Wanderlust is in the air. The world is ready to travel, and with changing travel guidelines in place, this is becoming increasingly possible.
The travel and tourism industry was significantly disrupted in 2020. With COVID restrictions clamping down on travel, all the usual predictions went out the window and instead businesses were driven to create innovative ways to cater to customer demands. In fact, some airlines actually offered “flights to nowhere,” directly serving their travel-starved community!
Travel and tourism were among the worst hit industries in the past year with many hotels still looking for federal aid to survive. But now that the world is finally opening up and normalcy is on the horizon, businesses are looking to attract more guests and revive the travel and tourism world.
In fact, the world is now bracing for “revenge travel” as restrictions are finally lifted and the pent-up demand for travel experiences is unleashed. However, it’s critical to remember that health anxiety is still high and customers are still cautious about where they go and the places they choose.
The Role of Customer Experience in Travel and Tourism
Customer experience has become an integral part of business strategy regardless of the industry. In the face of fierce competition, it is increasingly obvious that more than the product, it’s the experience that sells. However, travel and tourism take this to an all-new level.
Even though the wanderer’s world still has a long road to recovery, customer experience is the key to igniting guest interest, alleviating their anxiety, and creating an environment of assurance and comfort.
Customer Experience: The Game Changer
When it comes to travel and tourism, now is the time to be proactive instead of reactive in understanding customer needs.
Instead of waiting for concerns to come up, focus on foreseeing possible hurdles and addressing them in time to show customers that they are understood and valued. This is especially crucial if you want to take advantage of “revenge travel” as people finally get a chance to explore the world with reduced restrictions.
For example, take customer support: as more people look to travel, the number of inquiries businesses receive will increase as well. So, when the reduced staff have to handle this higher load, it will immediately impact the quality of service customers receive.
Instead, proactively setting processes in place will help maintain clear communication. After all, anxiety is still running high, and being consistent will go a long way to diffuse the panic.
Critical CX Differentiators for Travel and Tourism
Be present across channels and reduce response times so your customers have all the information they need, when they need it.
Talk about the precautions you’re taking, promote testimonials, and show people they are safe. The more assured your prospective guests feel, the more likely they are to choose you.
SoGoConnect helps you stay ahead of it all by flagging concerns, redirecting tickets to the proper teams, and helping you close the loop on feedback to make sure your (prospective) guests are at ease.
Ask for Feedback (or Just Insights)
Sometimes the right answer isn’t the obvious one. With the pandemic seemingly coming under control, more people are committed to travel this year than the last. However, travel anxiety is still there. Many people haven’t flown for more than a year, and doing so now comes with its own sense of worry. So, while the concern about precautions might be the obvious worry customers face, sometimes it’s simply the uncertainty about this new experience that challenges them.
By proactively reaching out for feedback, insights, and expectations, you can stay in the know about how to put your clients at ease and create a more fulfilling experience.
Give Employees More Autonomy
Yes, the CDC says that fully-vaccinated people can forego the use of masks for the most part. However, that is not to say that guidelines can’t abruptly change. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen overnight.
Global travel restrictions are still very much in place, and sudden changes in circumstances can disrupt travel plans in seconds. In such cases, it’s essential to prioritize the customer’s comfort – and the best way to do that is to give your customer support personnel autonomy! If they think it’s a great idea to immediately offer a customer a change in booking or a quick cancellation with minimal charges without having to jump through hoops – that’s their call. It will prevent customers from waiting in long lines or on hold while showing them that they are a priority (and it will reduce the stress on your employees as well!)
Travel is picking up, but it may still be a while before the industry recovers completely. As hotels and airlines begin advertising indulgent escapes, it’s the customer experience they deliver that will make all the difference.