Hotels, airlines, car rental companies and others in the travel industry prioritise the customer experience, as it is one of the single most effective competitive differentiators. Indeed, companies that deliver in this area are more likely to generate customer loyalty and more likely to build positive reputations. In this article, you will find out about eight of the most effective ways for those in the tourism industry to improve the experience for customers.
8 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience
1. Smart Rooms
Within the hotel section of the travel industry, one of the growing customer experience trends is the use of voice recognition technology to create ‘smart rooms’. Essentially, these allow guests to control various aspects of the room through simple voice commands, making the experience more convenient.
One of the best-known examples of this is Alexa for Hospitality, a service from Amazon, which is already being used by Marriott. Smart speakers are included within hotel rooms and guests are able to communicate with the speakers to ask questions, find out information, and turn other devices in the room on or off.
Find more detailed information and examples about voice control use cases in the travel industry in the article “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Travel Industry?”.
2. Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
With modern advances in artificial intelligence, it is now possible for computer systems or machines to perform functions that traditionally required direct human involvement. This can be of enormous benefit to businesses of all varieties within the tourism industry, because it allows for far greater automation.
One significant example of this is chatbots, which can be used by hotels, travel agents and airlines to provide 24/7 customer service, or fully automated booking processes. The chief advantage of this, in terms of customer experience, is rapid response times, meaning customers will receive swift answers, even in the middle of the night.
Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the travel industry in the article “How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Travel Industry”.
3. Personalisation Marketing
The basic premise behind personalisation marketing is to deliver more targeted promotional content to users. This is usually achieved through data collection and automated digital algorithms, and allows content to be distributed to specific users, who have specific interests and browsing habits, or who fall into specific demographics.
As a result of this, promotional content is more relevant to individuals and within the travel industry, this can be particularly important. For instance, it might mean that a user that has browsed a particular hotel website will see adverts for that hotel on social media. However, it can also allow companies to target their content to more specific demographics too. Taxi firms, for instance, might target those located within a particular airport or city.
Find more detailed information and examples about personalisation marketing use cases in the travel industry in the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing is Used in the Travel Industry”.
4. Virtual Reality
Over the past few years, virtual reality technology has grown significantly, and VR headsets are now a mainstream consumer product. This provides those within the tourism industry with a great opportunity, because VR has the power to virtually transform a user’s surroundings, effectively placing them in a different environment.
The potential uses for this are almost endless. Some online travel agents are using the technology to allow customers to experience hotel rooms before booking them, while other travel companies have developed virtual experiences, which enable a guest to get an idea of what it feels like to be at a major tourist attraction.
Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry”.
5. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is a similar technology to VR, although it is more accessible to the average customer, requiring only a smartphone and a relevant app. Rather than fully replacing a user’s surroundings, however, augmented reality is instead concerned with enhancing real-world environments through overlays.
For those in the travel industry, the main way this can be used to improve the customer experience is by providing additional information. So, for example, a travel app might allow users to point their phone at a landmark and find out more about it, or point their phone at a restaurant and see customer reviews and hygiene ratings.
Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry”.
6. The Internet of Things
Internet connectivity within everyday devices, commonly referred to as ‘the Internet of Things’, has been a major disruptor within the travel industry. Businesses looking to deliver in terms of customer experience can use such capabilities to add to convenience, maximise comfort, and even pre-empt the need for repairs.
Within hotels, devices can be configured to automatically detect and respond to conditions in real-time, meaning temperature and light can be regulated automatically. All industries can see live information about the operating status of devices, allowing for swift repairs, while the IoT can also enable location-based services.
Find more detailed information about the ‘Internet of Things’ in the travel industry in the article “How the Internet of Things (IoT) can Benefit the Travel Industry”.
Another major technological trend emerging within all industries is the increased use of robotics and these also have the capacity to drastically improve the customer experience. Within the tourism industry, in particular, they can play a number of roles, from security robots, through to robots offering services within hotels.
Japan has produced one of the most notable examples of a robotics-enabled customer experience, with the Henn-na Hotel being entirely robot-staffed, from check-in robots to robotic luggage porters. For airports and airlines, robots can be used for everything from the detection of weapons, through to bomb disposal, enhancing security. Some companies have even produced robotic travel cases, removing the need for cases to be carried.
Find more detailed information and examples about robot use cases in the travel industry in the article “Robots in the Travel Industry: 8 Real-World Examples”.
8. User-Generated Content
Finally, user-generated content refers to any content that is produced by users or customers, rather than the business. Within the travel industry, one of the most obvious examples of this is images that are uploaded to social media websites by users, and these can be extremely influential, because they often represent customer opinion.
For those in the tourism industry, the trick is to find ways to allow customers to create user-generated content that adds to their experience, while also serving as positive word-of-mouth marketing. Many tourist attractions, for example, achieve this through branded photo booths, which allow customers to capture moments from their visit and upload them to social media easily, complete with a logo or some other form of subtle branding.
It is essential for those in the travel industry to prioritise the customer experience, and the businesses that excel in this area are often able to gain a significant competitive advantage over rivals. The eight ways listed in this article can help tourism companies to deliver a greater experience and subsequently reap the rewards.