While 2020 was very much a year of survival, there are several things travel- and hospitality-focused companies can do to attract and retain customers for a more successful future.
As you’ll read throughout this issue, it may be a while before business travel returns. On the leisure side, however, we are seeing some signs of hope, especially for domestic travel. At least twice as many respondents said they plan to drive or fly for U.S. travel compared to last summer, according to findings from the latest Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker.
So what does all this mean? The next wave in travel is coming, and companies need to prepare now. There are several areas for focus in order to win customers and gain market share.
Make guest personalization a strategic priority. Organizations will need to use intelligence for targeted communications so the right customer gets the right message at the right time. Catching people at the right time and showcasing how you can help them escape the everyday through a unique and tailored experience will be essential. Knowing what customers want doesn’t happen overnight. Companies that have the right measurements systems in place to garner insight and holistic knowledge about their customers will win in the market.
Offer flexibility. It’s quickly becoming the norm for travel companies to offer more flexibility to the customer with options for adjusting or canceling a reservation without a fee. Companies must be aware of these trends and adjust their policies accordingly.
Safety should still be top of mind. Companies need to take safety and cleanliness seriously but also need to succinctly tell customers what they are doing to ensure property safety protocols (e.g., wearing masks, performing extra cleanings, etc.). Operationally, touch points and in-person contact should also be reduced where possible. For some companies, this may mean upgrading their mobile apps to allow mobile check-in or the ability to contact a concierge or report a problem.
In order to thrive, companies in the travel economy need to listen extra closely to customers—their preferences, their dreams and desires, and their safety concerns. A robust CX measurement strategy will be critical to providing leaders with valuable intelligence for improving operations and better understanding customers.