Traveler expectations have changed dramatically. The pandemic has accelerated the change in traveler behavior, and distrust of online booking sites has only increased as the chance of an unexpected event has never been higher than it is today.
Therefore, it is absolutely essential for players in the travel industry, and air travel in particular, to move to the next level in order to re-adapt their offerings after a near-total paralysis and offer customers the level of service that travelers expect in 2022.
Indeed, the crisis has shuffled the cards in the travel industry and exposed the shortcomings of major travel agencies, including an all too often overlooked user experience. Observation: many problems are caused by too low a technical level, whether it is airlines or GDS, an intermediary between a travel agent and a central hotel or airline reservation system.
Online travel agencies (OTAs), which emerged in the late 90s and are gradually replacing physical travel agencies, sell themselves as travel agencies, but are they really? They somewhat forgot about the role of advice and support offered at the time when you went to book a trip with a local agency. Today, when we bought a plane ticket, the service very often stops after email confirmation. This is not a travel agency. This is a counter.
Detached from the new expectations of travelers looking for flexibility and reliability, the world of travel, and mainly air travel, must reinvent itself with technologies that can restore traveler confidence and reclaim a more discerning audience with new ways of consuming.
Today there is a real desire to “travel better”, with reason and quality: less often by plane, on the one hand, and stay longer, replacing the plane with a train when it is available, opening up to other travel practices, on the other hand. This is what most young people want, according to the latest barometer published by Greenpeace France and L’ObSoCo (February 2022).
Price is no longer a determining factor when making a purchase decision
In short, the DNA of the industry needs to be changed in order to win the loyalty of increasingly demanding consumers; From the choice of ticket booking platform to the response of customer support to various payment and refund options, everything must be perfect.
UX and customer experience have become central to the development and growth of organizations and a critical factor in customer loyalty and engagement.
To initiate a reservation, it is important to offer a differentiated customer experience at every stage of the customer journey, offering new features, new payment methods such as cryptocurrencies called “crypto assets”, or even favorable refund terms.
Travel agencies should also focus on sharing information before, during and after a stay.
Booking a plane ticket is a stressful moment, the client cannot decide until the last step, and even when he has paid, he is still worried: too much information to process, prices that sometimes change, taxes not included, seats that need to be reserved later . .. You also need to be able to check in, find the right gate for boarding, solve the problem with luggage.
Travel is no longer just a seat on a plane or a train ticket, but something completely different. The challenge is to offer complete and up-to-date support from booking to departure.
Consumers need to be confident in the criteria for changing a trip (cancellation, delay and return conditions). They expect travel booking platforms to be more transparent about cancellation terms, refund processes, and vacation insurance options.
Thus, the power of technology is at the heart of the growth and quality of customer experience: it is the key to being able to offer the best booking experience. That is why the technical level of the sector must improve and meet the expectations of travelers at every stage of their journey and help them implement these technologies (new mobile applications, payment tools, contactless solutions).
Investing in cutting-edge technology to be at the forefront is essential to succeed in delivering a customer experience that is on par with the best sectors.
The key to success can be defined as follows: an extraordinary experience that can exceed the client’s initial expectations and evoke emotions. After all, that’s why we still travel, isn’t it?