When building products and services for the traveler, you design with the goal of meeting all of a traveler’s expectations. How can you manage that when there are so many kinds of travelers? For some travelers, it may be about personalizing customer service or offering a rich online shopping experience. You can also make an impact behind the scenes. Automating operational workflows and recovering from disruption could mean overcoming irregular operations in less time. For those busy business travelers, that’s very possibly what they are looking for.
All of these needs require both technology and data. Imagine what the traveler would experience if you could integrate even just one more piece of information at each phase of their trip? How might it exceed their expectations?
When looking for data to enrich customer touch points, consider what kind of impact you’re looking to have and what will make it most relevant in that moment. The technology available to power your solution is evolving to make it easier for every part of the traveler’s journey to contain more relevant information that will delight your users and differentiate your service.
Give choices they’ll remember
Building an optimized online experience requires providing a mix of options that align to specific consumer needs. For example, showing a variety of suitable flight options and amenities could bring a first-time shopper back to your site for future trips. Having the biggest reach of schedules and connections doesn’t build loyalty if the options don’t match trip preferences.
Being memorable in the sea of online travel searches requires having that something extra. For example, configuring your air search results to display the performance of each on-time arrival could be that personalized touch that influences the purchase decision. Linking together data and presenting it in a unique way that fits your brand and your customer could be the choice your travelers are looking for.
When CTravel launched FlightsFrom.com, they integrated schedules data into their service to help users explore destination opportunities through non-stop flights from a specific airport. The intent was to help travelers their business meetings or weekend holidays based on their time schedules and their closest airports. As a result, visitors were spending upwards of 30 minutes on the website exploring flight opportunities.
“Our customers know they can trust us and that they won’t find this level of information anywhere else,” said Patrik Larsson, Chief Executive Officer at CTravel.
What if you could display on-time arrival ratings per flight or design a shopping experience that sorts by known preferred flight features? Bringing the data from behind the scenes into the traveler experience shows users you’re looking out for their needs. By providing helpful information, travelers are more likely to be convinced of your technology’s value.
Show you’re thinking about their needs
There was a time when travelers were simply happy to know the status of their flight. Any advanced communication was better than frantically scanning the airport digital signage once they arrived at the airport. However, times have changed and with the evolution of technology and consumer expectations, we now live in an age where demand for personalization and exceptional customer service is high.
Personalization has been a buzzword in the travel industry for a long time. However, travel companies have been slow to embrace it. It has come to the point where personalization is no longer an option: 41% of consumers have switched from one brand to another, citing ‘poor personalization’ as the cause. This single statistic shows that brands can no longer ignore personalization. Travel brands need to create personalized offerings just to stay relevant.
Thanks to more advanced marketing practices in the past decade, personalizing the message goes way beyond using a name. As savvy consumers, travelers expect to see you know and understand their situation.
There are three key ways you can show customers you’re thinking about their needs:
- Alerting capabilities. Inform users throughout their journey with real-time flight status updates that cover all segments of their flight.
- Personalized recommendations. Push promotional offers based on what is happening to a flight.
- Anticipating all possible scenarios. Overcome irregular operations quickly with real-time data feeds.
Luckily, online touch points create opportunities to make small customer experience improvements on a large scale—with tailored marketing campaigns or digital novelties such as greetings, reminders, and notifications. With the right data, these touch points can be produced more intelligently, based on what the user is experiencing at that moment. For example, something as simple as a coupon for a free coffee near their gate can comfort a delayed traveler. Instances like these can lead to increased revenue if the right message is delivered at the right time. In fact, 85% of travelers say personalization has influenced their purchase decisions, and it is because the offers they received aligned with their needs in that moment.
Reassure they aren’t alone
In situations of distress, most people want a hero. They want a solution to their problem as quickly and easily as they can get it, especially when they travel. Imagine having the capabilities to turn your technology into that hero.
In March 2019, we conducted a survey that showed over a third of global travelers (36%) feel they don’t get enough information about delayed and cancelled flights. The survey also revealed nearly two-thirds (57%) of those polled only found out about their flight delay or cancelation once they had reached the airport.
While communicating with travelers via alerts lets people know you’re ready to help, remember travelers aren’t only suffering from lack of information. They want to feel assured their service providers are looking out for them and you can provide even more value by offering timely, actionable information. Whatever the service you provide, it can have a bigger impact when it is relevant to their situation.
What if you could notify a traveler of a delay in their connecting flight while they were still in the air on the first leg of their journey? Or what if you not only let travelers know their flight is delayed but also adjusted their itineraries before the delay happened? Integrating richer, more detailed and more varied types of data into your services empowers travelers to anticipate and adapt to unexpected events, which is sure to make your brand heroic in their eyes.
It doesn’t always have to be problem solving and disruption management that makes your services stand out. Consistent, friendly messaging throughout a trip also has a significant influence on customer sentiment and loyalty. Many people want to know you’re available when they need you. Therefore, tailoring your in-flight messages according to the weather or the status of a flight makes travelers feel like you’re watching out for them.
At Cirium, we’re exploring what analytics are going to empower more relevant interactions and accelerate decisions to shape the future of travel. To learn more, explore how you can improve the traveler experience. Or read more articles like this.