Considering that the hospitality, leisure and travel sector is all about seamless journeys and great, relaxing experiences how come providers in this sector are anything but.
Despite the predicted ‘new era of growth’? What's happening and how can it be fixed?
Global business travel spending has hit a record-breaking $1.2 trillion, up 5% on the previous year. With consumer spend on travel and hospitality on the rise too you can see where the potential lies.
Sunny days ahead then? Well, actually ... no. Hold those Margaritas. The reality is that the outlook is not as plain sailing as you may think. Turbulent events from economic upheaval to geopolitical turmoil, natural disasters and pandemics are hard to deal with. But, add to this game-changing innovation and rising consumer demands and it becomes clear that the way companies react to these challenges seems to be key to their success. In fact, the winners in 2017 will likely be those most responsive to change, points out the report.
Here are five consumer desires we think will be essential for companies in the UK and beyond to satisfy — if they want to attract and retain consumers amid the current volatile market conditions.
Consumer desire #1: Security This seems like a basic right — but consumers are wising up to the serious risks of their card data being stolen and potentially misused. It didn't help when InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) confirmed earlier this year that 1,200 IHG-branded franchise hotel locations were included in a security breach. Discovering your card details have been compromised can ruin anyone's leisure time. To solve the problem, companies need to offer PCI DSS compliant secure payment methods —whether their customers are paying online, using a mobile app or making a card-not-present (CNP) payment over the phone with a contact centre agent. CNP crime is on the rise so the best thing you can do for your customer is to ensure you protect their data. In this business it’s all about trust.
Consumer desire #2: Control Many consumers make instant decisions, often to get the best deals — whether it's booking a last-minute break or clicking on an instant offer. These decisions might also be made at 11.30pm after a busy day at work. If companies aren't around to answer any questions, then consumers will go somewhere else — just as quickly. Sitting around and waiting for a reply to their email just won't do. However, organisations can satisfy this desire for 24/7 control by offering services such as intelligent IVR with natural language speech recognition — or visual IVR where key documents and details are sent to their mobile phones. Today's deal-hunting consumers love self-service.
Consumer desire #3: Self-Help Self-Service is popular as many consumers like to find out things and complete actions for themselves. So, if your IVR is an obstacle course rather than a smooth path it can put off your customers and lose you their business. Organisations can provide a virtually 'straight through' experience by offering automated identification features within their IVR, including speech-based verification, CRM integration and key information stored within mobile apps. Add call routing, information services, surveys and commerce functions and your IVR can provide a seamless Self-Service to your customers 24x7x365 – something a live agent just can’t do.
Consumer desire #4: Flexibility Plans change. People forget times and booking numbers. And their PC is at home! So how can you help customers when they're in a rush, on the move and needing results fast? The answer is to have an Omni-Channel approach to customer contact. That way, customers can find answers via whichever channel is easiest in that moment. It could be via a mobile app, a Web Chat session with your agent, your social media channels or by requesting an instant callback from one of your team. All these channels can blend and support a single customer experience. What’s more they will allow your customer to change channel or device whenever it suits them.
Consumer desire #5: Innovation As soon as one company offers a cool app or a time-saving feature — you’re driven to keep up. This can relate to how customers want to check in, be served, make choices or ask questions. It's all about frictionless, and fantastic,convenience. Here your contact centres play a vital role because through them you can use the latest, ultra-smart chatbots to answer questions instantly and serve more customers simultaneously than a live agent can do. You can also offer the increasingly popular Apple Pay secure payment over the phone — not just in person. With secure payments available via Web Chat your customers can embrace the very latest in payment and engagement options.
Discover how leading hospitality, leisure and travel enterprises, such as Premier Inn, Vue Cinemas and William Hill, are thriving in today's turbulent marketplace with our Sector Review.
Sources:  Deloitte's 2017 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook  InterContinental data breach expands from 12 to 1,200 hotels: ZDNet April 19, 2017
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