For companies in the travel and hospitality sector, the only constant since 2020 has been a steady stream of change. And change can be challenging. However, change also presents opportunities for businesses willing to identify and accept the shifts that have happened, overcome new obstacles with the help of modern tools and revamped processes, and reinvent their brand engagement with customers.
One of the biggest factors affecting the travel and hospitality market has been the swell of remote work opportunities. Remote work has driven more travelers to view travel differently, taking more of a so-called “bleisure” approach which combines business and leisure traveling. For instance, it’s not uncommon for workers to combine a remote work day and a pleasurable trip into one long weekend. Accordingly, those workers have unique expectations when it comes to the customer experience in the hospitality industry. They want the best of all worlds — as well as all the amenities they need for both job and recreation — whether that’s from an airline, hotel, or restaurant.
Another factor that’s creating challenges in the travel industry is the rapid recovery in people’s desire to “get out and go.” Demand is sky-high, but supply isn’t keeping up. Across the board, travel and hospitality entities are struggling with talent shortages. Short-staffing makes it impossible for an airline or hotel to focus on scaling up while still maintaining a positive customer experience.
A final contributor to the change happening in travel and hospitality is the rise of all things digital. Consumers live through their devices and expect companies in all sectors to keep up. Trying to meet consumers “where they are” requires implementation of technologically forward products and services, such as digital hotel keys and reliable, fast internet so the work continues uninterrupted.
Getting ahead of travel and hospitality roadblocks
Taken together, the aforementioned changes present some roadblocks for travel and hospitality companies. Fortunately, these roadblocks aren’t insurmountable. Leaders who are willing to rethink how they serve their customers (such as focusing on the burgeoning “remote work traveler” persona) to create differentiated products and solutions that bypass staffing challenges will succeed in not just staying viable but staying at the forefront of the competitive curve.
Below are some starting points for travel and hospitality companies to begin leaning into the bigger industry trends rather than working against the momentum.
Revisit customer personas
It’s time for hotels, airlines, restaurants, and all businesses that are part of the broader travel and hospitality landscape to dust off their customer profiles. Modernization isn’t possible with outdated customer personas. On the other hand, companies that deeply understand emerging customer bases, such as the remote work traveler, will be able to engage those bases effectively.
Being able to know all facets of a customer will be a huge asset moving forward. Most people want personalization. Updating target personas will help you drive closer toward the development of online and offline products, services, and experiences that feel both intuitive and individualized. Customers today are looking for experiences that make the most of their bleisure trips, so your services and experiences should fit within those trips with flexible options and amenities that your customer group is seeking.
Leverage the power of technology to overcome staffing issues.
Understaffing isn’t likely to go away soon. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker for travel and hospitality entities. There are technology platforms available that can use historical and real-time data to determine where and when to staff. Plus, many platforms can provide a high degree of automation for manual or repetitive tasks so employees can focus on high-value activities that can improve customer experience.
This requires the willingness to upgrade to improved IT systems, ideally in the cloud. Moving beyond legacy systems gives travel and hospitality businesses an added degree of scalability so they can grow and adapt, not to mention make on-demand decisions aimed at providing the best possible customer experience and satisfaction.
Prioritize innovation across operations
From IT and marketing to finance and external partnerships, companies owe it to their internal and external stakeholders to adopt a philosophy of constant innovation. Otherwise, important success metrics like NPS scores will suffer. Encouraging an innovative culture will promote answers to some of the biggest puzzles: How can customers engage with airlines through multiple digital channels? How can hotels produce new sources of revenue such as value-added offerings?
Now more than ever, travel and hospitality companies need to innovate. And they need to do it in a systematic, consistent way. Those that do will position themselves to enjoy higher ROI and meet the growing, morphing customer demands without losing sight of (or control over) their operational systems.
Bringing expertise and knowledge to improve customer service in the hospitality industry
For 20 years, Pariveda has helped companies across a variety of fields navigate small and significant changes. If you’re a travel and hospitality brand leader, we’re poised to be a partner as you move forward to better understand your customer base, update your customer experience, modernize your technology, and discover talent shortage solutions.
For instance, Pariveda can help you better understand the customers and customer data you have and determine what you need to innovate. Our goal is for you to have useful data to create a single view of each customer that can be used across all departments. Nothing compares to being able to put data in front of your “front line” staff members to delight, surprise, and retain customers.
Pariveda can also help you take advantage of new technologies. Many travel and hospitality companies are now looking at how they can better extract value from Internet of Things (IoT) sensor data, video data, and marketing data. With the right data, you can make better predictions and decisions by evaluating diagnostics or running simulations based on specific scenarios.
Of course, we also work tirelessly on organizational design for all businesses engaged in change management. Rethinking roles and accountabilities, workflows, and chains of command can be invaluable to working more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Now isn’t the time to move backward. It’s a prime chance to move forward and meet the needs of your industry. If you’re looking for a partner to get you where you want to go, contact us to begin the conversation.