Matt Holmes is Head of Digital Marketing for Thomas Cook Group Airline. Formerly Head of Paid Search at Emirates, he specialises in guiding international, multi-lingual brands through times of digital transformation. Matt is passionate about pushing what’s possible in digital marketing through making the best use of tech, data, people, and processes.
Matt will be speaking at the next Figaro Digital Travel & Leisure: Digital Marketing Spotlight, on 28 March 2019, about automation and the future of travel marketing. So we caught up with Matt prior to the event to ask him some important questions about innovation within the saturated travel market, what the future holds for digital marketing in this sector, and (importantly) his favourite holiday he’s been on.
FD: How has your career prepared you for heading up the digital marketing in the intense environment of an international airline and travel brand like Thomas Cook?
MH: I’ve been fortunate to have had some great roles with other ambitious brands like ours, so I’m used to the intensity that comes with that hunger to be best in class.
I’m lucky that my role spans two well-loved and iconic brands in their respective countries (Thomas Cook in the UK and Condor in Germany), so that carries its own pressure to live up to and exceed our customer’s expectations – but we’re eager to do that.
FD: What is driving innovation within the saturated travel industry?
MH: The brands leading the way are the ones who have embraced the power of data, machine learning and personalisation to move towards truly customer-centric experiences.
The rise of on-demand services and things like Amazon Prime have changed the expectations of users massively over the last five years, for some the only metric that matters is convenience.
FD: As a speaker at our upcoming Travel & Leisure: Digital Marketing Spotlight on 28 March 2019, can you give us any hints of what you will cover in your presentation?
MH: Automation and AI are already changing the way we live and work, I’ll be talking about how travel brands can better leverage it so that they can spend more time adding value to their business.
It’s a look at the future and how I think brands should be approaching the opportunity of automation, with learnings from the world of ecommerce and data-driven innovation that already exists in Asia.
FD: Any final tips for marketeers in the Travel and Leisure sectors that are looking to develop and optimise their digital marketing strategy?
MH: Get close to your commercial team, revenue management team and senior stakeholders and understand the business challenges, not just the marketing challenges.
If we as digital marketers can create levers that help solve business problems then that’s how we can really make a difference.
FD: And finally, I’m sure this is what our readers will want to know (I certainly do) what’s your favourite holiday you have been on?
MH: Oh wow, that’s a tough choice but I think my trip to New York and Washington D.C. back in 2014 was my favourite.
I’m big into film and TV so walking the streets of New York felt strangely familiar, plus I’m really interested in American history so D.C. was a dream with history and landmarks everywhere.