We recently passed the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 in North America, where the travel and hospitality industry was hit especially hard. Some trends in the industry will resume, but it will not be a linear recovery. Leisure travel will likely return before business travel, and domestic travel will return before international. Companies need to prepare now to catch customers at the right time with an eye on turning them into loyal advocates. There are several areas those in the travel industry must focus on in order to win customers and gain market share.
- Make guest personalization a strategic priority. Organizations need to be using intelligence for targeted communications so the right customer gets the right message at the right time. Showcasing how you can help them escape the everyday through a unique and tailored experience will be essential. Leisure will return before business travel. Therefore, travel companies must put a greater focus on the leisure traveler and figure out what the company can do to exceed customer expectations and keep them coming back for more. Knowing what customers want does not happen overnight. Companies that have the right measurements systems in place to garner insight and holistic knowledge around their customers will win in the market.
- Offer flexibility. In addition, we’re already seeing that the pandemic has put more power in the hands of the consumer. It’s quickly becoming the norm for travel companies to offer more flexibility to the customer with options for adjusting/canceling a trip without a fee. Companies must be aware of these trends and adjust their policies accordingly.
- Finally, safety should be top of mind for both airlines and hotels. They need to take safety and cleanliness seriously but also need to succinctly tell customers what they are doing to ensure proper safety protocols (e.g., wearing masks, performing extra cleanings, etc.). From an operational perspective, touch points and in-person contact should also be reduced where possible. For some companies, this may mean upgrading their mobile apps to allow mobile check-in and the ability to contact a concierge or report a problem. Having a CX measurement process in place with closed-loop feedback is extremely important to measure what is working and what is falling short.
Download our latest paper for more insights and tips for ensuring you have the right measurement systems in place to prepare for the next wave in hospitality.