The online travel industry is a highly competitive space, worth about $564 billion, according to Statista. With steep investments and tech’s brightest and boldest minds in motion, it can be a big struggle for businesses to stand out.
Travel companies need to create successful customer engagement or else fall victim to the digital noise. Innovation is a large part of it, but so is good old-fashioned customer service. Here are a few key ways to win traveler loyalty on today’s technology landscape:
- Go mobile
According to the latest forecast from eMarketer, digital travel sales in the US will reach $189.62 billion in 2017, a whopping 40 percent of which will come from mobile. While those mobile sales will grow 16.7 percent compared to last year, bookings on laptop and desktop have declined. Clearly, smartphones are the future of the industry. If you haven’t developed an app already, it’s about time you do.
- Goodwill gestures
Customers value sincerity and approachability more than ever, and sometimes winning loyalty is as simple as being kind. Give them extra perks without expecting anything in return (except for engagement, of course). When it comes to the travel sector in particular, there is so much that can be done. Load your app with in-destination goodies, for example, such as a city guide and helpful advice – from what to pack to how to get around. Make all those things available offline to please travelers’ with a convenient hand and freedom from data roaming charges.
- Give them free stuff
Delight travelers and grab their attention with 2 for 1 deals and special vouchers for spas, restaurants and activities that can be accessed on the road in just a couple phone taps. Great savings (or freebies!) on fun and exciting experiences will keep customers checking in again and again.
- Make their lives easier
Change the way people travel. Integrate a day planner onto an app that helps them stay organized. Let them pin their favorite activities and points of interests on maps. By becoming a pocket tour guide, they’ll come to depend on your platform during trips.
- Improve your loyalty program
Loyalty programs these days kind of suck and lack offers that really draw in millennials, which are the highest prize in the digital age. Put your loyalty program on an app and make it easy for travelers to become engaged. Let them use their points quickly on unforgettable activities in addition to savings and upgrades, which research shows is exactly what millennials are looking for.