If you were asked to trace the journey of the modern traveler where would it go? Their phone will let them breeze through an airport, they may book an Airbnb in a trendy neighborhood or they’ll be on a constant lookout for the perfect Snapchat to share back home. From just 2013 to 2018 Millennial traveler’s Instagram usage has shot up by 375 percent according to MMGY Global’s “Portrait of American Travelers 2018-2019.”
While today’s travelers are tech savvy, they are also incredibly conscious of how their journey impacts the world. Just as digital tools have made it easier than ever to travel, it has also broadcasted how the traveler’s footprint can leave its mark on the world- and many want their travels to reflect that.
That’s why travel and hospitality organizations must evolve into a field that combines human and technological capabilities to be not only convenient but also empathetic to their customer’s needs. To explore this more, we outlined tips any organization should follow from our newest eBook at TTEC, “4 New Rules of Travel: Modernize travel and hospitality for today’s customer.”
Rule 1: Promote your values
Travelers are trying to rebrand themselves as more than just a tourist in the countries they visit. Social media and news coverage has put a spotlight on how travelers impact the environment, animals and cultures they interact with. Research from Booking.com showed that in 2019, over half of global travelers surveyed wanted to make more sustainable choices.
Travelers are increasingly looking for experiences that positively affect the communities they visit. And there is a growing interest in travel organizations that promote ethical responsibility. Organizations are beginning to be expected to provide regular updates and transparency on initiatives that show how they are bringing value to the globe.
A champion of this is Intrepid Travel, one of the world’s largest tourism companies, who regularly shares blog posts on sustainable tourism, such as trips that support local female entrepreneurs in Myanmar.
Rule 2: Create unique experiences for unique travelers
With an influx of solo travelers exploring the world on their own, over half of Americas have traveled alone or have consider it according to YouGov, people are seeking out experiences for their own personal growth. Blogs and social media have played a part by sharing the most unique corners of the globe, driving their desire to seek out more experiential and interactive trips- while also finding opportunities to find likeminded people along the way.
Keeping in part to rule #1 of respecting your destination, travel agencies have sought to ditch the generic tourism approach and instead they seek out customers who share their values and create value proposition around the difference experiences they provide. It’s about creating genuine and interactive moments that immerse the travelers.
Rule 3: Talent meets technology
It’s hard to come by someone who hasn’t hid a roadblock while traveling. Booking issues, lengthy waits and lane changes are all issues that we dread but have come to expect. Likewise, customer service must come to expect these problems as well, it’s quite easy for them to handle these tasks but it takes up time that could spent on more meaningful customer interactions.
That’s why organizations are automating these frequently encountered yet simple queries with chatbots and self-service tools. Several businesses are using chatbot logs to capture voice of customer about individual customer experiences, purchase history and problems to garner insight that can be used to add a personal touch in future customer interactions.
Agents can then be free to serve up more meaningful and complex issues such as lost luggage or stressful, and often expensive, refunds.
Rule 4: Keep it real-time
Everything from transportation to streaming is winning in the omnichannel game, customers want to rely on smart devices and wearables to manage their lives in real-time. Travel and hospitality need to reflect this.
Prominent travel organizations are creating apps and social media built on an omnichannel platform to give travelers the information they need on the go, when they want, where they want it. Some of the best performers we are seeing players who are utilising simple, easy to use layouts for their travel apps. The minimalistic design makes it simple to access real-time information about tickets, times and alerts.
Remember, more times than not, a customer racing to their flight isn’t going to impressed by a flashy layout. Keep it simple.
Embark on a new journey
The new rules of travel and hospitality in are simple, it’s a balancing act of humanity and technology to create experiences that are both meaningful and efficient. Neglecting either of the two can be detrimental not only to day-to-day consumer interactions with your organization but it will also lag you behind in the growing expectations of the modern traveler.
Read more about creating great travel experiences in TTEC’s e-book, “4 New Rules of Travel: Modernize travel and hospitality for today’s customer.”