Travel & Hospitality
How Good Choice Drives Success in the Travel Industry With a Real-Time, Cross-Channel Approach
The last five years have been a challenging time for travel and hospitality brands, with unprecedented disruptions triggered by the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic remaking the travel landscape and forcing companies to shift strategies and re-learn how to engage their audiences. As other brands in the travel industry struggled during the pandemic, leading APAC travel platform Good Choice found a way to thrive—improving operating profits for three consecutive years, with year-over-year revenue rising 53%* over the past five years. And now that COVID-19 measures have been relaxed and foreign travel is undergoing a resurgence in the region, Good Choice is poised to reap the rewards.
To learn more about how Good Choice has found success in a challenging landscape, we sat down with Jeong-ho Ham, CRM Team Lead at Good Choice, to talk about their marketing strategy, customer engagement in the travel industry, and how they use Braze.
*As of December 29, 2022
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Jeong-ho Ham. I am the CRM Team Lead within Good Choice’s Marketing department.
At Good Choice, we leverage online and mobile events to conduct various consumer engagement activities and to perform targeted media advertising, too.
Could you tell us briefly about Good Choice?
In Korea, Good Choice is well-known as a domestic player for accommodation booking services, but we’re more than that. We’re a “one-stop travel platform” that provides a wide range of travel services. We offer an end-to-end travel and leisure experience by extending beyond just hotel, motel, and guest house bookings in Korea. We also provide complementary products and services in travel-related areas, such as space rentals (party rooms, conference rooms, etc.), leisure activities, and restaurant reservations. Additionally, we facilitate domestic and international flight bookings and overseas accommodations.
What makes Good Choice stand out in the travel space?
Travel is a crowded market in Korea. Some platforms may be bigger or higher profile than we are, but I believe that Good Choice is the one that fundamentally delivers comprehensive, enjoyable, customer-centric travel experiences. All our marketing efforts are geared towards showcasing this differentiation in more in-depth and diverse ways.
How is marketing in the travel industry different from other industries?
Unlike other industries, travel products do not end at the point of purchase because these products can only be experienced later. The level of involvement in the decision-making process is high, and repurchase decisions also go through a long sales cycle. In particular, summer vacation products and services are booked several months in advance, so the lead time is very long and prices vary widely by category. So building a marketing strategy across all price ranges—from a $40-a-night motel booking to hotels costing several hundred dollars—is challenging.
In other industries, products are often diversified to meet various customer demands. But in the travel industry, the more diversified the product, the more difficult it is to capture prospects. Given our platform’s diverse range of products, finding common denominators for users across various categories and turning them into prospects can be challenging. This is one of our key focus areas as marketers, yet it is also the most difficult.
With this in mind, how does Good Choice approach its marketing efforts?
While accommodation booking is our core business, we also focus on other segments. By their very nature, many travel products and services are based on places that consumers must visit and experience in person. With that in mind, we target real-time events such as category-specific menu searches and regional searches to suggest related services and attractions that match their areas of interest. We use a cross-channel strategy that includes in-app messages, in-app pop-ups, and Kakao Plus Friend.
What customer engagement metrics do you focus on?
We monitor various CRM-driven metrics and data, but we consider sales and conversion rates the most important among them. It’s probably not specific to just the travel industry, but you get different outcomes from a combination of factors like marketing materials, media, and target consumer groups. In our case, seasonality is a key variable in the travel industry—we factor those variables in because metrics fluctuate widely based on seasonal variations (such as summer and winter holidays) when analyzing our metrics and KPIs.
Why did you decide to use Braze?
Good Choice had begun using Braze before I joined. As our business grows rapidly, our product and service offerings expand exponentially, resulting in a significant increase in our data. Recognizing the urgent need for our marketers to have a specialized tool, we aimed to provide them with the capability to select data points and personas for implementing various trigger campaigns. That’s when Braze came in.
Braze is an outstanding solution for building CRM marketing systems cost-effectively and efficiently. Good Choice will continue working with Braze to increase consumer mindshare through ongoing improvements in our CRM marketing.
What do you enjoy most about using Braze?
From a user-experience (UX) perspective, Braze provides the perfect tools to bridge the skills gap for marketers. CRM covers a wide range of skill sets: Some people have an engineering background, and others specialize in analytics. Some use just a few features, while others leverage the whole feature set. The Braze platform’s intuitive user interface allows us to create segments and leverage data using the Canvas Flow drag-and-drop tool easily. You don’t need to understand complex source code.
Of course, I should also mention the automation features. Automated real-time campaigns play a significant role in location-based marketing. But if automation is not implemented properly, consumer engagement campaigns based on real-time events will be off target.
We also use Braze automation features for targeting. With Braze, it’s easy to create a variety of use cases by applying filters such as product category and regional focus.
How did Braze make a difference for your business?
CRM is just one element in Good Choice’s marketing mix. We also run TV and digital ads, which have been instrumental in our sustained rapid growth. The end of third-party cookies is making digital ads less effective, and the need to collect and use zero-party and first-party data is increasing. As the importance of CRM marketing and systematic targeting continues to grow, we will increasingly turn to Braze to advance our CRM marketing capabilities through better consumer data classification and scores.
Can you share a campaign use case in which Braze was used?
Our summer 2022 marketing push reported good results overall. The campaign was more diversified, and the results grew significantly compared to the previous year, including through nudges using active push notifications. Sales and MAU also grew to higher levels than in previous years, so I was pretty happy with that. Our highest-performing campaigns even saw a 2.7X increase in conversion rates compared to before.
What will Good Choice’s marketing look like going forward?
As Korean consumers probably know from our TV commercials, we plan to focus more on overseas travel, including overseas flights, accommodation, and special offers in the post-COVID-19 era.
We will continue expanding our systems and extending our CRM marketing reach to increase consumer mindshare. We may look at what other organizations do, including in other industries, and find inspiration to respond to the changing environment. All companies have their strengths. We want to leverage our own and expand our opportunities through core and complementary offers by season, product, and service—creating a positive impact for our customers.