How to Meet Your Customer Expectations in 2022
The pandemic has caused massive changes to everyone’s day-to-day life, and it’s no surprise that it has resulted in big shifts in customer behaviour, too. Among them, the most important would be the rapid adoption of digital innovations.
The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation that has already gained traction in the travel sector. Most changes in customer behaviour are technology-driven, and they are aligned with the customers’ urge to have an enhanced digital experience.
Understanding the changes and trends helps tour and activity operators adapt their operational and marketing strategies to grow in line with customer expectations and remain one step ahead of the competition. Here is a quick walk-through of the top four things you can focus on to meet customer expectations in 2022.
1. Online Bookings
With the ever-evolving travel regulations and capacity restrictions, the pandemic has played a role in accelerating the dramatic shift towards online bookings. A recent Arival report on the key trends in traveller behaviour for amusement parks points out that the share of travellers purchasing park tickets via computer has risen from 29% in 2019 to 41% in 2021.
Even though the pandemic might have driven the surge, consumers had been moving to digital channels pre-pandemic. The ease and speed with which they could reserve their tours and activities make online bookings crowd-favourite.
It is, in fact, good news for tour and activity operators. With an option to book online, you allow your potential guests to book any time from anywhere in the world. Your office is open around the clock! Online bookings will replace many phone calls and email queries, which will help you save time to optimize the guest experience and effectively use your staff resources.
Embracing digital transformation will be an excellent move for tour, activity, and attractions operators in 2022. Adopt an online reservation system, integrate it with your website, and let the bookings start rolling in. If you don’t have an online booking system yet and wonder how to go about it, check out our Choosing a Booking Management System Guide.
2. AI Chatbots
Answering your customers’ queries is vital in enhancing customer experience and getting bookings. To handle your customers’ queries, many of you may have well-thought-out ways—phone calls, emails, and a Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
But, travellers want information real quick in this digital age. They don’t have the patience to go through the FAQ page or dial up the front desk. And that’s where AI chatbot comes in, breaking the barriers to booking.
AI Chatbots are programs built to automatically engage with received messages, providing immediate customer service support. It gives guests answers to a range of questions without you having to answer the phone call or email back and forth. It means that your staff need not be there all time looking out for questions from your customers.
Take the example of ZipTrek Ecotours, a leading zipline tour provider based in Queenstown, New Zealand and a Zaui customer. They recently powered up their customer care by integrating with Yonder, a marketing platform. Zippy, its AI Chatbot, helps customers 24/7 by answering their queries about weight restrictions, the minimum age required, and cancellation policy. ZipTrek testifies that Zippy frees up their team to give more attention to the customers who need it. It also increases conversion rates by helping people with their queries and guiding them to book.
Along with answering customers’ queries, chatbots can also play a role in tweaking your messaging. They provide you with data on what your guests want to know or the most asked questions, helping you tailor your content to answer the customers’ questions more upfront. Implementing AI chatbots will help you deliver exceptional guest experiences in 2022, even with a small team.
3. Contactless Payment
The quick customer adoption of contactless payment is another major shift that happened during the pandemic. A significant majority of consumers turned to contactless card payments in 2020, citing safety and cleanliness as key drivers.
The travel sector has also experienced this trend. Over the last two years, the simplified, digital transaction process became the most sought-after payment method in the travel sector.
Besides being a convenient and secure payment option, the pandemic added another angle to contactless payment—a feasible solution that reduces the risk of contact and touchpoints. It allows the guests to pay by simply tapping or hovering their card or device over compatible PoS terminals. The contactless payment, to a great extent, addressed the concerns of guests about hygiene and disease transmission while travelling.
Contactless adoption is not merely a short-term response to the pandemic; it is expected to stay here. Contactless payments that come with convenience, safety, and security will be top on the customer expectations in 2022. Adopting and integrating these innovative digital solutions will give you a leg up on your competition.
4. Mobile Bookings
In 2017, 48% of mobile users in the U.S. were comfortable researching, planning, and booking an entire trip to a new travel destination using only their smartphone. Undoubtedly, the trend continues to gain significant traction. The share of travellers who booked an amusement park ticket on their phones has nearly tripled, from 14% in 2019 to 41% in 2021.
With mobile devices being an essential part of travel, providing your users optimal mobile experience is crucial. Travellers who make last-minute reservations, and those who make bookings on the go, often rely on mobile devices. If your website isn’t responsive on mobile devices, you’ll be missing out on tremendous opportunities.
To start with, simulate your tour’s mobile browsing experience on your own mobile to check whether the booking process is seamless and easy to finish. Ensure that your website and booking system are compatible with mobile settings and fast enough for usually impatient, fast-paced tech-savvy customers. If you don’t find it convenient, make essential changes to keep the mobile booking process quick and create better user experiences.
Innovative digital technologies are increasingly getting embedded in a guest’s travel experience. The demand for digital and low-touch options has changed the buying patterns of customers worldwide. And the travel industry is no exception to these changes.
Adapting to the changes will help tour operators gain a competitive edge, and more importantly, provide an enhanced, memorable experience to their guests. Tour and activity operators should prepare for the digital shift and ramp up their digital capabilities to meet customer expectations.
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