Why the travel industry needs to embrace an omni-channel strategyVarun Gupta
Survival in this dynamic market needs a customer-experience-that approach that is accessible and available through multiple platforms.
Tourism in India accounts for 9.6 percent of the GDP and is the third largest foreign exchange earner for the country. The travel industry has been evolving continuously to become more convenient and engaged with customers better. Online travel agencies (OTAs) have revolutionized the industry, making booking trips and comparing different service providers easier and more efficient. The success of OTAs has shown that the millennial customer is highly responsive to digital technologies that add value to their choices.
However, the nature of their business model makes OTAs heavily reliant on providing the same experience or deal to as many customers as possible revolutionised the industry, making booking journeys and comparing different service providers easier and more efficient.
The success of OTAs has shown that the millennial customer is highly responsive to digital technologies that add value to their choices to as many customers as possible.
Travel is meant to be a unique experience; the impersonal OTA-model is leading to less-than-incredible generic experiences that dissatisfied, especially the highly discerning millennials. The travel industry must find a way to evolve again to improve travel experiences and make them more personalized. The solution rests in an omni-channel strategy that offers the benefits of the online platform while still allowing space for uniqueness.
Customers today want convenience, connection, and context - things that can not be obtained with personalization.
According to a Saber report, 83 percent of the respondents expect to receive the relevant information and products to be based on their personal preferences. Tourists want to feel their interests and preferences.
A purely digital approach leads to a situation where systems can not understand, assess, or predict customer behavior; but nothing digital OTAs do not allow for in-depth conversations that would help them feel the connection and the context. Sacrificing these at the altar of convenience is not a sustainable business model for consumers. Especially when an eventbrite survey revealed that 75 percent of millennials-a key target group would rather spend on a unique experience.
The challenges today
Matching these expectations and crafting a memorable and seamless travel experience can only happen when travelers feel their preferences and opinions are heard, acknowledged, and engaged with. The full set of options must be made available to them throughout the course of their journey. Deploying the right information, executing the correct execution strategies, and reducing friction at every stage of the journey in a cost-effective and narrative-enhancing way.
To create a true brand loyalty, players in the travel industry must have a customer experience-that is accessible and multiple platforms.
Imagine being able to speak to a traveler, or to travel to a travel agency. When facing any kind of trouble with your booking, you do not need to send emails or fill in online forms while waiting to be contacted. You are constantly engaged with and are provided with new options, whether through a call or face-to-face with a friendly travel expert. For any changes or new bookings, you can pay in any mode. Customers must have access to a human-curated channel at any point in their journey, either through a phone or a travel consultant. This is the only way to a truly curious experience.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)