The hospitality and travel sector has always relied heavily on customer experience for differentiation. Today’s customers don’t just look for the restaurant that offers the right menu or the hotel with the best prices. Your clients are searching for safe, personalised, and comfortable experiences.
Now more than ever, the hospitality sector is under increasing pressure to re-engage missing consumers and bring the excitement of travel back to the world. According to market analysts like Deloitte, the travel and hospitality industry was one of the areas most significantly impacted by the pandemic. Lockdowns and restrictions prevented significant business from taking place during both 2020 and 2021.
While the performance of the travel sector in 2021 did demonstrate some movement in the right direction, sales are still 35% lower than pre-pandemic levels. So, how do you build a business case for new investments in CX when your budget is tighter than ever?
1. Highlight the Need for Transformation
Though the thought of investing more time and money into CX solutions when your budget is low might seem daunting, it’s not nearly as bad as overlooking the importance of transformation. To survive new regulations and expectations from customers in 2022 and beyond, companies will need to ensure they’re on the cutting edge with customer experience.
Upgrading your CX strategy means you’ll be able to appeal to the 77% of travellers who say they’ll be willing to begin travelling as soon as they’ve received their vaccinations. These customers will expect to be able to reach your contact centre through multiple channels (from phone call to text and live chat). They’ll also be looking for more flexible, safer ways to engage with hospitality.
Everything from contactless booking for your restaurant or hotel business, to contact-free check-in at an airport will be crucial to demonstrate you have your customers’ best interests at heart. Don’t’ underestimate the importance of transformation today.
2. Address the Needs of Employees
It isn’t just customer needs changing in the new hospitality and travel marketplace, but employee requirements too. To serve customers wherever they are with contactless, safe, and convenient experiences, your employees need access to the latest tools and systems.
A cloud-based contact centre solution will allow your service representatives and agents to continue answering customer questions and addressing problems wherever they are. This will be increasingly important in an age of remote and hybrid work.
CRM tools will provide employees with access to information about customer preferences and previous purchasing data so they can offer more personalised experiences. At the same time, helpdesk and service desk tools should provide your team with additional support when dealing with complex problems or queries. Updating your CX tools will make your team more productive, efficient, and engaged while at work.
3. Consider Changing Regulations
One of the biggest challenges faced by hospitality and travel companies in recent years, has been adapting to the changing regulations and guidelines imposed for safe and effective travel. The right CX solutions can be an important tool in keeping track of your response to these new rules for auditing and investigation purposes.
Your cloud-based CCaaS solution will make it easier to safely retain and record important conversations with customers which may need to be addressed by industry regulators. You’ll also find it’s easier to issue updates about changing rules to your customers when you have an outbound contact centre capable of sending automated text messages and email announcements.
A strong set of CX solutions will ensure you can collect valuable information from your audience and use it to your advantage, without falling victim to various data issues. The right technology can also offer additional support to your agents when they’re working away from dedicated office space to stay safe. For instance, helpdesks can help teams to troubleshoot problems wherever they are.
4. Prioritise Customer Loyalty
Dedicated repeat customers and brand advocates have always been crucial to the growth of hospitality and travel companies. Now, more than ever, as customers shop in an uncertain environment, they’ll be looking for recommendations from their friends and positive reviews before they consider purchasing anything from a hotel room to a meal.
CX solutions will be critical to building meaningful interactions with your target audience. A CCaaS solution can help you to track your customer journey across multiple touchpoints and determine what it usually takes to transform a consumer into someone willing to refer new clients to your brand. CRM technology can help you to pinpoint your VIP customers, to offer them a higher quality of service or unique deals on their next purchase.
Investing in your CX solution will help you to not only improve the experiences your customers have with your brand but ensure you can encourage more long-term interactions and conversions too. You might even be able to set up your own loyalty programs.
5. Look for Opportunities in Innovation
Finally, remember that investing in CX solutions now can open the door for further innovation and opportunities in the future. Moving into a cloud-based environment for customer service ensures you can be ready to update and enhance your customer service strategy whenever you choose, with new features like artificial intelligence, chatbots, and virtual assistants.
As customers look for safer ways to travel and enjoy recreational activities, companies will need to remain agile to stay ahead of the competition. The right CX solution will enable everything from comprehensive contactless digital interactions to better analytics, so you can make informed decisions about customer service in the future.
When making a business case for CX in travel and hospitality, don’t forget to highlight the value of being able to update your technology whenever you see fit. Today’s innovative cloud-based solutions are constantly upgrading. What’s more, many of the tools available can integrate with your existing investments, so you can use them without set-up issues.