Guest post by Lidia Romero, Account Director at DMI
Global travel demand has reached its highest level since the pandemic’s beginning. According to the European Travel Commission, over 3 in 4 Europeans (77%) plan to travel between April and September 2022 – 56% of which will head abroad, while 31% will travel domestically. In the U.S., the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts travel and tourism will contribute almost $2 trillion to the economy in 2022.
Touch-free technology remains a high investment priority for airports. Use cases go from touch-free self-boarding kiosks to touch-free payments. At Barajas, technology drives the customer experience. Proximity sensors are used to call lifts, with paper instructions on how to use this feature next to the lift button. It’s great for airports to identify how technology can help resolve user pain points and test implementation to ensure these touchpoints are turned to gain points. I appreciate that the button was still available for those who wanted to use it.
During my hotel stay, I observed minimal technology adoption, which surprised me. As the management company for 260 hotels, solution scalability would help them react faster and prioritize the needs of travelers. There was no online booking at the most basic level, so any service was booked through reception. This includes booking dinners—which took me a while as I was unfamiliar with the offerings like location and availability.
Through my travels, I believe my experience could have been improved in a few ways:
- Meet basic technology needs, like booking, because it is what travelers are now expecting.
- Test and learn to see if technology addressed customer pain points and adjust the experience based on the findings.
- Provide personalized moments through channels like post-booking emails based on what they know of my trip.
- Utilize physical advertising space and develop customized messaging.
Getting Started & Moving Forward
How should travel and hospitality companies respond to shifting customer expectations? I recommend starting with a comprehensive review of the end-to-end customer journey. Experience must be refined based on the advice of medical experts, regulators, and partners. Customer feedback is also key to ensuring a safe and healthy environment for patrons and employees, allowing them to travel and work in confidence.
Insights gained after performing this exercise can be used to inform a view of the potential future end-to-end experience. These insights include in-depth steps taken, expectations and emotional states at critical stages, the pain and gain points, and journey and operational data.
Companies that maximize their investment and launch solutions that address key pain points and provide clear value in utility will see higher adoption and retention possibilities. If your company hasn’t done so yet—there’s still time. As you can see, no technology journey is the same for every company, but we can help you chart the right course. Let’s connect.