Travel Trends and Campaigns This Ramadan: Insights From Holiday Factory (Mohit Depala, Head of Strategic Partnerships)

  • UPDATED: 21 July 2023
  • 4 min read
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Editor’s Note: Continuing with our special edition of Ramadan Bytes, where marketers from known brands in the region share their thoughts on Ramadan 2023 and the changes they expect, we spoke to Mr. Mohit Depala, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Holiday Factory, and discussed different campaigns and associated metrics to keep an eye on!

Please share a brief about your background and your role at Holiday Factory.

I’ve always been passionate about connecting with end consumers and understanding their interests and purchasing patterns. From the much-regulated automotive industry to the growing retail industry, I’ve been fortunate in engaging with end customers in the UAE for almost 12 years now. 5 years ago, I combined this passion with my keen interest in travel and joined Holiday Factory, where I started by building the Corporate Business segment here and eventually grew into managing Brand Partnerships and running Customer Experience initiatives. 

How do you anticipate this year’s Ramadan Season to be? Do you think there would be some new trends observed compared to 2022? 

In 2020 and 2021, the travel industry was at its lowest point. But once all the restrictions were lifted up, since then, the market pretty much jumped back at a very quick rate. We saw a lot of revenge travel happening, meaning that people stepped out after being confined to their own place for a period. They just wanted to get out and feel that freedom again. So we are expecting this year to be a year that will break many records in terms of passenger influx into the UAE and outbound holiday travels, both in the budget and premium segments.

Ramadan and Eid are going to, in fact, be the driver for this. Last year, we saw 25% of passengers travel for leisure during Ramadan & Eid holidays. This year we’re expecting that number to double up with the kind of inquiries we’re receiving daily! 

Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the popular choice for travelers during this season last year. This year with the addition of attractive packages to the Maldives, Paris, Prague, and other European destinations, we’re seeing a massive demand.

In your opinion, what are some kinds of campaigns that brands are planning to run this year?

Given that even in 2022, not all destinations had opened up for travel, a lot of travelers had limited choice for a leisure getaway. With Europe opening up and bringing down all the covid related restrictions fairly recently, travel brands finally have the best European destinations to offer after a break of almost 3 years.

The campaigns this year will surely be revolving around the change of season from Winter to Spring, giving possibilities for leisure travelers to explore a lovely spring in European destinations. The campaigns will be targeted towards individuals who want to take their time to reflect and spend quality time with their friends and families.

What are some insights that you look at while strategizing for a campaign? And how does a customer engagement tool help you in achieving that?

Data and insights in today’s age are the biggest strength a marketeer could have. We look at the complete psychographics, demographic, and behavioral consumer data points since one size fit all approach cannot work in today’s market.

Customer engagement tools such as MoEngage give us a lot of insights on consumer behavior on different portals of Holiday Factory and help us in building a whole 360 view for customer engagement. And that ultimately helps us to reach them at the right time with the right messaging. 

To assess the performance of a Campaign, what are the different metrics to look at?

Not only particular to this season, but overall, any campaigns that we run, it all boils down to the cost of acquisition and the average order value from a campaign. When new destinations open up or when we come out with new products or a new holiday package in the market, especially during the season, these two metrics provide a clear indication of the performance.

Additionally, conversion rates also is a very important metric that we keep a close eye on. When it comes to travel, seasonality plays a big role. So we need to acquire as many new unique customers and the conversion from there on. This is where MoEngage also helps us the most, where we utilize the platform to engage with unique customers by targeting and personalizing the relevant product offerings to them.

Travel trends this ramadan

How can brands ensure an equal or higher engagement rate post-Ramadan?

There is a drop in engagement post-holiday season as the sentiment of the leisure traveler is to get back into a routine. This is the most crucial time for the acquisition for Holiday Factory. We use strategies like Pre-plan your future travel at early bird rates or take advantage of the low season rates to grab a leisure holiday. 

This is a great time to keep the engagement active with our travel community, as a brand, we should use this forum to connect with them by creating different themes and relevant offers to that time of the year, and this is where targeted audience segmentation and hyper-personalization come into play. 

Gamification is also an interesting strategy to come up with different sales strategies to help drive engagement during the drop.

Thank you so much, Mohit, for chatting with us and sharing your thoughts on how brands can engage with customers during such a special time.

Readers, you can connect with Mohit for more tips and advice on customer engagement during Ramadan and how to drive sustainability.

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