customer experience optimization in travel and hospitality improve sales and costs

“An essential element of making our customers happy is ensuring that our tech is flawless.”

Nicholas Trieb, COO of TourRadar(Source: Travel Trends Report 2019)

Digital transformation is here and whoever wants to stay competitive in the Travel & Hospitality industry is already building a roadmap with customer experience in focus. Along with banking, retail and other industries, the digital experiences in Travel are turning towards integrating mobile, desktop and offline to deliver the best journeys which meet travelers’ increasing expectations.

At the basis of engaged customers and an optimal budget allocation stay customers’ preferences and behaviors. Companies continue to study the patterns and purchasing funnels, uncovering that customers navigate across different websites and devices while planning their trips. Moreover, the planning and purchasing don’t necessarily happen in one session, but customers keep coming back to their preferred websites for more information before making a final purchase. Skift’s 2018 Experiential Traveler Survey shows that travelers use either 2 or 3 websites to book their vacation. It’s only logical that to stay relevant to customers companies need to focus on where their customers are, ensuring an optimized and seamless transition between the websites.

How to start building great customer experiences?

In a recent interview, Johannes Reck, the CEO of GetYourGuide, was stating that “true success in the future of travel comes down to personalization”.

We have picked up 3 main areas for you to focus on when looking into customer experience for your guests.

1.      Data & 3600 customer view

Data collection is now every company’s best friend. If in the past a lot of customer touchpoints were analog, now travel & hospitality brands are digitalizing these to leverage the data about the customer as much as possible. Think about the preferred meals customers choose in the hotel’s restaurant, what services they opt-in for, like spa, or whether they have a preferred pillow type. All this information helps you keep track of your customer’s unique needs, enabling you to become a 5 starts service-provider for every returning or new guest.

Serving products or creating promotions based on customer’s interests and past purchases shows that you listen to your customer and honor his wishes. And we all know that a happy guest will return to buy more and spend more, Google’s data showing that 36% of consumers are willing to pay extra for personalized experiences (PhocusWire, 2017).

Furthermore, having a complete view of a customer’s profile promotes data-driven decision-making within your company, optimizing your marketing spend and having more accurate forecasting and revenue management.

2.      Lifecycle stage

Predictive analytics can leverage the goldmine of data that you’re sitting on and forecast how much a customer is worth for you based on his actions, source, or demographic data.

Moreover, understanding customers actions and intents you can start building specific funnels to simplify customer’s purchasing journey. This optimization leads to better conversion rates as it becomes easier for customers to find relevant information and desired products for faster decision-making.

And last, being relevant and simple creates better relationships between customers and brands, improving customer loyalty and visibly decreasing your acquisition costs.

3.      Be personal in your conversations

Machine-learning doesn’t have to be robotic. Anticipating customer’s needs has the ultimate goal of creating a strong connection with him throughout every step of his journey. This means not only offering relevant products but also having a genuine personalized conversation with him. Even if travel agencies are no longer a preferred channel, customers still want a human connection on the other side of the screen to feel heard while researching or planning their trips.

Talking with your customer on a personal level doesn’t only mean using his name in your email communications, but also select what type of content he is interested in at each stage of his purchasing funnel, what call-to-actions are relevant and on which device. For example, Google was reporting that in the past 2 years the travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” have increased over 150% on mobile. Knowing this, brands can start designing meaningful conversations for a long-lasting relationship.

So, what’s next?

Personalization improves customer loyalty, optimizes costs and budgets, and contributes to a data-driven culture. There is no question that alongside with machine-learning the capability to build a personalized experience will continue to grow among the travel and hospitality companies. This is the biggest priority among brands and whoever delays adding this on the roadmap will suffer the consequences of being left behind its competitors.

We are aware that the challenges of implementing personalized experiences are unique and different for every brand as it depends on factors like strategic priorities, available technologies, and internal skill set. This is why Win1to1 is here to help you assess your current state, prioritize your goals and objectives and team up to deliver the best customer experiences in an easy and care-free way through a custom solution tailored specifically for your needs.

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