Agile Travel Tech CX to Revive Negative Traveller Sentiment

Author: Leadership Team

New Statistics: High Satisfaction Ratings With Underlying Negative Sentiment

McKinsey & Company, in Partnership with Skift Research, published REBOOTING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TO BRING BACK THE MAGIC OF TRAVEL. This report released last month was chock-full of data points that our team has been tracking and suggesting as well. We are going to discuss some of their findings and compare them to the trends we have been writing about.

Setting the stage, this report detailed how customer experience will lead the revival of travel and supports our stance that customer-centric tour operators have the competitive edge. We are suggesting to look at the path forward more through the lens of a palaeontologist. What we mean by that is reevaluating the remains of travel, not making any major assumptions, and trusting that there is more to unearth further down that is connected.

Stepping back from the recent surveys on traveller experience, it is vital to recognise there is more to what appears. The report goes on to say that even though travellers are responding to surveys with high satisfaction ratings, the underlying sentiment is negative. With capacity restrictions, staff member shortages and limited amenities, we can connect where this sentiment stems from.

Carl Shepherd, Investor and Co-Founder of HomeAway, reflected that the level of service guests are receiving is unprecedented; take, for example, passing up on daily room cleaning would have repelled guests pre-pandemic.

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Inconsistency in Overall Customer Experience

The data in this report shows travel brands mistakenly believe they are offering a solid customer experience, but the research reflects things could be better. Consistency among all customer touchpoints can not be undervalued (physical, service, and digital). An easy way to get to the root of this is to ask, are my customers rating our products, services and digital offerings at the same calibre? We talk a lot about how Kaptio’s travel reservation platform offers the connected experience and even across the customer’s preferred comms channel, whether that is call, online chat, email or social platforms. This is all possible with a robust travel CRM.

When teams work together, accessing the same single source of truth, organisations can provide a customer-centric approach. With the increasing number of touchpoints, digital and physical, during the course of planning and taking a trip, providing a seamless experience goes a long way in guest satisfaction. A fully connected experience is one that is convenient for the customer and naturally promotes repeat bookings.

Viking Cruises China Shares Perspective

We were delighted to see our client, Viking Cruises China, interviewed to share their perspective in this report. Viking Cruises China redesigned their tour offerings based on collected data and traveller sentiments. Their research showed, “customers would rather spend more time on experiential and immersive activities, enjoying the culture of the destination.” This redesign and pivot led to higher profits and products that reflected the customer desires. They were able to make these pivots with their agile travel tech system.

Our team has been focused on reiterating that travel brands who invest in digital transformation with an agile, customer-centric system will be able to adapt quickly, future-proofing their operations. Financially, now may not seem like the most intuitive time to make investments in a customer-centric system. “But companies that prioritize CX during a downturn stand to outperform their competition for years to come—as McKinsey research on previous downturns has shown.”

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COVID has proven to be a time when customers are trying new brands, and loyalty is not as strong as it once was. With the underlying negative sentiment, locking in your customer experience offering and shifting to a customer-centric culture will lead to a strengthened future. This report reiterates what we have been saying, that brands that continue to deprioritise customer experience will be left in the dust.

Eliminating Silos For A Connected Experience

Another theme in this report is the concept of breaking down silos. We have been talking about this theme in our blog posts as well. Diverse systems and channels which work in ‘silos’ are inefficient and slow for customers. They can cause staff to make errors because they scramble between different apps and notes when offering customer service or making a sale. Not only do customers get frustrated with the level of service offered, but staff experience a sense of disappointment too.

Rather when there is a connected, end-to-end journey laid out for customers, they feel supported, and you’ve gained their trust. All vital components for customers to make informed decisions.

Hospitality, A Human Connection?

“Travel can no longer exist without its digital component.” Human connection and face-to-face interaction was the core of the old hospitality, but as we move forward and meeting traveller expectations, we will see an increase in customised digital experiences.

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   Illustration from McKinsey & Co/ Skift Research

“While many industries expect to see dips in digital usage as customers return to in-person options, such as stores or schools, the travel sector has the highest proportion of respondents planning to continue their digital adoption post-pandemic.”

With the rapid changes COVID-19 has introduced, customer experience stands above all else as a key differentiator. “Four-fifths of customers place the same emphasis on flawless engagement as they do on product quality - the same share as during the economic expansion of 2018. Extraordinary experiences help companies earn more than sales — they build relationships. Fifty-three per cent of customers say they feel an emotional connection to the brands they buy from the most,” per the State of the Connected Customer report by Salesforce.

Future-proofing with a business transformation is more than choosing a fully functional travel booking software. Rather it’s empowering your team with a customer-centric solution rooted in a travel CRM foundation. Between Kaptio’s image-rich e-docs, in-trip support, and Salesforce app extensions, we offer travel brands a digital next-generation travel tech solution.

For the full report by McKinsey & Company, in Partnership with Skift Research, download your own copy of REBOOTING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TO BRING BACK THE MAGIC OF TRAVEL.

About Kaptio Travel

Kaptio Travel is a next-generation travel reservation platform for FIT, Escorted Tours & Cruise Operators. Built on the Salesforce Platform, the world’s No 1 CRM, Kaptio delivers the entire end-to-end customer journey from lead, through to sale, curing travel and post-trip, plus building a 360-view of your customer—an all in one single solution. Get in touch to supercharge your travel booking software. Contact us to discuss how we can work with you to transform your current business setup. Kaptio is not just a travel booking software but a digital transformation for your business!