Make sure we understand what people value most and double down on that. Especially with advanced Customer Data Platforms these days, we have so many ways to personalize a journey. (With a user’s permission), we can know whether someone typically travels with a family or alone. We can know if they prefer the mountains or the beach. Be sure to focus on these opportunities when you have this information.

As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicola Clark.

An experienced Senior eCommerce professional with over 20 years in digital marketing, primarily in the hospitality field. Nicola has led eCommerce strategy for large and small organizations, covering all areas of demand generation and digital marketing, and has a passion for conversion improvement tactics and website user experience.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always had a passion for understanding people’s behavior, striving to understand ‘why’ someone acts in a certain way. The psychological aspect of why consumers respond to one product or advertisement versus another is really compelling to me. It’s why I decided to combine my studies of Marketing with Psychology and what brought me to the career path I am on now. I’m working every day to target the ‘right type of person’, at the ‘right time’ in the ‘right place’, with the ‘right message’. It’s a fun puzzle, with a dash of science, and continual learning.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I felt very lucky to be able to do the job I loved (working in digital marketing) in one of what I deem to be the most spectacular and diverse regions of the world: the Caribbean. Each island is so unique with its own culture, food, people, and landscape. After working with many of the key tourist islands, I found myself in a new role working with a team to open a hotel in Pétion-Ville Haiti, only a few years after the devastating 7.0 earthquake. After many years the temporary ‘tent-city’ was still housing tens of thousands of people and we were in a position to hire some of the local people to come and work at the hotel. At other hotels I had worked at, people were always happy to work for a prestigious brand, but here it was different. People were so eager to work for the hotel as it meant a hot dinner, access to a warm shower, and the opportunity to elevate their families out of the living situation they were in. It was a very humbling experience, one I will never forget.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ah, I am not sure it’s that funny, but it was a bone-crushing learning experience for me. When I first started my career I worked for a global hotel chain in the UK, focused on their GDS marketing — this was a system that travel agents used to search, select, and book hotels for their clients. I spent days preparing for a presentation to our hotel in London Heathrow Airport, pulling detailed stats about traffic, interest, impressions, share of voice, opportunities, messaging, and pulling together what I thought was the perfect detailed GDS Marketing plan.

Only when I went to present did I realize I had been extremely confused and the meeting was actually at our hotel at London Gatwick Airport. All my stats and research were for the wrong airport hotel! I only realized at the moment I stood up next to my opening slide on a screen that was taller than me — with the wrong hotel name in huge lettering. What is it they say about never opening a presentation with an apology!? Important lessons were learned that day: read the instructions properly, slow down, and take more time to assess at the beginning of a project.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I had a fantastic mentor at a resort chain I worked for. He would take time to help me understand how my role, and the work my team and I were doing, actually fit into the greater organization and overall business objectives. All too often in large companies, the different business units can work in silos, each pushing towards their own goals, but rarely looking up to see the bigger picture and understanding the necessity for us all to be aligned. He had such a great way of breaking things down and making complex situations understandable and manageable.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

If we want to help companies thrive, we need to make sure we understand the product. We can optimize sales, but if we send people to a “family experience” page when they expected a “young couples experience,” they will complain — and rightfully so! Occasionally when this type of miscommunication occurs, the sale might proceed, but the related negative experience will impact the brand in a major way.

We need to make sure we have a clear understanding of what consumers want and help our clients find insightful and measurable placements. At the same time, we must make sure we match our clients’ products with the right audiences.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

Short-term planning will be a major behavioral change. I also believe that with a more flexible work scenario you will have more short-term vacation demand. Just think about how television consumption has evolved even over the last 10 years. Before people would wait weeks or months for a particular show or new release. Now, companies like Netflix are releasing entire seasons of shows at once. Audiences (and travelers) don’t think months ahead — they might think as far as this evening or this weekend. And with the rise in remote work, some employees don’t even need to request vacation, they simply pack a bag and hop on a bus.

I also expect that, with the global energy and climate crisis, younger generations will be more tuned into how ‘green’ their transportation options are. With COVID, companies were forced to reduce corporate travel budgets, which was good for the environment. Pair that with the fact that, people began to ‘staycation’ instead of traveling internationally and I think you’ll see a lot more short-term trips closer to home.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

I look for the right balance of relaxation and exploration. I love to experience new cultures, new foods, see new places, but most of all, learn something new. I rarely go back to the same place twice, as there are too many new experiences yet to be had. Living in Miami, I love the beach, but I don’t need to lay in the sun all day to feel relaxed (which is ironic, as I am from the UK originally, and literally everyone there craves a sunny vacation each year). A dream for me right now would be a trip to the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland.

I like to look back on experiences and feel thankful I tried something new. I’ve gone White Water Rafting on the River Nile, danced at Carnival in Trinidad, took the scenic railway through the Blue Mountains in Australia, tasted exotic fruits in the floating villages surrounding Phuket, Thailand, and discovered the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, where the water glows around you after dark. Those are the memories I crave to make.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness-driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

I do believe that travelers are looking to regain overall health and wellness. I have personally made travel choices because of the healthier alternatives it provided (whether visiting a local vegetarian restaurant or stopping for a restorative massage).

I also look for clear indications of companies that are making an effort to have a lower carbon footprint. The travel industry is a large contributor to global carbon emissions, with a footprint estimated between 8 and 11 percent of total greenhouse gases, so it’s important to me to travel with companies that care.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.

Matching an audience to the product they are looking for example a family with a family product. The people you vacation with are also a part of the product, and you want to make sure your clients feel good about the rest of the people in the location.

Make sure we understand what people value most and double down on that. Especially with advanced Customer Data Platforms these days, we have so many ways to personalize a journey. (With a user’s permission), we can know whether someone typically travels with a family or alone. We can know if they prefer the mountains or the beach. Be sure to focus on these opportunities when you have this information.

Understand the complete user journey. It’s not enough anymore to just capture someone’s attention once they decide to start looking. Try to get into your customers’ heads — what made them want to book something in the first place? And of course, make sure to follow up with them once they’ve traveled.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I truly believe in the idea of ‘servant leadership.’ You lead by making sure you help others develop and grow.

I didn’t want to toot my own horn, so I recently asked someone who reports to me their thoughts about this. This employee told me that they were grateful that I was able to help them make an inner-company career transition even though it didn’t benefit me directly. I think these small acts of recognizing someone’s potential (based on my own career growth and transitions) have really made a difference in other people’s lives.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Help someone you know and measure your wealth on the number of people you have been able to help.

How can our readers follow you on social media?


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.