It's official. People are travelling again. CNBC reports that approximately 37% of travelers from the US have planned trips both local and international this year alone. That's not exactly surprising, having being cooped up for two years of a pandemic.
Many of these travellers are even planning to 'go big' by taking once-in-a-lifetime trips or upgrading their accommodation to make up for lost time. Given these high expectations, businesses must be ready to welcome travelers and meet the mark this year. Here are three things travel businesses can do to build trust with travellers this year.
Implement contactless technologies
Most people value convenience. Specifically, travelers want seamless processes that don’t disrupt their experience. With most people traveling to go on vacation your business must not impede that. For this reason alone, adopting contactless technologies ensures the upmost convenience.
PR Newswire states that 73% of travelers want to manage their hotel experience via their mobile devices to minimize physical interactions with staff and fellow guests. Therefore they should look to install keyless entries. Hotel Brexton in Maryland has already adopted this practice, allowing guests to book, pay, unlock their room, and access customer support all from their mobile devices.
For travel services like airlines, touchless baggage drops like the ones trialed at Heathrow Airport are a good starting point. The technology includes “screen mirroring”, meaning passengers can operate the bag drop system using their phones. This makes the process faster, therefore, increasing satisfaction.
Maintain communication with travellers
Because is been a while since they may have travelled, many guests will want to know every detail about your business and what you offer. One way to do this is through social media, which continues to be an essential marketing tool due to its high accessiblity and huge user base.
Tapping into travel influencers is one of the best ways to accomplish this—it rebuilds trust and authority in a business. A report from Maryville University about the benefits of influencer marketing shows how using influencers in campaigns comes across as more authentic, as they tend to post about their genuine interests. This works best when the influencers posts within their area of expertise. For example, a travel influencer posting about their experience on an airline has more authority than a similar post by a beauty influencer.
Tara Whiteman is an Australian travel influencer with over 1 million Instagram followers. She uses her audience and her authority to build the profiles of the businesses she partners with. Recently, she went on a trip in partnership with Visit Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways and posted about her experience. In her Instagram story highlights, she shared her seamless travel experience to the city, encouraging followers to book their trips.
Another way to maintain communication with customers is by giving them an avenue for updates and questions. Jetstar Airlines has a contact page on its website with cancellation options and live chat for urgent matters. This rebuilds trust by showing they're ready to address their customers’ concerns.
Personalize the traveller experience
Digital Content Next’s post on personalization and brand trust reveals that customers expect businesses to offer enhanced experiences, and this applies in travel as much as in any other industry. Customers want companies to understand their individual preferences. This is where personalizing their journey comes in. Personalization is known to increase customer loyalty and trust. It makes customers feel important and that they’re not just a booking reference.
Tailoring each traveller’s experience starts with getting to know them. For example, Library Hotels make their guests answer a short survey after booking. They ask their reason for staying and act with the information they've gathered from the survey. So, if a guest's stay is to celebrate an anniversary, they prepare champagne and a congratulatory note in the guest’s hotel room.
Meanwhile, Silversea Cruises have dedicated Shore Concierge staff that help guests build an itinerary based on their interests. They will also make the necessary arrangements for their trip, such as booking a tour guide. This service makes passengers feel that their travel experience is their priority.
As mentioned in our post ‘Holiday Travel is Coming’, businesses must be ready to meet customer demands, especially now that many are traveling again. Hopefully, our tips provide you with insights on what actions to take during this time.
Written by Alex Cannonier for sherpa°