Today’s travel market is intensely competitive. As a consequence, price is a competitive driver but typically not the only one. In summary, there is more to a passenger returning to your business than price or smart revenue management. Successful travel businesses know this.
What incentivises a customer to find your brand in the first place? Or to return? Based on a small travel survey I ran in 2017, 80% of travellers considered value more important than price. The survey included roughly 400 participants. 300 were based in Europe and the Middle East, the remaining 100 mainly from the Americas. The demographic was quite well distributed; from an age- as well as an income-perspective.
That – to me – posed an important question: How travellers define value? The survey gave us the following themes:
- Travellers want to be inspired. They want to be engaged. Almost half of the travellers surveyed said that existing travel brands did not engage or inspire them. Admittedly, a lot has happened over the past 12 months and I see a lot more inspirational themes than just half a year ago.
- For travellers trust is important before they make a booking. Consequently, a known brand and a consistent experience with this brand were important factors. Based on the survey, travellers form an opinion based on what others say about a particular brand. Either personally through family and friends as well as online reviews they perceive as trustworthy. In fact, ca. two thirds of travellers said that they do want online reviews.
- Travellers are looking for a frictionless experience. Throughout the entire journey: before, in, after and when there are disruptions. In fact, a common theme was “make it as frictionless as amazon.com”. amazon.com truly set a new standard for frictionless on two dimensions: 1. booking as well as 2. operations.
- A surprise for me personally was that more than half of the travellers said that they do want recommendations. They are not perceived as an inconvenience – as long as they are relevant and personalised.
- And finally, this number is from my retail colleagues and quite logical, customers want to be treated well. Two thirds of customers are very likely to switch a brand if they are treated like a number.
- Almost the entire population assumed online and mobile channels to be present. Engaging online distribution channels are – in today’s world – not a competitive advantage but a necessity to meet the basic expectation.
It is back to basics. Passengers assume technology to be present, but technologies and features are not what’s going to win passengers over. In the end passengers make it very simple for us: inspire me, deliver on your promise, make it simple for me, and don’t treat me like a number. What this also tells us is, that we need to work very hard to connect our businesses horizontally. In most cases organisations are separated by (vertical) silos. Often not by choice but simply out of necessity to keep things simple (enough).
We, salesforce.com, work very successfully at this intersection of business and technology. Many very successful travel businesses work with us. Delighting our customers’ customers is at the heart of our joint endeavours and is what, ultimately, contributes to them being so successful. While we are a top technology company we take equally much pride in knowing how to help our customers improve their success. You are top right corner at what you do.
We are top right corner at what we do:
- Inspiring and engaging travellers throughout their journeys
- Getting your brand out there, while eliminating marketing waste
- Growing and reactivating your customer base, converting leads into business
- We understand customer care, and how to help you to move from transactional business to long-term relationships
- We know much about empowering employees so they can delight your customers
- We realise businesses are siloed for, wanted or unwanted, reasons and are able to connect across
- Understanding the customer and personalisation is what we have perfected over the years. We have learned that how to build a single view of the customer and how to use it to your advantage.
- We use technology & innovation, e.g. 3 releases, artificial intelligence, and many others, to keep you ahead of the game.
Please come and speak to us. We are very, very interested. The opportunity in travel tremendous. Please contact us on salesforce.com , or find us for a conversation at the Salesforce booth (#55) at the Aviation Festival itself.