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
AFI Brasov Mall begins the construction with 80 per cent assigned spaces

AFI Romania announced that the leasing campaign in AFI Brasov has advanced and has already assigned 80% of the spaces, a press release informs.

 Read Full article »
Logicom to acquire Romanian IT distributor Gemini

Logicom Information Technology, a subsidiary of Logicom Public Limited signed a pre-sale purchase agreement for the acquisition of Romanian IT distribution company Gemini.

 Read Full article »
InnovMatch Competition in solving business challenges

InnovMatch aims to enable innovative companies, start-ups, developers, entrepreneurs and students from around Central and Eastern Europe to tackle specific business challenges, and by using SAP Cloud Platform,

 Read Full article »
Zitec plans 5 million Euro worth business this year

Zitec, major provider of personalized technology solutions, services and products in Romania, announced it recorded a 30 per cent increase in turnover in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period in 2

 Read Full article »
Smartree: Romanian private sector wages up 7 pct on average in H1

HR outsourcing consultancy Smartree says that wages in the private sector rose by an average of 7 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period of last year, mainly due to the increase of t

 Read Full article »
NTT Data takes up 4,000 square meters in Unirii View office project

NTT Data Romania, the software services and solutions provider, leased 4,000 square meters in Unirii View office project, the 18th floors tower that is being under development in downtown Bucharest, only five m

 Read Full article »
Eucom Survey: 2 out of 3 Romanian employees would learn a foreign language in order to advance in their career

The interim results of the latest survey conducted by Eucom, foreign language courses provider and part of the Ascendis Group, show that 2 out of 3 Romanian employees (66per cent of all respondents) want to lea

 Read Full article »
Google offers 30.000 US dollars grant for supporting computer science in Romania

Union of Romanian Informatics Teachers - UPIR has received a 30,000 US dollars worth grant from Google to create an online community dedicated to computer science high-school teachers.

 Read Full article »
Siveco's Newton project brings top-notch technology in schools for children with special needs

A pre-testing lesson in physics using 3D, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality content develped by SIVECO Romania brought unexpected success for students with impaired hearing, within the NEWTON European proje

 Read Full article »
The IT sector in Romania anticipated to reach 12 per cent of GDP until 2025

Romania's IT&C sector will increase to 12% of the GDP in 2025, from a current value of 6% of the GDP, said Marian Popa, head of DB Global Tehnology's IT center in Bucharest, citied by Mediafax newswire.

 Read Full article »
 
MOST RECENT VIDEO
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» Voxpro opens office in Bucharest and h...
» ROMANIAN OUTSOURCING AWARDS FOR EXCELL...
» AFI Brasov Mall begins the constructio...
» Comdata to buy four subsidiaries of Fr...
» Welcome onboard!
» Logicom to acquire Romanian IT distrib...
» Romanian Outsourcing Awards for Excell...
» Genpact's COO: Staying ahead of the cu...
» EY: Work-life balance has become more ...
» Zitec plans 5 million Euro worth busin...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
Preparing for the new future

Business shared services in Romania is by nature a flexible, mobile and diverse community and in this context, local markets develop their own particularities to address the global changes, to adjust to new dem

 Read Full article »
EY: Work-life balance has become more difficult to be managed by one third of full-time employees in 8 large countries

EY's global survey of full-time workers in eight countries finds that one-third say managing work-life has become more difficult, with younger generations and parents hit hardest.

 Read Full article »
Welcome onboard!

By 2020, some 200.000 people are expected to work in business shared services in Romania, doubling the current employment portfolio enrolled in more than 120 companies operating BPO, SSC or ITO services. Howeve

 Read Full article »
Thierry Blain, SG EBS: Bringing teams to the next level

The journey of Societe Generale European Business Services began with the need for a strategic location to sustain and transform European operations of Societe Generale Group. The purpose was, from the early da

 Read Full article »
TELUS International Europe: Issue 3 - Customers First magazine! Strategy and innovation in travel and hospitality

The third issue of our Customers First magazine is now available! The latest edition is all about travel and hospitality, featuring insights from industry experts and top brands like JetBlue, Turo, Joie de Vivr

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