Do you have travel plans this year? If so, you have plenty of company. Hopefully, though, you can leave the crowds behind at the airport or highways. According to a new survey from Dynata commissioned by Redpoint, 77 percent of respondents have booked or plan to book travel this year – which includes the 15 percent of respondents who have already taken a trip.
The irony to vacation planning is that for many Americans, an ideal getaway consists of a visit to a deserted beach or a secluded lake where they can unplug from email and devices, yet they are increasingly turning to digital channels to make their travel plans. In the survey, 42 percent of respondents said they use a travel brand’s mobile app to book or receive notifications about travel, and 39 percent consult travel websites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.) before making plans.
When it comes to actual travel, about one-third of survey respondents expect digital conveniences such as digital check-in/check-out processes (28 percent), digital flight check-in (27 percent), and self check-in stations for checking bags (27 percent).
A Digital-First Travel Concierge
The survey also reveals that travelers have high expectations for how travel brands themselves communicate through digital channels. Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) indicated some level of dissatisfaction with a travel brand. Poorly communicated logistical changes led the way (14 percent), followed by frustrations around a brand’s communication of expired points/miles or refund policies (10 percent), irrelevant offers (10 percent), and inconsistent communications across channels (8 percent). Consumers, it appears, are turned off when a brand sends a travel offer when they are unable or unwilling to travel.
To alleviate some of the existing frustrations, travelers said that brands can do a better job personalizing the customer experience. Respondents cited personalized safety recommendations as one tactic brands should adopt (28 percent), followed by personalized offers that enhance travel (27 percent), personalized follow-up (20 percent), and consistent personalization across all channels to include kiosks, website, mobile app, and call center (20 percent).
Interestingly, expectations for a personalized experience did not stop with booking travel plans. Asked specifically about the overall travel experience, 24 percent of respondents said they would like travel companies to send real-time personalized messages and notifications during/about the context of the journey (pre-travel, travel, post-travel). A canceled or delayed flight, a road closure, an opportunity for a room upgrade – essentially respondents expect a travel company to be a digital concierge, keeping them abreast of any and all changes.
Of course, that level of service comes with an understanding that a travel provider must have an understanding of each customer. Respondents said they would expect travel companies to know their individual preferences, such as where and how they plan to travel (20 percent), and also have an understanding of travel objectives and personal priorities – in addition to transactional information (20 percent).
For more on how to proactively engage travel customers across every touchpoint, remove all friction from the customer experience, and ultimately grow revenue, check out the Redpoint Travel & Hospitality homepage that includes testimonials from organizations using rgOne to deliver unforgettable travel experiences.