Why customer experience will rule travel this holiday season

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Why customer experience will rule travel this holiday season
Why customer experience will rule travel this holiday season

As they say, “There's no place like home for holidays.” Travel is major part of holiday plans for many Americans and as the seasons gets into full swing planning travel does as well. Coordinating details can be challenging, but travel plans shouldn't put a damper on the excitement of gathering with family and friends.

While it can be a time-consuming and taxing process for consumers planning holiday travel, mobile and Web platform technologies are making the experience more enjoyable and simpler than ever. And while we've made major strides with tech and tools to help ease the pain, the travel industry can continue to improve on the customer experience. According to a survey conducted by FlightView, travelers identified better Wi-Fi as a major need in airports and in-flight, as well as updates on their flight statuses while waiting to board and after the first leg of a connecting flight.

Improving this customer experience requires attention to detail and focus on ease-of-use from start to finish. From the moment consumers search for a flight to the moment they receive follow-up information and deals after they return home, travel companies are tasked with quickly delivering information and tools that are relevant to customers, their location, travel preferences, and history. To keep up with user trends, travel companies should focus on approaching the process by mobilizing, socializing, and personalizing the travel journey for the convenience of consumers.

Based on a recent Trip Advisor survey more than half of all travelers book their plans online using a mobile device, and given the widespread use of smartphones, this number is only expected to increase. In an age when consumers grow more tech hungry and savvy by the day, immediacy is king, and customization is critical to engaging and keeping users. Travel companies must focus on and dedicate resources to the areas consumers care about and the tools they use most often, engaging them on mobile and social platforms to improve the user experience. This focus on user experience has proven to build differentiation and competitive advantage.

Knowing the consumer—not just the market—will spell success for existing and emerging travel companies. Consumers want individualized and localized information quickly. As a result, individualism and curated content are fueling purchasing behaviors, generating business recommendations and creating loyal customers. Collecting past travel and purchasing preferences about a specific user forms the basis of a personalized experience. Leveraging that data to inform about relevant holiday travel recommendations and deals targeted toward that user delivers opportunities to their fingertips that don't require time-consuming searches. This can create an ease-of-use that busy consumers appreciate.

Whether it's for holiday travel or dining recommendations, the customer experience ultimately comes down to reaching the right customers at the right time with the right information. Taking cues from consumers' use patterns will better inform what channels and strategies are best suited for reaching them. Today, mobilizing, socializing, and personalizing content have become essential elements in any strategic online initiative.

Bob Egner is VP of product development & global marketing at EPiServer.

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