Know Thy Customer: Meet the Budget Setters


Illustration: Marcelo Cáceres

APEX Insight: While it’s undeniably best to know thy customer as intimately as possible, buyer personas are a good place to start. In this multipart feature, meet the budget setters, family-first flyers, high lifers, business travelers and big spenders.

Unsurprisingly, budget travelers tend to spend the lowest of any travel group. Price dictates most of their purchasing decisions, whether that means snagging an all-inclusive package deal or nabbing a cheap airline ticket.

According to Visa’s 2018 “Global Travel Intentions Report,” independent holidaymakers do most of their planning two to three months ahead of their trip, but will save booking activities, services and restaurants to the weeks before departure. Airlines with car rental or tourism partnerships can capitalize on their behavior by making relevant offers in confirmation or reminder e-mails as the trip approaches.

58% of easyJet customers would travel more often if they had better pet-care solutions.

In addition to being infrequent spenders, budget-savvy vacationers are often infrequent flyers. “With flying frequency, there comes a difference in familiarity with the airport process,” says Christina Roseler, senior consultant for Pragma Consulting, a London-based consumer market consultancy that has developed customer personas and revenue models for London Heathrow Airport, Bristol Airport and other high-profile clients.

“Those who are the least frequent flyers tend to appear at the airport way in advance because they are unsure about the processes,” Roseler says, adding, “If someone has two and a half hours in the departure lounge, there are a lot of things you can do to engage them in the commercial offer, through dining or pop-ups.”

87% of travelers have leftover cash after their trips. But only 29% convert it back to currency they can actually use at home.

But don’t expect added dwell time in airports to correspond with impulsive splurges on luxury items. Recent segmentation research conducted by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) found that while frugal vacationers account for 41 percent of the airport’s visitors, they only contribute to 11 percent of the spending. For self-described bargain hunters, extra dwell time will be spent finding affordable dining options and browsing for duty-free deals, or books to read at the gate.

To compel these travelers to part with their hard-earned dollars, travel vendors need to understand not only what motivates purchases, but also what impedes them. In a recent survey, easyJet found that 58 percent of its customers would travel more often if they had better pet-care solutions, with 62 percent of those respondents citing the cost of pet care or concern for pet welfare as a major impediment. As a solution, the airline partnered with TrustedHousesitters to offer a cost-friendly option for pennywise pet owners.

“Know Thy Customer” was originally published in the 8.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.