Customer experience for travel & hospitality were top of mind in our Digital Velocity ’22: The Ultimate Travel & Hospitality CX Event on Tuesday, May 3rd! If you missed the live event, fear not! The recording is available for viewing On Demand, and we are also sharing the top 5 key takeaways! From travelers’ changed expectations (thanks to the pandemic), to capitalizing on recent innovations required during Covid-19, to where the future might lead the travel & hospitality industry, not a stone was left unturned!
Here are the Top 5 Key Takeaways on Customer Experience for Travel & Hospitality in 2022
1. Touchless technology is the “key”
Travelers’ expectations have changed. Two years of disrupted traveling has molded the customer experience travel & hospitality into something different, something new. One of the biggest changes was the need to offer a touchless experience – kiosks at the airport for automated check-ins, touchless pay devices, and mobile apps for hotel stays that included check-in and a digital key are innovations that are here to stay!
“A lot of innovation got unlocked during the pandemic. We worked on things to make our customers more comfortable, like Agent On Demand where customers could talk to a live agent through our app to change flights, handle Covid-19 restrictions, or other things that would stress out flyers and otherwise put them in long lines.” – Sadia Khan, Director, Demand Gen & Digital Marketing, United Airlines
2. Providing relevant, personalized experiences
In conjunction with touchless experiences, travelers now want more power over their customization of their travel. They want to be able to self-select their hotel rooms through an app, using a visualization of the hotel layout. They want to be able to opt-in to upsells that are relevant to their travel preferences without having to go through a live concierge.
“Travelers want great personalized experiences, but done in a way that is not creepy”, said Heidi Bullock, CMO for Tealium. “When they have given permission, when it feels appropriate. Not just real-time, but at the right time. Companies have to handle traveler data appropriately.”
“Marketing now has more insights and needs to collect the right data and use it to create the right message and the right time. We need one-to-one personalization, not just customer segments.” – Ido Bar Oz, Senior Director, Global Tech & Cloud Partnerships, Braze
3. Continue investment in pandemic-initiated CX innovations
The aforementioned innovations are only the beginning of the future of travel & hospitality. Companies need to invest in this technology if you haven’t already, and continue to quickly innovate down this path in order to stay competitive and provide the kind of travel experience that travelers now expect. It’s no longer a nice differentiator but a must-have offering.
“We saw a huge uplift in UberEats orders throughout the pandemic. We had to quickly scale to support that. This opened up a lot of new opportunities for us – even working to help on the supply chain issues. We also started using data to make recommendations to our ‘earners’ on how best they can earn for their situation – for example what transportation they have, their available hours, etc.” – Kinjal Mehta, Sr. Marketing Technology Manager, AdTech, Uber
“Companies are looking to continue with the necessary data practices created during the pandemic… What was stimulating demand during the pandemic is now turning into loyalty. This requires better data quality – companies are often rich in data but poor in insights.” – Florrian Tinnus, WW Head Partners, Travel & Hospitality, AWS
4. Use a mobile app for real-time engagement
One way to innovate in more personalized, touchless customer experience for travel & hospitality is to invest heavily in your mobile app. This is a critical channel for this industry, and must also be directly connected to all other channels so that the experience is relevant and accurate across all channels. For example, your mobile app should provide clear updates on travel delays, but those must also reflect what’s being shown at the airport on the flight information display system, as well as on the website, and what’s being communicated through automated alerts, be it phone, text or email.
“There are so many things you can do in our mobile app. Check into flights, pay for bags, change delayed flights – many ways that help flyers avoid lines. We are working to create a seamless day of travel.” – Sadia Khan, Director, Demand Gen & Digital Marketing, United Airlines
5. Stay flexible with cancellations
It’s important to accept that customers have grown accustomed to flexible cancellation policies and that a full-scale rollback of this benefit will not be welcomed by travelers. If a traveler has a valid reason for canceling their travel, there should be a reasonable cancellation policy in place, even as the pandemic shifts into a new transitional phase toward endemic (hopefully).
“Cancellation policies have to be very flexible now. This eases hesitance from the customer when making purchasing decisions.” – Dane Johnson, Web Analytics Manager, Radisson Hotels
Watch our On Demand recording of Digital Velocity ’22: The Ultimate Travel & Hospitality CX Event now! And be sure to check out the rest of our Digital Velocity 2022 line-up for Retail, Financial Services, Sports & Entertainment, and Healthcare. Even if it’s outside your industry, there are still incredible insights and ideas to be discovered for powering up your CDP!