Travel and hospitality brands have just one chance to meet customer expectations. One wrong experience could ruin a vacation or weekend getaway, which few consumers would forgive or forget easily.
Case in point:
While fictional, Hunter’s reaction is typical of how most of us would react in a similar situation. Indeed, recent studies have shown that when things do go wrong, 42% of travelers will post a negative review or use social media to spread the word about their bad experience.
At the heart of the problem, according to “The Beauty Of Integration: How Travel Brands Can Focus On The Whole Customer,” a new report by Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company), is the industry’s use of disparate systems and technologies. In fact, only 5% of travel companies said they have integrated data across channels and are leveraging the opportunities. The vast majority (33%) said their data is still managed in silos, which creates inconsistent delivery of experiences across channels.
Adobe suggested travel companies start by making sure their online and offline marketing, guest services, social media, customer service, and IT teams work closely together. That means a shift in culture, eliminating organizational silos. It also has technological implications.
“Integrating your data, channels, and systems in a way that makes these kinds of [seamless] experiences a reality can be overwhelming,” the report stated. “But remember, you’re not just integrating for the sake of integrating. You’re doing it to create a complete customer profile, which allows you to design and deliver personalized experiences everywhere your customers go.”
Carnival Cruise Lines serves as one best-practice example. The company has built a digital foundation to track individual customer journeys across multiple channels. "We think about the customer journey, from prebooking, to precruise, to during cruise, and to postcruise. It becomes our responsibility to enhance the experience and the service at, and across, each step via digital,” said Carnival’s CMO in a December interview with CMO.com.
The result: Everyone within the organization is able to view the same insights around a specific customer and know which part of the journey he is in, be it planning a trip, purchasing, or enjoying an off-ship excursion. The end goal is to provide a personalized experience every step of the way.
“By focusing your efforts on creating an integrated profile for each customer, you can create a common vision that helps you integrate data silos and technologies alike,” the report said. “You’ll be able to see which data sets to focus on, which technologies you need to adopt, and which strategies make the most sense.”
Building a customer profile is outlined in the report as a three-step process. Click here for the full report.