HOW-TO: Leverage Tech Initiatives To Provide Exceptional Customer Experience – Travel & Hospitality (T&H) Industry

Whether you want to tick that item on your check-list or cross a pending item off your bucket list; whether you have to go for a business trip or take a break from that business; whether you have a reason or you want a reason; we all need a lil break time!!

It’s not always about travelling, not about making time for your family; maybe it’s only about seeking serenity or time-off from that monotonous work.

As much as we would like to plan them in advance, we never really get to it. And, most of the times we end up making plans – impromptu.

That suddenness, that itch, that adrenal rush – isn’t it exciting; too overwhelming?!

Well… it’s just the beginning of that holiday which we could do away with.

Price comparison sites, individual booking portals, and third party site and apps are always there to help us make these bookings.

With more and more people hooked on to internet, it is becoming a challenge for these companies to be competitive.

Why is it a challenge?

To start with,

  • There are so many sites and apps available to choose from
  • Then there are promotional offers provided by each of them, which leads to a price war and the need for further discounts by mainstream players
  • Of course, with many competitors lining up one needs to reduce the operating margin
  • The limited budget means there could be small or no upgrade to IT dept.

Don’t stress! Let’s take a practical scenario to understand where we are and where we could be.

Considering, I have to go to a place (like New York) and I’m currently in Miami. Now, all I have to do is open a travel booking site to select an airlines of my choice and a hotel. Alternatively, I can select the hotel from a different site or from the site of the hotel which I generally go to.

This is pretty straightforward as most of the sites have similar flow, user experience. The only different would be in cost.

Most of the hotel sites have content which is static, with an exception of booking rooms, which has dynamic data and involves some user interactions.

How can brands use wearables to improve customer experiences?

How can I bring innovation to this?

Let’s rewind this a bit, shall we?

The moment I had to plan for a booking, I would like to initiate the voice assistant on my phone (like Siri) and say something like “Let’s plan a vacation.”, and Siri would reply, “Which app would you like to access?”

If I have set a preferred app already, then this would not be asked and the app would be launched.

The moment that app is launched or the website is pulled up, the chat bot on the site should ask certain question like, “Where are you headed?”, “When are you leaving and returning?”, and similar question but keeping the interaction to bare minimum and fetching the best results. Then, of course, the data could be filtered out to make a selection.

With my booking done for flight and hotel, I’m all set to go.

Now comes the futuristic bit.

The smartness of these chat bots or voice assistants comes in, when they book a cab (or suggest to book) since I would be needing it, both from current location to airport or train station, and then from destination airport to destination hotel.

Right from reminding me that I’m supposed to leave that day, to my cab approaching in 15 minutes, to route to airport. And then, flight number flashing on my smart watch or the mobile app, to taxi number and contact details of the driver waiting for me at the destination airport, and the route to destination hotel – engaging, informative, relevant, and unique experience.

The taxi could be booked by the person or provided by the hotel, but the door-to-door updates, information received would be such a different and refreshing experience for the traveller.

All along the way, give out vouchers, discounts, conduct surveys, promotional events, or whatever way you can think of engaging and rewarding customer.

I will talk about more of these in my next blog, so keep reading…

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Author speaks: I’m not here to change the world; I intend to make an impact on one soul at a time. If you like my work, please press Like, or better yet put a Comment; perhaps a feedback. However, the best appreciation of my work will be to Share this with your friends and your social circles (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and others).

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My Digital Transformation: Information Technology to Idea Technology

Closing my eyes and thinking of the time when, while watching a movie, there used to be a lengthy slot booked for advertisements, every 15 minutes or so. Households were switching to colour TVs, while most of population still had old Black and White TVs. It was late 80s or early 90s, and there were limited products in the market. The marketing trends were restricted to printed papers, or TV ads. The word of mouth was a commonly used and most trusted medium. Technology was still in its yearling stage, and large conglomerates were dallying with the idea of globalization. The notion of internet, or digital world was yet to be conceived.

Over a decade in making, the capabilities of computer technology started spreading its wings. With the nascence of the internet, the organisations started to have a horizon shift. Globalisation, market expansion, localised offerings were no more a distant dream. These term took a leap from the dictionaries and existed in real time. There was a rush to explore ways to reach people, make your presence visible to them, and eventually generate revenue. With online presence people were able to generate business, but then retaining customers, and recurring transactions were becoming a challenge.

The blending of idea and technology, became a game changer. The transformation of Information Technology to Idea Technology, created a freeway for businesses to think out of the box, and travel beyond imagination. E-commerce was the talk of every town. The printing jobs got replaced with creative art executives. The marketing was being done on internet and other information channels. The ideas which existed on paper were being digitised and spread out.

So why was this important for me? How did it bring about my digital transformation?

Well… Like any other business, it was an opportunity for people like me to make a presence and connect with the outside world; without actually having to visit and meet each and every one of them in person. The e-mail application, social networking sites, professional networking sites, and other sites where I could provide my details and get people to know me were my business cards. I could share them out in the open and connect with intended people, just with few strokes on the keyboard and clicks of the mouse. A decade back or so, I did not even have a mobile phone, and today I have my profile created on various platforms. My photograph, along with my details (dependent on how much I’ve provided) were there to be viewed by countless people wanting to know me, or about me.

The ‘idea’ behind it was simple – paint the (digital) canvas showcasing my interests, my experience, and my story. Create a leaflet, or a banner which could be distributed inter-state, intra-national, or internationally (of course within the bounds of the digital space). I wanted to link up with long lost friends, with people I’ve met, with colleagues, with recruiters, and just about everyone. I wanted to present ‘me’ as a brand, market it, and get to be cognised. In an essence, I transformed myself to become globalised. After all, I mean business!

Perhaps, ending on a humorous note,

Steuart Henderson Britt once said, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.”

Author speaks: I’m not here to change the world; I intend to make an impact on one soul at a time. If you like my work, please press Like, or better yet put a Comment; perhaps a feedback. However, the best appreciation of my work will be to Share this with your friends and your social circles (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and others).

Thanks in advance!