January 23, 2018, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
The customer experience has continued to see a massive shift within the travel industry, and that trend will continue to dominate in 2018. As customers increasingly embrace technology as a way to plan trips, their expectations are similarly calibrated to receive a personalized and unique experience.
This evolution in expectations has been facilitated by technology, and customers have become savvy in understanding the sheer potential of the technology itself when it comes to travel. This has meant that travel companies must align themselves with the right technology and adjust their digital interactions with customers to match expectations and reimagine the customer experience as a whole.
To accomplish this, there are four key traveler expectations that must be at the core of digital strategy and planning. These are absolutely instrumental in this new digital age and must be given due emphasis when considering the overall customer experience:
1) Frictionless interactions with the right amount of facilitation
Technology and its evolution have meant that travelers expect a seamless interaction, with the right level of guidance. While travelers today are independent enough to seek out information on their own, they are looking for expertise and guidance in choosing what activities to pick and recommendations based on the experience they are searching for.
This means that companies must seek out ways to create interactions that are free from friction and irritation on the customer end, while still providing a personalized, human touch during. There must be a balance between letting travelers be self-sufficient but also providing them the right level of guidance when needed.
2) Increased personalization
The information overload issue is one that is synonymous with the digital age, but it is the key way travel companies can differentiate themselves from the competition. Companies that provide a personalized experience for their customers are far more successful at retaining overall customer engagement in the long-term.
Travel companies must focus on methods to personalize and tailor the experience for each customer while retaining authenticity. Customers are no longer content feeling like they are just another number, especially with the wealth of digital resources available to them, so travel companies must meet these expectations of personalization in innovative ways.
3) Alleviating pain while improving the overall traveler experience
Travel, while incredibly rewarding, is also incredibly stressful, especially from a planning perspective. There are flights, lodging options, transportation, on-the-ground activities, logistics and so much more to plan for. Travel companies must focus on finding methods and technologies that alleviate common traveler pain points without eliminating the sense of wonder and delight that a unique travel experience brings.
These companies must focus on understanding their customer demographics on a much deeper level to really understand their frustrations and seek out ways to mitigate these pain points and provide a valuable service that is unmatched.
4) Creating and reinforcing loyalty and positive brand sentiment
At the heart of any successful business, loyalty is a key sentiment that must be built in customer bases. Creating a positive brand sentiment is absolutely vital to the long-term success of travel companies, and digital technology is an incredibly useful tool in this regard.
By providing travel services that are rooted in personalization, travel companies can build unique experiences for their customers that are authentic without losing the human touch. Striking this balance is the key strategy by which travel companies can create and reinforce long-lasting customer loyalty and create a positive brand sentiment that really demonstrates their unique travel expertise.
Be sure to keep these four traveler expectations in mind when assessing your digital strategy in order to enhance the customer experience and build lasting relationships.