The news players improving the experience during the travel

01 mar. 2010 | Written by Julia

We often talk about the travelers’ needs, especially in this time of high competition where answering its needs is a competitive advantage. Therefore, most studies deals with needs before, during and after the travel.

Before travelling

Thanks to Internet, we observes that the answers to the traveler’s have improved: they have access to more information, have many ways to book a product, a wider range of products, new tools that help taking decision…

After travelling

We also notice that the web 2.0 brought some changes in the “after travelling”. In addition of the traditional customer satisfaction form, Internet brings new spaces where travelers can express them-self. Consequently, producers are increasingly interested in their customers opinion (and it’s high time they take care of this), so we can see new ways to take into account customers’ needs.

Moreover, the travelers’ feedback and opinions have a strong impact on travelers in the “before travelling” period.

During travelling

The time during the customer is travelling is the most important part of the travelers’ needs. This is the moment where the customer is “consuming” the product. It will have the strongest impact on the traveler satisfaction (on himself and maybe on what he will say later on). Unfortunately this is the period (up to now) where the relation between the producer and the travel is at its lowest point.

Beyond a CRM solution properly used, an internal organization like a well-oiled machine and high quality travel products, technology couldn’t contribute in improving the answers made to the travelers during their travel. But this is changing.

The boom in smart phones combined to the real time development, are opening new perspectives. Indeed, two paths are becoming apparent: new usages through Twitter and its spin off services, and the applications for mobile.

The real time customer service through Twitter

For now on Twitter, the model of the real time customer service seems to be the most adapted (compared to the promotional approaches). Therefore especially in hotel businesses, real time concierge services are appearing to meet and fulfill the customers’ needs.

The most innovator in this is Hyatt with its 24/7 customer services and its Twitter account @HyattConcierge. They solve booking problems, redirect customers to the right contacts and give useful information (about the destination, the local shops and restaurants, fitness center…).

The result is that Hyatt customer service, @HyattConcierge, gets 9 700 followers. That’s a respectable performance for a service that was meant to deal with complaints!

Southwest Airlines equally performs with its 1 million of followers (@SouthwestAir). The conversations from the Twitter account speak of itself. I also recommend you to read this excellent example from SimplyFlying’s blog: JetBlue versus Southwest on Twitter – real incident.

Improving travelling experiences thanks to Smartphones

We can identify two dominant kinds of Smartphone’s apps for travelling: in one hand apps that facilitate and enrich trips, and in the other hand apps to share information. Both are almost always based on geolocation and use more and more real time (web).

Apps to facilitate trips:

We can find many apps to improve trips: itineraries (Maps + Compass), traffic information (Métro Paris, SNCF Direct), information around the traveler (Nru, Snaffle, Wi-Fi Finder), localization of spot thanks to augmented reality (Layar, Nearest Tube, Métro Paris…).

Some apps are more dedicated to enrich our visits: guided tours (Visit Paris, At a glance, Podioguide), play discoveries (Foursquare, Urbanspoon), and discoveries thanks to augmented reality (WhereMark, Cyclopedia,Wikitude, TAT Augmented ID…).

Apps to share information

There are less apps in this family, but this seems that it’s changing.  It is more about sharable “travel diaries” like Everytrail, bTwinMaps, EverLater; or it is about tools in order to find and share opinions: GateGuru, Yelp for Iphone

Finally, we observe that there are a large number of mobile applications. All the tools are very interesting and let us see the urge potential of these apps for the travel industry, especially if we are able to combine all their strong points.

Comments are closed