Travel TechnologyPost-Covid, there’s a new world of customer experience to conquer.

Go digital or watch your customers switch off

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The events of 2020-2021 have re-wired customers to be digital-first.
The events of 2020-2021 have re-wired customers to be digital-first. Photo Credit: Getty Images

For some in the travel industry, there will be no calm after the storm of Covid.

Instead, a new report warns, there will be a storm after the calm of the pandemic.

Those business that paused their operations or slowed to a crawl when customers stopped coming through the door will be the ones playing catch-up because those same customers whose travel plans were crippled by Covid have moved on to the age of digitalisation.

“There’s no doubt that the global events of the past two years have accelerated the digital transformation for companies of all sizes and across all industries,” says David Carrel
vice president, marketing, Adobe Experience Cloud.

Quite simply, Adobe’s 2022 Digital Trends report finds the events of 2020-2021 have re-wired customers to be digital-first.

And if travel businesses are not at the other end of the wire, customers will flick the switch and go looking for other providers.

“The way that customers work, communicate, socialise, shop and consume media has transformed. The relationships between customers, businesses, their employees, partners, suppliers and competitors will never be the same again,” Adobe says.

“In this new reality, every business is rethinking how they engage with consumers and business buyers alike. The pandemic raised the bar on the need for firms to be more
agile, collaborative and speed up the time-to-value.”

According to PWC’s latest Global Consumer Insights Survey, “overall adoption of digital shopping has increased across multiple sectors, including travel and entertainment.”

Adobe adds: “As customers’ experience expectations heighten and competition intensifies, it has never been more vital for organisations to build processes around customer needs.

“With customer expectations continuing to rise, the importance of developing and nurturing direct relationships with customers has never been more important. How companies gather and extract insights from customer data will become more critical, especially as marketers shift from relying on third-party data and embrace first-party strategies.

Airlines, struggling to recoup profits – and customers – lost during Covid, also need to continue the digital transformation that is reshaping the industry, “to find more intelligent ways of working, and to help return to sustainable growth,” says SITA.

“As consultants McKinsey point out, the focus on transforming the travel experience must remain, making check-in and boarding processes seamless, simple and understandable for passengers, at the same time as using data and analytics for better decision making,” said Carlos Kaduoka, vice president portfolio, SITA.

SITA’s Air Transport IT Insights survey has found airline IT investment focused overwhelmingly on passenger confidence and convenience, through automation and self-service technologies that will change the journey forever, such as biometric self-boarding gates, self-bag drop, mobile apps and more.

“Tellingly, that IT investment is also being ploughed into creating better and more efficient operations through improved data management, business intelligence, data exchange and artificial intelligence.

“The results also clearly show that most airlines now prioritise new IT to make their operations more sustainable,” Kaduoka added.

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