72% of the total revenue in the Travel & Tourism Business is expected through online sales by 2025. Here is how you can take a bigger piece of that pie.
The digitization of any industry has always been a sudden move. So, it was not really surprising when a business that’s mainly been dependent on phone calls and personal relationships suddenly found itself at the mercy of a stable internet connection. You see, Travel & Tourism Business has always been a difficult one to predict, especially seeing how the pandemic and all its consequences are changing things for good. But, being an early adopter of change, it has responded continuously to the growing customer’s demands.
Therefore, even in a complex period for the industry, certain digital trends can be patterned into repetition. Now the relevance of these developments holds a bit more importance than it did before. That’s because the extensive use of information and transactions across the value chain has been amplified over the past two years. Inevitably, it is safe to say that there is a boom looming over the travel industry right now. The sole question that remains to be asked is – are you ready to tap into it?
The Runway to Take-Off in a Post-Pandemic World
No matter where you look, people are itching to restart their travel. Most high-income earners have retained their jobs and doubled their savings rates over time. Such people are eager to step outside their houses with leisure trips leading the rebound. We expect a rise in both domestic and international travel with the introduction of added safety measures and vaccination certifications.
Despite these signs, Travel & Tourism Business doesn’t seem to be ready yet. There is a tangible strain on the current capacity in the form of extensive queues at the airports, unresponsive support and bottled digital platforms. Pointless to say, bad news travels fast, and these negative experiences are at risk of being permanently associated with some service providers.
Proactive travel leaders are therefore prepping their organizations in an attempt to redefine the core value proposition. The idea is to reiterate customer loyalty through a seamless movement across the portals. To help you with this, we’ve researched six trends that shall make your offerings much more distinctive and set you up for the upcoming surge.
Learn how we helped an international Travel & Tourism Business which rapidly expanded their market presence leveraging their redesigned Customer Experience portal on Sitecore Digital Experience Platform
Six Digital Trends That Travel Players Must Consider
As travel companies begin to address the unease related to COVID-19, it is important to remember the pain points that existed before the pandemic. The shift towards a more digital and personalized journey has been amplified, making additional space for all-embracing models such as wellness and sustainability. High-anxiety purchases such as hotels and flights still remain at the top of the table as they are continually marked as not refundable. Hence, the onus lies on the service providers to give the guests more flexibility through intuitive interactions that support their experiences.
1. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Human interference is largely overrated. Tons of information can now be provided by AI-powered applications that use voice-powered chatbots to meet the customers right where they are. Since data collection has formed an integral part of the digital journey, it is conveniently leveraged to add a luxury element to the booking itself.
Think of the process as having information on-demand, essentially giving the sense of control back to the customers. For instance, the Marriott has been using chatbots at over 5,000 of its locations to simplify reservation changes, account checks and voucher redemption.
2. A New Reality: Cognitive Computing and Voice Recognition
60% of leisure and 41% of corporate travellers make their travel arrangements via the internet. But, most of them miss the most crucial factor when it comes to tourism – personalization. The overtly standardized platforms lack the power to recommend packages based on user preferences. This leads to multi-layered research across 10+ platforms for each customer in hopes of a better deal.
Cognitive computing tackles this problem head-on. A self-learning system uses natural language and data mining capabilities to bring detailed recommendations based on past behaviour. This means that a single platform delivers all the information a traveller needs, addressing the specific pain points of a particular customer.
3. Reputation Through Feedback
A report by HuffPost states that 95% of leisure travellers see at least seven reviews before making any bookings. But, the same proactive approach is not translated to leaving feedback for the flight or lodging. Aggravated customers are much more likely to leave a negative review than a guest who had a positive experience.
Hence, companies need to make the feedback process a seamless part of the booking process. While delivering the right service to the right people goes a long way, creating review touchpoints at the time of booking completion, check-in and check-out is how the customer experience can be evaluated at every stage.
4. The Return to a Platform Transformed
The platform is the true protagonist in the digitalized Travel & Tourism Business. During each step of the journey, the portal is tasked with data collection, transaction management, and customer support. In essence, a holistic platform today would include a customer-based UX, prominent payment methods, keyword-based search and an intuitive recommendation engine.
As travellers adapt to the new protocols of digital health certificates and safety, companies shall need to work towards building websites that provide adequate assistance in times of need. Navigational cues will form a key component of how these complexities are handled while reducing the overall wait time for the users.
5. A Preview with Virtual Reality
Calling it a pre-experience, most travellers are now looking for a snippet of what their realities would look like. Customers now seek some kind of surety before clicking the purchase button. This can largely be associated with the unreliability of the pandemic its consequential travel restrictions that render most activities undoable.
Whether a tourist destination or a hotel booking, establishments need to provide a 360-degree virtual video that gives a taste of the adventure. An analysis by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) has found that at least eight of the largest hotels have experimented with some kind of VR experience in the last six months. This idea is further cemented by the fact that AR-VR-related mobile applications have increased considerably year on year.
6. A Mobile-First Approach
Being consistent with the other industries, the travel and tourism businesses are veering towards personalized mobile applications. The core characteristic of consumer business is retained by providing all the products and services on a singular platform that exploits information, performs transactions and integrates all the utilities related to individual travel.
To take an example of the Hyatt Hotels app, potential guests have the flexibility to book from over 600 properties, coupled with a loyalty programme that offers member benefits, complimentary nights and discounted rates. The complete stay can be managed on the application right from the check-in all the way through to the check-out. It further integrates additional requests like asking for an extra towel or booking a Lyft within the interface. These kinds of experiences are what drive the users towards brand recognition, recall and advocacy.
Also Read:- Progressive Web Apps Are The Future.
What You Need to Know
The travel boom has been a long-time in the making. Although the pandemic has left certain aspects of the industry handicapped, there lies a better opportunity for the rest of the market. As we speak, many companies have already adopted the agile model, using the above trends to go headfirst into the “next normal.”
We have found that enterprises that surpass their peers in customer experience are also the ones being preferred in terms of revenue and return. To help you bank on this scenario, Adapty is creating CX strategies that place your offerings distinctively across an omnichannel brand proposition.
Talk to one of our CX experts right away to know how you can effectively scale your travel business.