Traveling can be a pain, so we often pick what’s easiest. A new Boxever survey backs that up: Better, personalized customer experiences lead to greater customer loyalty with travel providers.
Based in Ireland, Boxever is a software company providing a cloud platform for travel companies.
The survey asked more than 500 people their preferences on airline, hotels, cost and booking experiences. Only 22 percent of travelers surveyed said they care their preferred airline or hotel is available when making travel arrangements. What's more, "few companies proactively take the right kind of action to win the sale, and instead leave the consumer’s decision up to price, convenience and timing," Boxever noted.
Relevance and Cost
No one complains about cheap flights, but right after cost, relevance appears to the most important to travelers, the survey found.
While 47 percent of travelers prefer airlines and online travel agents present cheapest flights first in a search result, more than 85 percent said they prefer personal preferences show up first.
The fact that websites remember their preferences matters. About a third care about relevance in their search results — elements like timing, duration, needs and travel history. Knowing a traveler’s preferences and history means another opportunity to increase business: 48 percent of people buying extras and services do so at the time of booking.
Travel companies can also better target their customers by knowing individual preferences, because ad-blocking and email filters have changed the selling game. Some 38 percent told Boxever they almost never check promotions or advertisements in their email.
About a third of people said they would move those promo emails to their primary tab if content consistently added value to their travel plans rather than the marketing priorities of that company.
Stay With the Customer
The survey found 67 percent of travelers spend weeks researching their options before booking anything. With this in mind, the report recommends hotels and airlines to reach out to customers with recommendations. Reach out personally with best options via email and send push notifications to their mobile devices.
When it comes to booking a trip, 76 percent say understanding all their options is most important. Another 70 percent say fees and taxes are most important, and 22 percent feel brand loyalty is most important.
The survey suggests privacy concerns are pushed aside if sharing information means more convenience and personalized experiences.
More than 75 percent find value in airlines and hotels auto-syncing trip details with their calendars and mobile devices. Of the people who travel at least once a month, 54 percent want airlines, hotels and ground transportation companies to automatically share their travel information for a seamless travel experience.
A majority of those surveyed also said they would appreciate airlines knowing automatically their seat preferences (87 percent) or connection schedules (87 percent).
Driving Bookings and Business
- Travel companies should personalize as much of the experience as they can. Seize these opportunities to acquire and retain customers.
- Invest in data to understand a traveler’s needs in one view. It’s much easier to get personal when you know customers one-on-one.
- Think about the end game when it comes to building customer loyalty. Travelers will always book what is cheap and fits their schedule, but small interactions of knowing their needs and ensuring meaning experiences go a long way when they consider other options next time.
- Predict travelers’ next moves. Relevant search results drive faster conversions if there is an added value for the travel besides low costs. Meet travelers where they are if you’re aware of their travel plans.