With the many booking and comparison websites available, consumers can now book the holiday of their dreams. They don’t promise unconditional loyalty to a travel agency, but choose the best holiday for the lowest price. However, with a clearer insight into the traveller’s customer journey, travel agencies have many more options other than price to distinguish themselves from competitors.
Though it’s an important variable, consumers care about more than just price. Good experiences, personal service and the offer also come into play when they choose a travel operator. Besides, consumers are more inclined to choose an agency they are familiar with, for example from experiences of friends and family. This offers opportunities for travel agencies to influence the choice of the consumers. But to influence consumers you’ll need to be aware of the customer needs and your opportunities to meet those throughout the customer journey. Here are some examples of ways to entice customers to choose you as their operator, both now and in the future.
Join the travellers on their customer journey
In the awareness phase, you’ll want to draw the consumer’s attention towards your website. Personalisation and segmentation of your offers and communications are essential. Map your customers to help you predict the vacation they will book based on data such as search queries. You can also look into their previous journeys, family composition and click behaviour. This way, you can show a personalised offer based on the customer profile, giving you the opportunity to send out personalised email and SMS campaigns.
During the orientation phase, it’s not only important to show the most relevant content for the consumer, but also make sure the customer can get into direct contact with a travel agent. Artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots can help travel agents give the consumer an answer as soon as possible. A chatbot can also use historic data on the customer to help offer the right product suggestions.
Read more about effective customer care with chatbots >
When customers wants to book their holiday with your company, they reach the purchase phase. Just as the previous step, this phase is all about making your customer’s life as easy as possible. Of course, reducing the price may drop the threshold towards purchase. But there are other ways to make sure they’ll pass through this conversion phase smoothly. For example, you may want to consider dividing the travel expenses over all members of the travel party. This means, each individual receives his separate bill. Don’t want your customer to be scared off by the cost of the trip? You could offer the option to pay via multiple terms. With spread payments, you will remove the threshold to conversion.
Read more about our payment solution AutoCollect >
After the holiday is booked and the first instalment is paid, your involvement in the customer journey continues. Here you can enhance the experience and service whilst increasing revenue. This is the time for travel agents to offer handy up-sell opportunities. Does the traveller need a seat or accommodation upgrade? Do they want to check in a suitcase, rent a car or add insurance? Don’t overload them with all the upgrades you offer, but send out personalised offers via SMS campaigns.
Read more about SMS Marketing Campaigns >
The travel phase in the customer journey has arrived. This is where you can prove you offer the very best customer service. Make sure you have a clear customer profile so you can send out relevant notifications and information. Inform the customer of gate changes, transfer details and provide him with information on the destination, such as weather conditions and time difference. Be aware that the customers may have switched off their internet before boarding and may not turn it back on whilst they are abroad. Use SMS to make sure your notifications get through.
In spite of all the good preparations leading up to this phase, complaints about the accommodation can always arise during the traveller’s stay. Filing a complaint in another country can be a hassle for your customer. Just like the orientation phase, you can choose to offer 24/7 support with the help of chatbots. As a travel organisation, you can deal with this complaint with the local accommodation provider. This way, your customers can soon get back to making the most out of their holiday.
During the holiday, you can do more to enrich the holiday and improve the experience with your company. For example, send out tips for excursions close to the traveller’s accommodation and make sure these match the customer profile. Send out an SMS with a personalised excursions top-5 with landing pages for more information. Make it as easy possible for your customer to find the trip they will talk about for months to come.
- Returning home When the customer has returned home after a memorable holiday with the greatest service, you’ll want them to share the positive experience with friends and family. Send the customer a warm welcome home and ask them to fill in a survey or post a review on your website. And don’t forget to listen closely to their experiences so you have additional insights for next year.
Want to know more about the possibilities of mobile in each phase of the customer journey? Please contact our sector specialist Viola de Bruijn. She can tell you more about our mobile solutions for travel and leisure.
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