After thrown into a limbo by COVID-19 for two years, the travel and hospitality industry has finally been roused from a deep sleep. As pandemic regulations loosen, and borders reopen (to various extents) in multiple regions, flights and accommodations are experiencing a sharp surge in demand.
So, what does this new landscape look like? What are some of the key developments and trends that businesses should take into account while plotting their next move?
We’ll take a look at some of these key trends driving travel and hospital organizations to reshape how they’re meeting the expectations of a post-COVID, digitally savvy traveler base.
To retain relevance during the pandemic, many companies launched various VR tours and immersive experiences to promote various destinations and give prospective travelers a different kind of sizzle.
Some of these experiments have paid off in the form of bookings from travelers captivated by the virtual journeys. There is no need to discontinue them now, either. Imagine an interactive space online that offers prospective travelers try-before-you-buy experiences for different flights, train routes, heritage sites, and more. This focus on virtual prospect engagement can, through absorbing content and online community building efforts, foster long-term engagement and conversion.
By implementing the right solutions to properly harness the data made available through such interactions, travel and hospitality brands can tailor these experiences to individual audience members and engage them more holistically across the entire lifecycle.
With the cessation of travel due to border restrictions, the industry struggled as rigid, siloed, legacy ecosystems prevented businesses from adapting to the situation. As digital became the normal for work and commerce, many organizations invested in cloud-based solutions across multiple processes and touchpoints.
For example, cloud-centered customer engagement solutions—especially those with an omnichannel focus and equipped with a strong data layer—have grown in popularity by allowing businesses to manage the rapid boost in online traffic and data volume. It is crucial to acquire technology with the scale and sophistication to achieve a 360° view of the ever more digitally savvy travelers.
Making digital transition a breeze for all
The world is becoming more digital, sure, and it’s only more so after the pandemic. However, there are still large swaths of consumers—particularly those more advanced in age—that will struggle to navigate a suddenly more digitized booking and traveling experiences.
It is now important that organizations examine the behavioral patterns, device usage preferences, and customer journey pain points of these less digitally literate consumers. The goal here is to eradicate obstacles in their digital initiation experiences, streamline processes wherever possible, and introduce easily accessible touchpoints—in-person and online—to offer assistance.
Artificial intelligence and personalization
AI and machine learning will likely see wider applications, at least in the form of chatbots, predictive algorithms, and other analytics. Like other sectors, chatbots have become an integral part of the online browsing and purchase experience thanks to the 24/7 support they enable. Using data-driven AI capabilities to analyze digital traveler profiles and behavior, businesses will be able to design new product offerings, improve reservation and ticketing processes, tailor local recommendations, and address CX gaps before they become serious issues.
Perhaps more crucially, businesses have to equip themselves with technology of understanding travelers at the segment-of-one level, delivering journeys unique to each individual, and optimizing interactions across online/offline channels in real time.
IoT, robots, and contact-free technology
It is true that the pandemic has greatly reduced face-to-face interactions, expunging or at least significantly changing multiple in-person conversion once taken for granted in various sectors. However, the more valuable lesson might be that instead of eliminating face-to-face exchanges, businesses should focus on enriching and reimagining physical spaces and experiences using emerging technology.
Contactless services, IoT devices, and robotic assistance will play a crucial role. For example, several airports have introduced IoT-enhanced check-in kiosks that allow travelers to enter their choices by simply hovering their finger over the screen and thus minimizing contact. Procedural expediency and hygienic caution are just two benefits, of course. The future will be defined by how hotels, agencies, tourist attractions, and other institutions fuse IoT technology with diverse travel experiences to make them more accessible, memorable, and informative.
To find out how Resulticks can keep you ahead of the travel CX curve, schedule a call with our experts today.
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