Travel brands: Is your CX staying 3 steps ahead of travelers? It can with AI

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As the year draws to a close, many travel and hospitality brands are reflecting on the last 12 months and thinking about ways they can improve customer experience (CX) in 2024.

There’s no denying the travel industry has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels; 96% of consumers plan to travel in 2024, even as economic uncertainties linger. Yet too many travel and hospitality brands are still reactively responding to customers’ needs and problems when they should be delivering more proactive CX.

To truly stand out and win over customers, you need to offer quick, seamless experiences that feel personalized. Customer and employee preferences are evolving:
Companies that don’t acknowledge and embrace these shifting expectations risk losing customers to brands that do – yet brands must do so in a strategic, cost-effective way.

AI can help CX take flight

One of AI’s biggest benefits is its ability to reduce or eliminate human error. Use it to improve ticketing accuracy and stay on top of last-minute schedule changes. By shifting some of these tasks from human agents to automation, you’ll prevent mistakes that can happen at the human level.

It’s also increasingly important to leverage AI to provide customers with proactive travel guidance. Nothing’s more frustrating to a traveler than realizing a flight’s been canceled at the last minute. Turn an aggravating experience into a positive one by using AI to predict problems before they occur – and proactively offer solutions.

AI-powered tools can comb through huge amounts of data and identify trends, patterns, and potential roadblocks in travelers’ journeys. This enables brands to proactively reach out to customers in a way that reassures them you’re on top of things for them. Send a message, for instance, that says: “We predict your flight will be delayed or canceled due to weather. Here are some other options we’ve compiled so we can take care of this quickly for you.” That kind of outreach goes a long way toward building customer satisfaction and loyalty.

And in those moments when customers do need to interact with a person, use AI to empower associates by giving them the information they need at their fingertips to resolve inquires quickly. The results? Better experiences for customers and associates alike.

AI holds great potential for the travel and hospitality industry but it needs to be implemented thoughtfully, in conjunction with a human touch, and with your customers’ needs and pain points at its core.

Balancing AI with humans is just one of the megatrends TTEC has identified that will transform CX and EX in the coming year and beyond. For more, check out our strategy guide, “CX Trends 2024: 4 megatrends shaping the future of customer and employee experiences.”