Most travel companies have set the wheels in motion for their digital transformation. And for a good reason, too; operating in a cost-effective way that’s accessible regardless of physical restrictions has allowed businesses in the sector to continue generating income.
But at a time when competition is fiercer than ever, your customer experience could make all the difference. A Gartner survey found that the main point of competition for a staggering 81 percent of companies is their customer experience. If yours is lacking due to a clunky, slow or excessively complex digital presence that isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it’s time to rethink.
Here are just some of the ways that prioritising customer experience during your digital transformation can pay off.
Keeping the travel dream alive
Interacting with travel brands digitally has allowed customers to keep their dreams of adventures alive. In the middle of a bleak winter lockdown, fantasising about future getaways and planning something to look forward to has been a much-needed tonic.
Now, thanks to digital solutions, it’s easier than ever to immerse your customers in the travel fantasy you’re selling. In the year (and counting) since the pandemic began, overall online penetration in China has risen by 15–20 percent. The same trend can be seen across the globe, in every area, from grocery shopping to education.
Improving your digital customer experience isn’t just about accessibility and functionality (though they’re pretty vital too). You’re no longer relying on a static brochure to show off your products or services. High resolution and interactive 360 degree images and VR experiences allow your customers to explore their chosen destination and keep the excitement alive for trips that are still a little while away.
Making sure the ride is smooth
An excellent app, website or travel platform should be intuitive, engaging and enjoyable to use. However, your customers’ definition of an accessible online presence could look a bit different to yours. McKinsey found that, during China’s first lockdown in January 2020, the number of customers over 45 using e-commerce sites rose by 27 percent. If you want to capitalise on this new, older online audience, you must reduce potential friction points as much as you can.
To welcome everyone, including less tech-savvy consumers, your digital presence must do everything it can to make using your services accessible. Looking incredible and using fancy tricks might fit your vision, but it’s not fit for purpose if it’s a pain to use.
Boosting audience engagement
Your digital presence can also play a massive part in how likely customers are to recommend you. 65 percent of customers say their online experience is a ‘significant factor’ in their decision to tell others about your brand. And in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, companies who were considered leaders in customer experience secured three times higher returns for their shareholders than those who hadn’t made it a priority.
If you’re really looking to up the customer engagement ante, driving omnichannel engagement is crucial. Make it easy for people to reach you in the way that best suits them, and you’ll reap the rewards. Those who interact with your brand in more than one way spend an average of 10 percent more online. You’re also likely to retain up to 89 percent of omnichannel customers, compared to 33 percent of single-channel ones.
Inspiring customer confidence
Research suggests the portion of customers planning or actively booking their 2021 break could be as high as 70 percent . Yet, to heavily paraphrase, the best-laid plans don’t necessarily translate to action. Though the UK’s outlook is positive as the vaccination programme continues its successful rollout, there’s still plenty of uncertainty regarding international travel.
Allowing customers to book, amend, cancel and seek help through digital channels will encourage people to take a chance and return to travel. And signposting visitors to areas they’re likely to care about most, such as your Covid-19 policies, will show them you care about more than their money.
If you’d like to whip your travel company’s digital presence into shape, we can help. Get in touch to find out more about our specialist services.