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In today’s digital era, enterprises involved in travel and hospitality are defied to transform their operating models that are critical for actuating and handling collaborative and on-site guest experiences which are receptive to customers’ wants.
There is a need for enterprises to embrace the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data & Analytics, Cloud, and Automation and reinvent their business operations for them to succeed.
This would help them generate customer-centric maneuvers that adapt swiftly to the digital customer demands, latest industry trends, and any unforeseen disruptions.
Enterprises can also leverage these latest technologies to innovate and personalize loyalty programs and enhance the customer satisfaction in the travel and hospitality industry.
Improving the Customer Experience Strategy
It is imperative for companies involved in the travel and hospitality industry to prioritize the customer experience strategy and bring value to their business.
Customer experience leaders must empower themselves to drive business growth by understanding customers’ most evocative touchpoints.
According to Forrester, “As a customer experience (CX) leader, you rally your organization around customer needs. You dismantle old ways of working and build new ones through the introduction of CX-focused disciplines that drive up efficiencies, competencies, and ultimately deliver business results. To succeed, you must build a vision and act with precision. And you do it all while fighting an uphill battle to secure buy-in, budget, and alignment.”
Listed below are some of the effective ways of how the latest technologies are bringing in a monumental change in improving the customer service across the travel and hospitality sectors.
- Voice recognition system for Smart Rooms
- One of the growing trends within the hotel section of the tourism industry is the usage of voice recognition systems to create smart rooms.
- Through simple voice commands, customers can control various aspects of the room, thereby making their stay more convenient.
- Various voice recognition systems such as Alexa, Home, etc., are already being used in leading hotels to enhance the hospitality of their customers.
- AI enabled Chatbots
- Hotels, travel agents, and hospitality companies can make use of AI enabled chatbots to provide 24X7 service to its customers.
- Chatbots can be programmed intelligently with modern advancements in AI and can replace human intervention, thus bringing in enormous benefits to all businesses in the travel and hospitality industry.
- AI is improving constantly making it more reliable and a viable business solution.
- Big Data Analytics for promotional content
- The usage of Big Data Analytics to target promotional content to users has been seeing an uptrend over the past few years.
- The processed data helps identify the browsing habits and specific interests of a customer which can be used towards personalization marketing.
- Personalized content is more relevant in travel and hospitality companies where the user will be seeing adverts from a particular website of a hotel he has recently browsed.
- Smart customized solutions with Internet of Things (IoT)
- IoT sensors and connected devices have been instrumental in giving the extra edge to customer experience, especially in hotels.
- Room services can be automated by installing motion sensors that can automate all the appliances in the room including electrical devices and can easily be operated with any smart mobile device.
- Customers can see the lights switched ON when they wake up and can also have the coffee machine brewing their favorite cup of coffee.
- Personalized experiences using Virtual Reality (VR)
- With the ability to transmute a customer from one space to the other, VR is a key differentiator in offering personalized experiences within the digital ecosystem.
- While booking the property, VR helps customers with a 360-degree view of the hotel, enabling them with a real-time view of the property.
- This would help the customer choose the right property without any hassle or bitter surprises at the end.
- VR can also be simulated to give the customers an enriching experience of all tourist spots from their hotel premises.
- Augmented Reality (AR) will uplift the visual experience
- Quite similar to VR, the AR powered technology will feign the real-world surroundings with digitally improved overlays.
- With the click of a button, walls infused with AR can transform into any surrounding that you wish.
- You can relish the surroundings of your choice without actually being physically present, thereby achieving heightened customer experience.
- All these experiences that would have been witnessed in reel-life have ultimately become real, thanks to these emerging technologies.
- While these technologies have reimagined the way customer experience is delivered, the travel and hospitality industry were one of the worst hits due to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 effect on the Travel and Hospitality Industry
According to Forrester, “The travel and hospitality industry has been one of the most badly affected industries by COVID-19. But after several months of halted operations and difficult choices, industry leaders are shifting their gaze from survival to recovery. This will be neither swift nor straightforward due to unprecedented challenges that fall outside anyone’s direct control.”
The pandemic has certainly put a halt to the travel and hospitality’s non-stop growth. The year 2020 saw a massive decline in travel and hospitality spending.
In the US, travel spending saw a decline of more than 40% year-over-year. The international spending on this sector has seen a decline of more than 75% year-over-year.
While the whole world had to go through the worst times, the travel and hospitality sector is thriving to get back with a bang once the pandemic calms down.
The Travel and Hospitality sector is set to bounce back
With the ramping up of vaccination drives across the world, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
According to Forrester, “2020 has passed, and the world is preparing to shift to the pandemic eradication phase in the new but unstable normal. The good news is that 2021 provides a glimmer of hope: vaccines to fight COVID-19. The bad news is that vaccine rollouts have been disappointingly slow and poorly managed. There could be a period of uncertainty before people can travel freely. Airlines and hotels must conserve cash and avoid costly mistakes that could bankrupt them or damage their reputation. Privacy concerns, lack of transparency, and limits on individual freedoms will hinder a unified effort to eradicate COVID-19. Major pain points concerning international travel must be resolved before the path to recovery becomes clear.”
Once things fall in place, customer experience is going to call the shots in the travel and hospitality industry moving forward.
It is imperative for enterprises to keep updated with the ever-changing demands of the customer in the digital era and stay ahead of the competition.
Customer experience holds the key for any brand value, and they may ruin the odds of customer loyalty if not nurtured well.
Cigniti’s Domain Competency Group (DCG) of 450+ experts provide end-to-end testing for travel & hospitality-based digital apps (including e-commerce, digital platforms, departure control, passenger management, operations, fleet management, etc.) that enhance customer experience, while our Hospitality TCoE provides deep product testing for restaurant service areas including point of sale (POS) testing. Additionally, we have built multiple test accelerators for ERP, test automation, performance testing, and web services testing, which consist of a modular framework & pre-built, reusable, test assets, use cases, and business scenarios that help save cost, time, & efforts of testing.
We utilize AI & ML to analyze the needs & sentiment of travelers and provide them tech-driven experiences.
Cigniti has 450+ testers with experience in end-to-end testing in the Travel and Hospitality Industry. Our Test Architects, Domain SMEs, and Product Specialists are armed with our Next-Generation Software Testing Platform – Blueswan™, an Automation Center of Excellence, decision-enabling Dashboards with predictive capabilities, and multiple acceleration kits
Talk to our Travel & Hospitality testing experts to know more about enhancing customer experience in this sector.