Blog

Travel & Tourism CX Insights

Keith LaFerriere, CCO

We partnered with VansonBourne and Sitecore to survey hundreds of customer experience decision makers for our first-annual Solving for CX report. Within that survey data are key insights for specific industry verticals that shed light on how organizations view CX as a catalyst for growth, and what challenges they need to overcome to connect every dot of the customer journey back to their bottom line.

For Travel & Tourism organizations, three key themes emerged in our survey analysis that articulate the CX challenges and opportunities in this industry.

SELECTING THE RIGHT CX PARTNERS

Though CX is immensely important in every industry, it is perhaps most critical in Travel & Tourism, where every touch point can be experience-defining. Respondents from this industry reflected the value of CX in their survey responses. 94% believe improvements in the customer journey will lead to increased revenue, and 97% believe they will fall behind their competitors if they don't improve their CX offering.

It should come as no surprise then, that 70% report that they engage one or more external partners to help with the customer experience. What is a surprise though is that almost 50% have little to no confidence in that partner, and only 8% have complete confidence.

This discrepancy reflects a disconnect between what organizations from the Travel & Tourism industry need to win with CX, and the void in the market of true end-to-end customer experience partners.

These stats below from the survey data shed some light on what areas of strength are most important when selecting a CX partner:

  • 80% of respondents rank customer journey roadmaps as high value. A true CX partner will have a full line of sight across every touch point of that journey, will be able to visualize these journeys across segments, and effectively map each interaction back to business outcomes.
  • 71% agree that automation is a top trend for 2018, and 20% rank it as the top trend. The rise of artificial intelligence (see below) and machine learning are now enabling automation and personalization at scale, and an external partner should have deep expertise in designing and implementing automation workflows that drive conversion and retention.
  • 91% of respondents believe that B2B customers want B2C experiences, so a true CX partner should be able to demonstrate the effective implementation of B2C strategies in a B2B context.
  • Deep, relevant commerce expertise – both from a strategy and implementation perspective – is critical. Three out of four respondents strongly agree that CX personalization is crucial to delivering positive commerce experiences.

THE RISE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & MACHINE LEARNING

100% of Travel & Tourism respondents believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning would enable their organization to provide a better customer experience, and drive tangible business benefits. They were more likely than any other sector to predict that machine learning could assist with provision of real-time data analysis and optimization (63%) and build more accurate pricing models/strategies (57%). And 100% of respondents from this industry agreed that AI or machine learning will be a huge help in optimizing complex commerce challenges. But only 37% report that AI and machine learning are helping their business today.

Put another way, 63% of the market knows how critical an investment in AI and machine learning capabilities are from a personalization and CX standpoint, but are not using those technologies today to compete in a customer-centric economy.

Advanced technologies enable personalization at scale, and allow organizations to get smarter about, and more relevant to their customers with every interaction. Investing in marketing technologies with established CMS and CRM ecosystems, and built-in AI and machine learning functionality, will enable organizations to better compete and win in 2018 and beyond.

OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES

When questioned about the biggest challenges facing their organization in terms of the customer experience, respondents point to operational challenges more often than technical or strategic ones.

Leading challenges captured in the survey, both in terms of frequency and priority include:

  • Siloed approach to managing the customer experience
  • Operationalizing the customer experience, and
  • Having no true owner or champion for CX

In fact, only 31% of respondents believe that ownership of the customer experience even sits within the correct department within their organization.

Ensuring continuity of the customer experience across teams and departments that align with distinct stages of the customer journey is a must, but companies also need to consolidate ownership of CX under one department that is tasked with overall strategy, breaking down silos, driving operational efficiency, and optimizing every interaction with the customer.

With 100% of respondents stating that the customer experience is very or crucially important to their organization's strategic priorities, solving for operational challenges should be a top priority moving forward.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Align with external CX partners with a full line of sight across every touch point of the customer journey, and deep expertise in automation and commerce.
  • Investing in AI and machine learning functionality will enable organizations to better compete and win in 2018 and beyond.
  • Solving for operational challenges enables better business outcomes.