The Experience Era in Travel & Hospitality
April 20, 2018
If you’ve witnessed the pre-internet era, you probably know how vacation planning used to unfold − trips would be planned months in advance, bookings would be done through a travel agent, and information would be collected through guidebooks and holiday brochures.
The internet changed everything. Travel agents were replaced by online booking portals. Guidebooks were replaced by blogs and travel influencers. And every moment captured during a personal vacation is now a highlight on social news feeds. The destinations remained the same, but the journeys took a whole new path.
In 2017, the global travel industry clocked over $1.6 trillion in gross bookings, making it one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world. But it’s not just the industry that’s growing − traveler expectations are rising too, and in this digitally connected era, customers are calling the shots.
Competitive last-minute deals and extra benefits are not enough anymore. Customers want a frictionless and hassle-free booking experience that provides the most relevant information at the right time. But the online marketplace is hugely competitive. According to a report, over 95% of leisure travelers read at least seven reviews online before booking their holidays. How prepared are you prepared to meet customer demands and attract customers who have a surplus of choices and are constantly bombarded with the best deals and attractive offers?
Let’s look at the 3 key factors you must consider to attract, engage, and convert the modern day always-connected traveler.
Be coordinated across channels
Whether your brand is offering a five-star hotel stay or gourmet meal at a restaurant, customers expect continuous and concordant experiences across channels − from your website, to your app, to your call center. A coordinated experience gives an end-to-end view that equips you to stay agile and deliver personalized responses. Here’s an example − if a traveler’s flight is canceled, their room reservation must be seamlessly transferred to the same hotel chain in the city. And they can now get an automated text from the hotel taking their order for free room service so it’s ready when they arrive. A frustrating experience can quickly be turned into a delightful one.
Personalize and Re-Personalize
Rising expectations are causing travelers to assume that every experience will be personalized to Netflix and Amazon levels. Travelers want their preferences to be stored and applied to future interactions. That’s why personalized targeting is critical. Consumers don’t just expect your messages to be tailored to their needs but also to their individual preferences. And it doesn’t have to end at one-time targeting. Brands can retarget the same traveler with a customized version of a previous offer to drive better conversions.
Appeal to the Visual Senses
Visuals play a big role in the travel & hospitality sector. Travelers love seeing scenic images, high quality slide shows, and snippets of exhilarating travel destinations. Make sure customers visiting your digital properties are treated with the best destination images apart from customized offers, tailored itineraries, and prompt online response systems.
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