Intelligence enables decision-makers to spot gaps, stretch budgets and target messaging, says Lotus chief executive Jules Ugo.

Data is required to build back better.

With everything we know about our audiences, market segmentation and demographic turned on its head since the pandemic, data is needed more than ever to steer the industry through the months  ahead.

Traveller sentiment, profiles, perceptions of destinations and accommodation have altered. Who could have guessed that 75% of Londoners are happy to travel prior to a widespread vaccine programme being in place, but 78% of the Welsh population would be resistant to a holiday bargain until a vaccination is available?

In a world where ‘data’ has become an overused term, the importance of clear, comparative, honest business intelligence has never been so needed.

Intelligent insight in the time of Covid will aid destinations and travel brands to market themselves.

The UK Travel Intelligence Report, commissioned by Lotus and powered by Travellyze, surveyed a representative pool of the UK population, looking at 3,000 households’ perceptions, awareness and experience of 106 destinations.

Robust UK traveller profiles allow tourism boards, destination management organisations, hoteliers, tour operators, airlines and the wider travel industry to fine-tune or rethink their strategy, to see for instance what influences the luxury market in London, who prioritises sun and beach, what is the perception of the Bahamas and what impact the pandemic has had on the mature market.

It’s not just about targeting and sales. We encourage clients to use qualitative data to stay in touch. In lockdown 1.0, data was used in creative ways to stay relevant and front of mind. From virtual fam trips to wine tastings, these touchpoints with customers are key in maintaining loyalty and an appetite to travel.

The challenge now is to maintain enthusiasm when the mood is low, the winter months stretch ahead and the novelty of virtual has long gone for all.

Data is a discipline in itself and there should be immediacy in its use.

Taking a detailed look into relevant intelligence can inform opportunities for growth in 2021.

Our research found the luxury market is no longer intrinsically linked to spas and wellbeing. The data points instead to what the ‘new luxury’ looks like – a focus on nature and the outdoors.

Intelligence enables decision-makers to spot gaps, be clear what the holidaymaker is asking for and to create relevant product and campaigns.

Data does not need to be daunting. Used well it enables budgets to go further, brings accuracy to targeting and messaging, provides benchmarking and gauges sentiment. As we look to 2021, data will be key.