October 3, 2012
If you’re searching for ideas on how to build more revenue, profit, and customer loyalty in the travel and hospitality sector, look no further than Daniel Pearce, Brand Director for the UK-based Travel Trade Gazette.
“We have an expression in the UK: The money and time spent on looking after the customer is much better than money and time spent trying to win new ones,” Pearce said during last week’s “Creating the Ultimate Booking Experience” webinar.
That expression is one that more travel, booking, and hospitality websites should take to heart, according to Pearce. His point: There is a huge opportunity for travel and hospitality companies to improve engagement before, during, and after the online travel purchase to drive increased customer satisfaction, revenue, and repeat business.
Want to stand out from the travel industry competition? Pearce spotlighted three companies that are customer engagement powerhouses:
One of the leading travel websites in the UK, Netflights puts a fresh twist on an old industry standby: the upsell. Instead of simply trying to upsell customers on a hotel or a rental car for their trip before they check out, Netflights goes a step further by sending personalized emails with pricing and information on specific hotels in the area post-purchase. Pearce points out that these targeted upsell offers are based on Netflight’s understanding of its customer’s destination, rather than a hotel that’s been randomly generated.
Netflights also takes things off-line with a direct call center. The call center’s purpose is to ring travelers and offer specially priced tickets to nearby attractions before a traveler hits the road. The call center operators also follow up with travelers post-trip to see how everything went, and find out if they’re planning to take another trip. Obviously, determining this intent helps Netflights take personalized offers even further post-trip, encouraging repeat business and driving customer loyalty.
Virgin Holidays has made it a point to put customer service first, and that extends to the post-purchase experience. Virgin Holidays has a dedicated online customer service center, which will help customers with everything they need post-purchase, from visa details to attraction tickets and more.
Virgin Holidays has also made a commitment to having a thorough understanding of the destinations it offers to customers. And it leverages that knowledge post-purchase by sending customers emails with specific, detailed information about their destination to get them excited for their trip.
Princess Cruises stands out from the travel crowd by delivering a top of the line website experience for all travelers, even those who purchase through a booking agent. Post-purchase, the Princess Cruises website offers customers the chance to take a 360-degree tour of the cabins they’ll be staying in, book excursions, and track the movement and location of the ship they’ll be on before it arrives to pick them up.
The pay-off: Customers get more and more excited before their trip, improving the entire booking experience.
Pearce says these are only three examples of ultimate booking experiences for customers, but they offer valuable ideas for how to personalize and leverage the entire travel experience to drive engagement, loyalty, and repeat business.
To learn more about how to support travel and hospitality customers’ needs from the research process through purchase and post-journey, view the webinar, “Creating the Ultimate Booking Experience.”