Latest News  

TELUS International Europe: How travel and hospitality brands are using data to improve the customer experience

From airline bookings, to hotel check-out, to the various customer service interactions that take place along the way, few industries have as many customer touch points — and expansive customer data — as the travel and hospitality business

2017-05-15 21:27:56





Grégoire Vigroux
Vice-President Marketing of TELUS International Europe


Prior to the big data era, the travel industry relied on loyalty programs for insight into customers' historical behaviors, patterns, purchases and preferences. However, only 40–55 percent of travelers are in an airline's loyalty database. "The travel industry has so much information about customers, yet they're probably the biggest data under-utilizer," observes Shep Hyken, author and customer service consultant for brands like Marriott and American Airlines.

Companies are now in an arms race to capture and capitalize on data gleaned from consumer trends. That's why airlines and hotels are going to great lengths to collect and analyze data in an effort to better understand their customers and offer highly personalized customer service. Here's a look at what the travel industry is doing today to attain, and utilize, a true 360-degree customer view.

Painting a picture of each customer with big data


Most hotels and airlines try their best to employ data sitting in a customer relationship-management (CRM) system or loyalty database. However, to paint a full picture of the customer, the CRM approach needs to be augmented with the collection and analysis of information from secondary touch points such as online booking, customer service calls and social media activity.

Shashank Nigam, author of Soar: How the World's Best Airline Brands Delight Customers believes that many hospitality brands are only scratching the surface in terms of utilizing customer information. "Airlines particularly are in their infancy in terms of big data," explains Nigam. "However, collecting data is just the first step. They need to drive actionable insights from that data, and create a competitive [customer service] advantage." As a direct result, hospitality brands are now deploying data collected from all manner of sources for more customized service interactions.

For example, Hong Kong flag airline carrier, Cathay Pacific, uses data to provide first-class customers a more personalized experience, while also managing its bottom line. "Cathay Pacific actually collects data on first-class alcohol consumption," explains Mark Ross-Smith, a big-data specialist and the founder of travel-news site Travel Data Daily. "This information, combined with historical flight data, provides some ability to predict what alcohol a customer is most likely to drink on a specific flight. John in seat 23A usually enjoys a red wine with dinner on his monthly business trip from Hong Kong to Singapore, for instance."

By only loading food products that are likely to be consumed, the airline has lowered food-waste and fuel-burn costs. Hotels facing similar challenges in terms of food and beverage operations could use the same strategy to improve their procurement and inventory efficiency.

What's important for airlines and hotels to remember is that an intense focus on improving customer service often leads to benefits in other (sometimes unexpected) areas.

Moving loyalty programs beyond points


Most consumers now view loyalty programs more as "commoditized" marketing programs; they're enrolled to amass enough miles or points to receive a reward, without building true brand loyalty in the process. Leveraging data for enhanced experience and service will be one of the major ways travel brands differentiate their loyalty programs in the future.

Hyken believes hospitality brands are making a big mistake if they rely solely on points, perks and rewards schemes to build sustainable, long-term loyalty. "My question to airlines and hotels is always, ‘If you take away the points or the miles, will the customer still do business with you?' That's true loyalty," says Hyken.

Hotels tend to rely more on loyalty programs to collect customer data than airlines, mainly because airlines have access to more information about travelers for security purposes. Therefore, hotels need to put that much more focus into driving loyalty engagement. "Brands can create a full 360-degree view of a customer's lifestyle by extracting insights from loyalty members' historical data," says Ross-Smith. "The result is many [up-sell and] cross-sell opportunities. A member's propensity score [a method of calculating likelihood of purchasing] can be calculated to predict how likely they are to take up specific new products or services at a given time. When a loyalty member's propensity score is high, it provides scope for highly targeted and personalized offers."

Personnel at every customer touch point, including the call center, can then be alerted if a customer they're engaging with has a high propensity score for purchasing products or services associated with that specific interaction. Smart brands are moving in this direction, realizing that loyalty programs are a way to build a complete view of each traveler.

Driving service innovation with data


Ross-Smith predicts that brands will continue to consolidate customer data, moving towards what he calls "a single customer-profile platform model". Data from internal and external sources will feed into an engine, which will update propensity scores in real time and feed into the customer profile for a call center agent, front desk concierge or flight attendant.

"Qantas, for example, has a list of the most important customers flying on any given day," Ross-Smith explains. "The list [weighs] multiple factors, and is not based purely on frequent-flyer status. Therefore, it's possible for someone who has never flown in their life to be prioritized over a passenger with top-level status." The result is that Qantas is able to identify, and provide top-notch service to customers that have the potential to be of very high-value in the future.

Moving forward, Hyken recommends that travel brands no longer compare themselves to industry peers, but to any other brands that provide outstanding customer service to the same demographic. "Airlines are now being compared with most any other business that provides great service," explains Hyken. "[Customers] no longer compare service they received from one airline to another. They're thinking in terms of the department store they visited that afternoon, or the hotel they stayed in the night before."

