A McKinsey report on the travel and hospitality industry notes the landscape has seen “unprecedented” change since the pandemic. Lockdowns, restrictions on travel, and an overall ban on hospitality-based experiences have left the sector in a state of significant turmoil.
The good news is there is still demand for amazing travel and hospitality experiences among modern consumers. The younger generations making up the majority of the buyer community consistently prize “experiences” over things.
Travel and hospitality brands can recover from the impact the pandemic has made over the last couple of years. However, the companies primed to thrive will be the ones with the highest focus on customer experience. Here are just some of the top use cases for CX in hospitality and travel during 2022.
1. Revive Passion for Travel
Covid-19 halted the decades-long growth and transformation of the travel and tourism sector in its tracks. During the pandemic, around 91% of the global population were residing in countries with restrictions that limited travel.
As a result, the international tourism sector decreased in size by 22% during the first quarter of 2020, then by 65% in the second. By the end of 2020, travel in the US saw a loss of around $679 billion. The good news is that just because people weren’t able to travel during the pandemic, didn’t mean they didn’t want to. A report shows that around 77% of travellers would be willing to start travelling internationally as soon as they’ve been vaccinated.
Offering excellent customer experience, via omnichannel booking opportunities, fast-paced resolution to travel problems and even improved sales, will be crucial to reviving the sector in the years ahead. The easier it is for people to start travelling again, the faster they’ll jump into the industry.
2. Improve Team Productivity and Performance
To deliver great customer experiences, companies need to first provide their employees with the resources they need to thrive in any situation. An increased focus on CX opportunities as we head into 2022 and beyond will be crucial to boosting team productivity, performance, and engagement.
For instance, a cloud-based CCaaS solution in the modern hospitality and travel sector will ensure people through all stages of the consumer journey will be able to access the right support. Your employees will be able to access the same crucial technology whether they’re booking a hotel visit from a back-end office or interacting with a consumer in the hotel lobby.
When employees have access to the same, aligned, and optimized technology solutions across all channels, the whole company can operate more effectively. An investment in CX can even include spending on things like self-service help desks for remote and distributed teams, where employees can access quick answers to any questions they might have.
3. Increase Customer Loyalty
According to a survey by PWC, one in three customers will walk away from a brand they previously loved after just one bad experience. Many brands will struggle to meet customer expectations as they continue to evolve in the new age of hospitality. As we head into a post-pandemic world, consumers will need constant reassurance they’re going to be kept as safe as possible by the companies they’re investing their money in.
A strong set of CX tools in the travel and hospitality sector will allow companies to build adaptable and resilient processes which lay the foundation for stronger customer experiences and long-term loyalty. For instance, a CCaaS solution with omnichannel capabilities allows airline teams to support their customers through every stage of booking, changing, and even boarding a flight.
A customer service application for a restaurant could allow employees to take orders and book a customer into their seat on the day without needing any face-to-face interaction, reducing the risk associated with human contact. Most importantly, all of these tools will allow companies to collect valuable data about their customers and their needs, so they can continue to innovate and improve in future.
4. Ensure Greater Efficiency
In January 2021, the number of flights scheduled worldwide was lower than the number in 2020 by 43.5%. While travel and tourism opportunities are still low, there’s no doubt they will begin to increase again as the world’s restrictions begin to lessen.
For those in the travel and hospitality space, the challenge of ensuring consumers feel safe while travelling is rising while other new obstacles also emerge. As an example, many organizations now deal with higher contact volumes throughout the year, and as more people are vaccinated, they will no doubt have additional questions to ask about their travel and hospitality opportunities.
When customers start reaching out to service teams again, those employees need to be equipped with the right tools to keep things running as smoothly as possible. Investing in the right CX solutions will ensure businesses can offer everything from self-service solutions with chatbots and FAQs to more personalized guidance through video and even extended reality interactions.
5. Compete Through Digital Experiences
Customer behaviours have changed in many ways since the onset of the pandemic. For instance, many consumers have become more accustomed to the idea of digital interactions. These digital experiences will be something clients and customers continue to look for as they head into a new age of interactions. Health resorts, hotels, and restaurants will all need to think about how they can become more competitive with unique, digital interactions.
As travel increases and people spend more time outside of their homes, hospitality companies will need to create more personal and convenient interactions without necessarily being face-to-face with consumers. 80% of consumers say they’d be willing to download an app that would allow them to check-in and out of a hotel virtually.
With the right CX solutions, companies can offer more of the “safe” digital experiences their consumers desire while reducing contact. The more companies can enhance their relationships with customers digitally, the more trust they’ll gain.
It’s no secret that the travel and hospitality industry is facing a lot of change right now. Fortunately, with the right CX solutions, any company can pave the way to a brighter future.