The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit by the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. In the UK all travel was suspended indefinitely with all holidays having to be postponed or cancelled for this reason. Since then we have returned back to a new normal way of living with no restrictions currently in place. However, the travel industry at large has had to implement some major changes in order to remain competitive. Customers have become accustomed to purchasing things such as holidays online. In order to stand out and remain competitive, businesses in the tourism industry will need to look at optimising their customer experience. In this blog, we will be covering some of the common trends that are popping up with customer experience in the tourism industry and how these can be adapted to your business.
1 – More customers are buying online instead of at a travel agent
One of the most common trends since COVID 19 that occurred across all industries was the increase in online sales. This was mainly due to a lack of choice as all but the vital bricks and mortar stores needed to close. Customers found a new home online with many new eCommerce businesses starting to flourish during this era. Customers found the convenience of online shopping to be an appealing thing and this has carried over to the post-COVID World. This means many businesses are continuing to adapt and grow their eCommerce presence to capitalise on this new opportunity.
2 – Customers complete research online particularly looking at other customer’s reviews/videos
As part of the online experience, many customers are completing research before booking a holiday online as well. Many are choosing this over going to a travel agency and completing their research there. Travel agencies that take advantage of an online presence will have a much better opportunity of profiting in the long term. Ensuring that you have a well-optimised website, great imagery, and detailed descriptions is vital. Following up on all inquiries with regular emails and updates is key. Get customers to leave an email before downloading a full brochure, this will add them to your email list and enable you to start building a database that you can use for easy re-marketing efforts. Customers often are not converted in the first few emails. It is worth it playing the long game.
3 – Omni-channel marketing
One way to capitalise on the ever-growing eCommerce market is with omni-channel marketing. Customer experience in the travel industry requires a modern and forward thinking approach in order to stand out. You will want to present your offerings and deals in an easy-to-digest way. You will also want to simplify the user journey with omni-channel marketing. This will essentially link all of your separate online channels together, bringing a common theme to your marketing efforts. Making the customer journey as simple as possible is key.
4 – Augmented Reality and AI Chatbots
Using augmented reality is a new innovative way to really provide a positive customer experience. This is similar to AI but is accessible simply through a smart phone. An example of how this can support the tourism industry is an app where a customer can point their phone at an ancient cathedral and be given some key information about its history. Using AI chatbots will enable customers to get quick information regarding their booking without having to wait to speak to a customer service operative. Any major problems can then be passed from the chatbot onto the customer service team who can deal with the issue.
5 – Customer communications management is key
It is far cheaper to maintain a current customer than it is to try and obtain a new customer. With this in mind, customer communication management is key for travel businesses looking to keep an eye on their bottom line. By having an organised and smooth-running customer communications management system in place, you will be able to maintain and grow your customer base. Having emails sent out to customers with order confirmations, building up your email database, split testing emails, and advertising between different demographics. All of these things will result in a richer customer experience. So there are 5 ways that customer experience in the tourism industry is changing that you can choose to capitalize on today. Here at Sefas, we offer a CCM (customer communications management) software solution that will enable your business to craft the ideal omni channel solution for your communications. Our software will also audit all of your communications ensuring they are always upto standard. You can then send them out with ease using our hybrid mail solution. All included in one neat package. To find out more please get in contact today.