Customers today expect more seamless and personalized treatment than ever before. The travel and hospitality industry is receiving fewer free passes from customers for flight delays, unpleasant rooms and overall poor service. But by enhancing data collection, and using existing loyalty data more efficiently, travel brands can leverage this 360-degree view to increase — and deliver on — their customer service promise.

"Keep up-to-date with the latest thinking about BPO, ITO and Contact Center solutions. Each month, TELUS International, a global provider of contact center outsourcing and BPO solutions, shares insights on the latest customer service trends."

Related articles: www.telusinternational-europe.com /
www.telusinternational.com


0 COMMENTS ^ Go back to Top
WRITE A COMMENT ^ Go back to Top
 
Your email address will not be published.
Nickname
Email
Comment
Validation Code
   
 
 
NEWS
3Pillar Global hired 72 professionals this year, looking for further recruitments

Global custom software development company hired 72 IT specialists in 2019, adding to the team of 500 professionals working in the company's Romanian offices located at Cluj-Napoca, Iasi and Timisoara.

 Read Full article »
JLL: Total office space in Bucharest to reach 3 million sqm

The second quarter of 2019 reconfirmed the increased interest for the office market in Romania. Over 115,000 square meters of office space were leased over this period at the national level, a value similar wit

 Read Full article »
Horváth & Partners launches Steering Lab, Big Data and Machine Learning-based excellence center

Management consultant Horváth&Partners announced it launched an excellence center in Romania, Steering Lab, AI-based and using tools of Big Data and Machine Learning.

 Read Full article »
Colliers International takes over the property management of Vastint's Business Garden Bucharest

The real estate consultancy company Colliers International will be in charge with the property management of the office compound Business Garden Bucharest, developed by Vastint in Orhideea area in Bucharest.

 Read Full article »
Survey: Romanians switch to a lower-paying job for other advantages

One out of five Romanians took at least once throughout their career a lower-paying job and two out of five would take a lower-paying job in exchange for other advantages they see as more valuable, a survey con

 Read Full article »
Fujitsu named a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Hybrid Infrastructure Managed Services, Europe

Gartner has once again named Fujitsu a Leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Hybrid Infrastructure Managed Services, Europe. This is the seventh consecutive year that Fujitsu

 Read Full article »
KKR enters exclusive negotiations with GBL for Webhelp Group

KKR, a leading global investment firm, announces it has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell a majority stake in the Webhelp group to Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL). GBL will invest alongside Webhelp's

 Read Full article »
TELUS International continues to grow in Bucharest

In order to support the extensive hiring planned for TELUS International in Bucharest this year, the company has acquired 1,200 sqm more space, in addition to the 8,800 sqm office space it has in AFI Park.

 Read Full article »
EY: Four out of five companies plan to reduce their legal spend over the next two years

Eighty-two percent of companies plan to reduce their legal function costs over the next two years, with 42 per cent of respondents planning on doing so by more than 10 per cent, according to a new report releas

 Read Full article »
ANCOM: About 15 million connections affected by security

About 15 million connections were affected in 2018 by security incidents that had in view the security and integrity of electronic communications networks and services, most of them being about mobile telephony

 Read Full article »
 
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» Raiffeisen Bank Romania outsources onl...
» Horváth & Partners launches Steering ...
» JLL: Total office space in Bucharest t...
» Colliers International takes over the ...
» Oracle results pushed down by a strong...
» SSC in Romania. Who takes the lion's s...
» Survey: Romanians switch to a lower-pa...
» Genpact, Luxoft and Oracle, top lessee...
» Romanian employers report the stronges...
» Eucom: Nine out of ten corporate Roman...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
My HR Lab: Research of suitable candidates and giving feedback to rejected ones, the biggest challenge in HR

During June 2019, My HR Lab company run an online (social media platforms) survey "Challenges of the recruitment process" which enrolled over 100 professionals working in HR and recruitment in Romania.

 Read Full article »
The local market needs more added-value and complex projects to be developed by the companies

The statement has been uttered within this year's Romanian Outsourcing and Shared Services Summit by Catalina Dodu, Country Manager at Atos, pointing to the local enablers that could enhance the innovation and

 Read Full article »
The office market at a glance: The round for tenants is on

Data provided by CBRE show that the office spaces segment will continue to grow rapidly in 2019, and 15 new projects covering 304.000 sqm will be delivered. According to the real estate consultancy agency, curr

 Read Full article »
People Empowering Business Forum 2019 to take place on October, 30 at Bucharest

Latest trends like demographic upheaval, globalization, digital technology, and changing social values and worker expectations, are disrupting business models and radically changing the workplace. These are req

 Read Full article »
Addressing the mantra of cyber-security: Confidentiality, integrity and availability

The fast advancement of technology in all the aspects of everyday life, either personal or professional, and the emerging of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning), not to mention cloud technolo

 Read Full article »
Latest News  
 
about us | newsletter | contact | members area | GDPR policy
Copyright © 2015 by Diplomat Media Events Design by Diplomat Media Events