlines, Delta, have done so through ongoing investment in a distinctive, recognisable brand.
Consumers don’t pay airlines, mid-range hotel chains, and travel sites more for thrills or how involved they feel with the brand. According to our data, if such travel brands want to convince customers to pay more, they are best off building trust, the one factor that seems to move the needle. Excitement, though nice, won’t command premium prices for travelers. Trust and familiarity drive the sector, and ongoing investment in a premium presence is vital to commanding a premium price.